The New York Depart-ment of Environmental Conservation announced nearly $1 million in urban forestry grants going to 66 municipalities/organiza-tions around the state.
Among those receiving funds are the city of Dunkirk and the village of Angola.
The announcement was made Tuesday by DEC Commissioner Joe Martens.
"Urban forestry programs are vital in promoting clean air, clean water, energy savings, habitat creation and improved quality of life for New York residents," Commissioner Martens said in a news release. "The significant grants announced today will help improve the environment and the economic conditions across the state by providing the benefits of cleaner, healthier communities for current and future generations to enjoy."
These grants are made possible by Gov. Andrew Cuomo's level funding of $134 million for the State's Environmental Protection Fund and will support a variety of projects involving community tree planting, tree inventories and management plans.
A total of 66 recipients from cities, villages, towns and not-for-profit organizations across the state were selected to receive grants.
Dunkirk received a $1,000 Quick Start grant. Quick Start grants were awarded to nine communities to help create local tree planting programs and Arbor Day celebrations.
The grants provide funding for trees, soil, labor and materials needed to complete the projects.
Awards will be matched by funds ranging from in-kind services, donations and project-related, such as garden tools and additional trees.
Dunkirk Mayor Anthony J. Dolce was asked his thoughts about the grant.
"I want to thank Development Director Steve Neratko for all his work in getting the grant application out and securing it," Dolce stated. "We've talked about a few different areas in the city that have lost trees over the years, Washington Park, Point Gratiot, some streets. We'll definitely make good use of the $1,000. I know we have another grant out there for more tree money.
"Also, we've put aside some money. We have streetscapes money from our (Community Development Block Grant) funds that can go toward trees. So we've talked about planting a few small-growing trees, if you will, along Central Avenue. We'll definitely make good use of the money."
Angola received a $3,822 grant as part of the Small Communities Grant.
The Erie County Department of Parks, Recreation, and Forestry received a $24,000 grant as part of the Large Community grants.
Recipients were chosen from 95 applicants based on criteria that included contributions the projects will have on the local environment. In addition to environmental and forestry components, reviewers considered how projects would contribute to environmental justice by factoring in population density, relative economic status and outreach to underserved communities.
Applicants were encouraged to form regional partnerships and submit proposals in alignment with their local regional economic development initiatives.
Several communities applied with the goal to "slow the spread" of the emerald ash borer, an invasive pest that has been killing ash trees across New York and neighboring states.
In other instances, communities have applied for funds to replant trees after tropical storm Lee in 2011.
New York City received grants to plant trees to support the Million Trees Initiative and several communities across the North Country are starting up programs with a Quick Start Arbor Day grant.