DEC Tree Maintenance Grant Successfully Awarded


The Town successfully received a grant from the New York State Department of Conservation under the Round 15 Urban and Community Forest Grants Program for Tree Maintenance on May 4, 2021.  The application, in consultation with Commissioner Kevin Winn of the Department of Public Works,  Superintendent Christopher Soi of the Recreation and Parks Department, Chair Jeffrey Carpenter of the Tree Advisory Board, Chair Simon Skolnik of the Conservation Board, and Intern Alexa Ruscitto of the Town Supervisor’s office was submitted in December, 2019

 As Yale environmental scientist, William Moomaw said in a recent interview: “The most effective thing we can do is to allow trees that are already planted, that are already growing, to continue growing to reach their ecological potential, to store carbon, and develop a forest that has its full complement of environmental service.”  He cites a study that found in multi-aged forests around the world of all types, that half of the carbon is stored in the largest 1% diameter trees.  It’s not that we shouldn’t be planting trees now, but we need to recognize that their contribution will be farther in the future, which is important, but in order to meet our climate goals, we have to have greater sequestration by natural systems now.  The largest single place that’s removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere on an annual basis is forests.  Even from what we think of as mature forests are still accumulating carbon because carbon makes up about roughly half of the dry weight of wood, but it is also in the soils.  Even older forests continue to accumulate carbon in the soils,  as trees get older, they absorb more carbon every year, and because they are bigger, they store more carbon.  Tree Maintenance work will entail pruning  those trees identified in the Round 13 Urban and Forestry Grants Program Tree Inventory.  Besides providing a street tree inventory, the Round 13 grant program funded a Tree Management Plan, and part of our new grant will entail removing dead trees and trees in poor health, in order to open up areas for planting new trees.

In 2018 and 2019 the Town of Bedford performed a tree inventory and developed a tree management plan covering our three hamlet areas, our major parks, and other areas of interest, including non-state connecting highways.

The maximum grant from the state of $50,000 was awarded with the town being responsible to provide a 25% matching fund of $12,500.00.  In its authorization for this grant application, the town recognized that this grant is a reimbursable grant, requiring the town to first pay the costs for the project work plan, and then receive compensation from the state after submission of all required documentation.   

The DEC is providing funding for municipalities to further their efforts to ensure that our street trees are properly maintained and that areas identified for planting trees in our inventory be addressed in future years.  As the state will not accept one grant application that covers both tree planting and tree maintenance, and that we are only allowed during Round 15 to apply for one application, this specific grant application will be applied to ensure that our existing stock of street trees are safe and will only cover tree maintenance as identified in our Tree Management Plan.
As part of this application, Bedford 2030 will partner with the town to assist in providing public outreach describing the goals for the work, and publicize our efforts within our municipality.  Bedford 2030 will receive no compensation from the Round 15 grant funds.

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