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March 21, 2023

Contact: Lawrence Hajna (609) 984-1795
Caryn Shinske (609) 984-1795
Vincent Grassi (609) 984-1795


(23/P022) TRENTON – The Department of Environmental Protection is awarding 23 Urban and Community Forestry grants totaling $1,106,934 to local governments and non-profit organizations to help municipalities advance the stewardship of their urban and community trees and forests, Commissioner Shawn M. LaTourette announced today.

Forester Levon Bigelow inspecting a tree planted under a NJUCF stewardship grant.Awarded through a competitive process since 2000, the DEP’s Urban and Community Forestry grants assist in the establishment and growth of local, self-sustaining urban and community forestry programs. With proper care and maintenance, trees in community and urban settings can be healthy and live many decades. Today’s announcement is made on the International Day of Forests, which the United Nations General Assembly established in 2012 to raise awareness about the importance of forests.

“The stewardship of urban trees has never been more important than now, especially as New Jersey continues to experience the adverse impacts of a changing climate,” Commissioner LaTourette said. “These grants will help improve the urban tree canopy throughout the state providing ecosystem services, reducing heat island effects and improving human health. Proper planning and management of trees and forests also mitigates storm water and other flooding, as well as air pollution.”

Funding for the 2022 grants comes from the “Treasure Our Trees” state license plate sales and the New Jersey Forest Service’s No Net Loss Compensatory Reforestation Program.

“Trees and forests are important to New Jerseyans on so many levels. Trees store carbon and reduce greenhouse gases and energy use, which lessens the impacts of climate change and strengthens the resilience of towns and cities, said John Cecil, Assistant Commissioner for State Parks, Forests & Historic Sites. “It is a priority of the New Jersey Forest Service to not only plant trees in communities and urban areas, but to ensure their long-term survival through proper planning, care and management.”

Reforestation and tree planting grants totaling $598,216 have been awarded to:

Bergen County: Bogota ($40,000), Englewood ($66,830)
Burlington County: Moorestown ($8,000)
Hunterdon County:
Clinton Town ($25,000)
Middlesex County:
Highland Park ($150,000) and East Brunswick Township ($30,000)
Monmouth County
: Interlaken Shade Tree Commission ($42,150)
Morris County:
Pequannock Township Department of Public Works ($50,000)
Passaic County:
Clifton ($49,026) 
Somerset County:
Somerville ($137,210)

Resiliency planning grants totaling $508,718 have been awarded to:

Bergen County: Ramsey ($20,000)
Camden County
: Haddonfield Shade Tree Commission ($50,000)
Essex County
: Caldwell ($11,258) and Essex County ($20,000)
Hunterdon County
: Lambertville ($37,000) and Readington Township Environmental Commission ($50,000)
Mercer County
: Trenton ($50,000) and Princeton ($50,000)
Morris County
: Morris County Park Commission ($50,000)
Monmouth County
: Long Branch ($50,000) and Millstone Township ($50,000)
Warren County
: Lopatcong ($46,145) and Belvidere ($24,315)

Grant recipients may use their awards for a variety of projects such as community tree inventories, risk tree assessments, storm assessments, tree planting and establishment, and reforestation. Local governments also use the grants to manage impacts from invasive species such as emerald ash borer, an invasive tree-killing beetle causing widespread losses of ash trees nationwide.

“A comprehensive local urban and community forestry program provides environmental, social and economic benefits,” said Todd Wyckoff, New Jersey State Forester.  “An urban tree canopy is part of a community’s infrastructure and creates valuable environmental, economic and social benefits. Communities that are accredited with the New Jersey Urban and Community Forestry Program have a Community Forestry Management Plan, participate in required training and education programs, and report back to the program on their accomplishments every year.”

Currently, 253 municipalities and counties across New Jersey have management plans for trees and forests approved by the New Jersey Forest Service, 152 of which are fully accredited with the Urban and Community Forestry Program. The program hopes to announce a new round of grants in 2023 aimed at urban and community tree inventory to help inform local management decisions moving forward.

For more information about the New Jersey Urban and Community Forestry Program, including details on accreditation with the program, visit

Like the New Jersey Forest Service on Facebook at 

For more information on how to purchase the Treasure Our Trees commercial or passenger vehicle license plate, which funds the New Jersey Urban and Community Forestry grants, visit

For more about Urban and Community Forestry Stewardship grants and related programs, visit

Follow Commissioner LaTourette on Twitter and Instagram @shawnlatur and follow the DEP on Twitter @NewJerseyDEP, Facebook @newjerseydep, Instagram @nj.dep and LinkedIn @newjerseydep

PHOTO:  Forester Levon Bigelow inspecting a tree planted under a NJUCF stewardship grant.