On May 15, 2023, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced that $850,000 in funding is now available in the third round of the State’s Regenerate NY Forestry Cost Share Grant Program.
The grant program is designed to assist private landowners in restoring the next generation of forests, which are crucial for mitigating climate change, providing wildlife habitat, protecting air and water quality, and supplying an important renewable resource.
“Efforts to support and grow private natural and working forest lands are a key climate resilience strategy,” said New York State Forester Fiona Watt.
“Regenerate NY gives a vital boost to expand and restore private forests by promoting forest regeneration and ecosystem health in the face of challenges from invasive species, soil disturbance and climate change,” she continued.
Regenerate NY is funded by New York State’s Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) and managed by DEC’s Division of Lands and Forests.
Private landowners planning to restore or establish five or more acres of forest land in New York State, may apply for grant awards ranging from a minimum of $10,000 to a maximum of $100,000, with a required 25 percent match.
“New York’s forests are under continued pressure from development, competition from invasive species, an overabundance of white-tailed deer, and the effects of climate change,” said Commissioner Seggos.
“Investing in the establishment and resiliency of our forests is a critical component for ensuring the continued ecosystem services that trees provide. I encourage all interested landowners to take advantage of this funding,” he addded.
Eligible projects include, but are not limited to, planting trees, soil scarification, removing competing vegetation that would interfere with seedling establishment and growth, and installation of deer fence.
Applicants must work with a forester or a qualified natural resource professional to develop their project. Up to two applications may be submitted per applicant, provided the applications are for separate properties.
Back in December 2022, Governor Kathy Hochul signed legislation (leaves DEC website) setting the goal to support and contribute to national efforts to conserve at least 30 percent of U.S. land and water by 2030.
This law promotes biodiversity and preserves New York’s wildlife, forests, and clean water sources, which are all essential to New York’s health and economy. In the 2023-34 State Budget, Governor Hochul maintained EPF funding at $400 million, the highest level of funding in the program’s history.
The EPF provides funding for critical environmental programs such as land acquisition, farmland protection, invasive species prevention and eradication, enhanced recreational access, water quality improvement, and an aggressive environmental justice agenda.
“The New York Forest Owner’s Association applauds the Regenerate NY Forestry Cost Share Grant Program,” said the organization’s President, Stacey Kazacos.
“Funding stewardship and regeneration efforts will help ensure our forests continue to support New York’s rural economy, protect our water and air quality, and sequester carbon, for generations to come. We look forward to the long-term improvements this initiative will contribute to our communities throughout the state,” she explained.
“Investing in our forests is one of the most cost-effective natural solutions to climate change,” said John Bartow, Executive Director of the Empire State Forest Products Association.
“Regenerate NY is funding efforts that will help ensure our forests continue to support New York’s rural economy, protect our water and air quality, and provide carbon stewardship, for generations to come,” he concluded.
Grants will be awarded on a rolling basis. Applicants need to establish an account in the Grants Gateway System.
Once registered, applicants can search the Grants Gateway for “Regenerate NY.” DEC is holding a webinar for interested applicants on Wednesday, May 24, at 10 a.m.
Applications can be submitted through the NYS Grants Gateway and will be accepted until 5 p.m. on October 6, 2023, or until funds are depleted, whichever comes first.
Photo of Mount Jo in New York’s Adirondack Mountains by Colin Hughes from Pixabay.