SCHUMER, GILLIBRAND, TONKO DELIVER OVER $7 MILLION FOR ALBANY & THE CAPITAL REGION THROUGH INFLATION REDUCTION ACT TO IMPROVE THE HEALTH OF CITY’S VAST URBAN FOREST AND BOLSTER YOUTH LEADERSHIP IN ENVIRONMENTAL INITIATIVES, PLANTING THE SEEDS FOR A BRIGHTER, CLEANER, FUTURE FOR CAPITAL REGION NEIGHBORHOODS
For Years, Many Albany, Glens Falls, And Capital Region Neighborhoods Have Suffered From Declining Tree Canopy – Which Can Lead To Increased Temperatures Known As Urban Heat Islands, Contribute To Health Disparities, Lower Property Values, And More
Reps Fought For Albany And The Capital Region In USDA Competition To Be Among The First To Tap Historic $$$ In Urban Forest Program In The Inflation Reduction Act – The Largest Investment In Fighting Climate Change Ever – And Now Albany Will Have The Funding To Prune All 20,000 Of Its Trees Thanks To Fed $$$
Schumer: Inflation Reduction Act Is Planting The Seed For A Healthier, Cleaner, And Greener Albany, Glens Falls, And Capital Region!
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and U.S. Congressman Paul Tonko today announced a major $7,288,678 in federal funding to improve the care and upkeep of Albany’s urban forest and expand youth leadership programs through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Forest Service’s Urban and Community Forestry program. The representatives said this funding was made possible thanks to the historic increases they secured in the Inflation Reduction Act, which included over $1 billion for the USDA program to help increase equitable access to trees. The lawmakers said the funding will help breathe new life into the Albany community, vastly improving the health of Albany’s urban forest, while connecting youth to more leadership opportunities in the community and making a cleaner greener environment for all.
“Capital Region tree lovers, put on your work gloves, get out your shovels and get ready to dig in because over $7 million is on the way to keep our urban forest healthy and help youth make our communities cleaner and greener for all. Investing in helping green spaces in our neighborhoods grow not only improves quality of life and air quality, it helps increase property values, decrease temperatures and so much more, it is how you plant the seeds for a brighter future,” said Senator Schumer. “I fought hard to plant this funding in the Inflation Reduction Act so that places like Albany, Glens Falls, and other cities across Upstate New York, could have access to the funding they have long needed to breathe new life into our most underserved neighborhoods. Now a greener, healthier, and more equitable Albany can finally take root and blossom.”
“Expanding access to trees and green spaces is vital to ensure New Yorkers have access to nature while combating extreme heat and improving air quality. This crucial investment will help ensure that Albany area residents have equitable access to parks and nature, where families can enjoy a greener, healthier environment. I am excited to see this funding bring new life to Albany neighborhoods and I will continue to fight so all New York communities have access to the benefits of nature and green spaces,” said Senator Gillibrand.
“I was proud to join my Democratic colleagues and President Biden to advance the Inflation Reduction Act and deliver the largest climate investment in history for our communities,” Congressman Tonko said. “That effort has enabled this exciting announcement and will bring numerous benefits, including spurring economic growth, combatting climate change, and improving air quality. I’ll continue to seize every opportunity available to deliver powerful climate solutions that speak to the needs of the American people and create a cleaner, more resilient planet for generations to come.”
University at Albany President Havidán Rodríguez said, “Building communities that are more resilient to climate change is one of the most critical tasks facing society today, and public research universities like UAlbany have an essential role to play in this process. Through the Center for Ecosystem-based Climate Adaptation, UAlbany will team with trusted community partners to help make Albany more resilient and more sustainable by engaging and educating the next generation that will steward our city through these challenges. We are very grateful to Sens. Schumer and Gillibrand and U.S. Rep. Tonko for recognizing the importance of this work and for advocating for the funding to see it through.”
Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan said, "Revitalizing and protecting our urban forest is vital to the health and quality of life of our residents, and that is why we completed an inventory of every tree in our city - a study that taught us that pruning every tree at approximately the same time will ensure they live longer and more vibrantly. With more than 20,000 street trees, pruning each tree at the same time is a very tall order however securing this grant will help us do just that. I am very grateful to our Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Congressman Tonko for helping secure this important grant funding to help us improve our urban forest for years to come."
SUNY Chancellor John B. King, Jr. said, “Addressing climate change is an opportunity to invest in the next generation of students and leaders, leverage groundbreaking research, and authentically support our most impacted communities. My thanks to Senate Majority Leader Schumer, Senator Gillibrand, and U.S. Representative Tonko for their efforts to help us manage the impact of climate change. SUNY is proud to deploy our collective expertise in research and social sciences to help save our planet, and I congratulate University at Albany President Havidán Rodríguez and his team, as well as their partners in the City of Albany.”
A breakdown of the funding can be found below:
The City of Albany will use this over $1.8 million will help support the City’s efforts to undertake a citywide pruning of all 20,000 street trees at one time for the first time in its history. The City of Albany recently conducted an urban forestry analysis of every tree in the city. In the past, the city would prune trees one tree at a time, one block at a time, but would never complete the entire city - something that the study showed has harmed the health of the urban forest. One of the recommendations from the study was to prune every tree at the same time to improve the health of the urban forest as a whole. The City of Albany will match the $1.8 million dollars both monetarily and in a newly created full time employee to oversee the project.
The University of Albany’s project will establish a Center for Ecosystem-based Climate Adaptation (CECA) to enhance the climate resilience of underserved communities in Albany and educate the next generation of local leaders. The project will focus on the development and implementation of an ecosystem-based strategy for adapting to climate change, with a particular emphasis on urban forests, community empowerment and local economic growth. Key components include an intergenerational community committee, a Youth Civilian Climate Corps, youth internships, a tree nursery, agroforestry entrepreneurship training, EarthQuest climate and environmental education game clubs, and an intergenerational think tank committed to advancing best practices in ecosystem-based adaptation. The project’s lead researcher is Andrei Lapenas, professor in UAlbany’s Department of Geography and Planning.
In addition, the City of Glens Falls will be implementing a tree management plan and hire an arborist to help develop a list of the priority needs and other specifics of the urban forest care plan.
Schumer explained that thanks to the historic investments he was able to secure in the Inflation Reduction Act the USDA’s Urban and Community Forestry Program Grants, is making more than $1 billion available to increase equitable access to trees and the benefits they provide in disadvantaged urban communities. The Inflation Reduction Act provides $1.5 billion for urban and community forestry investments that 1) increase access in disadvantaged urban communities to trees and the associated benefits they provide to human health, the environment, and the economy, 2) broaden community engagement in local urban forest planning, tree planting, and management activities; and 3) improve community and urban forest resilience to climate change, extreme heat, forest pests and diseases, and storm events through best management and maintenance practices.