Contact Us

Dunkirk Awarded: $66,500 NYS DEC Tree Grant

The City of Dunkirk has been awarded a $66,500 grant from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) for Urban Community Forestry Grant Program Round 16 – Tree Maintenance and Tree Planting, announced by Governor Kathy Hochul.

The project title for the grant is “Point Gratiot Reforestation of Tree Canopy” which will replant 150 new trees from a DEC approved list of tree species to be planted in specific areas of Point Gratiot Park that will take in consideration areas most affected by high winds, storm surge, and soil types. “Point Gratiot was devasted by the infestation of the emerald ash borer for which over 200 trees had to be cut down in 2022 and 2023,” according to Dunkirk DPW Director Randy Woodbury.

The grants are part of DEC's Urban and Community Forestry Program, which works to increase public awareness of the importance of trees and helps communities to create healthy forests while enhancing quality of life for residents. The grants are supported by the State's Environmental Protection Fund (EPF). The EPF is a critical resource for environmental programs such as land acquisition, farmland protection, invasive species prevention and eradication, recreation access, water quality improvement, and environmental justice projects.

“The people of the City of Dunkirk love their parks and the trees—so we wish to thank Governor Hochul and the NYS DEC for providing this critical funding that will invest for our future generations enjoyment of this natural resource and has the added benefit of reducing greenhouse gas emissions affecting climate change,” expressed Mayor Kate Wdowiasz.

The grant application was submitted in August 2023 by the Department of Planning & Development that required a local partnership. “Revitalize Dunkirk has been operating in this space of beautification for many years and have embraced this project and will take an active role in the implementation of the planting and follow up maintenance and care for the newly planted trees,” according to Dunkirk Development Director Vince Dejoy. DeJoy went on to thank Cassandra Pinkoski from Chautauqua County Soil & Water Conservation District as well as Nate Morey, DEC Forester, for all of their technical expertise to help develop the tree planting plan with species and locations chosen for the new tree stock.

The grant will not only pay for 150 new trees and the supplies needed for planting and protection from deer but will also fund a portion of the City Park’s Department labor costs to plant the trees.

In the coming months, the City and Revitalize Dunkirk will host community meetings to discuss the reforestation project at Point Gratiot and to provide the community residents with opportunities to volunteer with the planting and maintenance efforts. Additionally, Dunkirk has applied for a similar DEC Urban Community Forestry Grant to plant trees on street rights of way that will implement the 2022 Tree Management Plan adopted by City of Dunkirk, if awarded.