If you live alongside a stream or a lake or a freshwater or saltwater wetland, your property can play a crucial role in helping to stabilize our waterways.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is looking for property owners to participate in its Trees for Tribs Buffer in a Bag program, which is accepting applications through April 10.

The Buffer in a Bag initiative is designed to increase buffers alongside waterways statewide by engaging landowners in small-scale plantings. 

Qualifying private and public landowners may apply for a free bag of 25 tree and shrub seedlings for planting near streams, rivers, or lakes to help stabilize banks, protect water quality, and improve wildlife habitat.

“Streamside plantings are critically important for decreasing erosion, slowing flood waters, and protecting fish and wildlife,” says DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos.

To qualify, landowners must have property in New York State with at least 50 feet that borders a stream, river, or lake, and provide photos and map coordinates of the planting location. Applicants are eligible for one bag of 25 seedlings and recipients will be chosen on a first-come, first-served basis. Previous recipients are encouraged to reapply to continue to build their riparian buffer. A total of 500 bags will be available statewide for this round of applications.

Trees for Tribs is a program of the Saratoga Tree Nursery and is supported by the State’s Environmental Protection Fund (EPF).

Each bag includes 25 bare-root native tree and shrub seedlings, approximately 1 to 2 feet in height. All species are well-suited to streamside conditions and are native to New York. 

Applicants with property on Long Island will receive the Long Island Packet, which includes saltwater tolerant species like bayberry, beach plum and eastern red cedar.

Upstate property owners will receive sand bar willow, wetland rose, winterberry, river birch and red oak.

Governor Cuomo’s proposed 2020-21 budget includes record funding for the EPF at $300 million as part of the governor’s $33 billion five-year plan to combat climate change, which includes the EPF funding and the proposed $3 billion Restore Mother Nature Bond Act.

Applications are due by 3 p.m. on April 10. General questions about Buffer in a Bag may be directed to treesfortribs@dec.ny.gov or 518.402.9405. For more information, visit dec.ny.gov/animals/115903.html.

Beth Young
Beth Young is an award-winning local journalist who has been covering the East End since the 1990s. She began her career at the Sag Harbor Express and, after receiving her Masters from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, has reported for the Southampton Press, the East Hampton Press and the Times/Review Media Group. She founded the East End Beacon website in 2013, and a print edition in 2017. Beth was born and raised on the North Fork. In her spare time, she tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

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