NYFOA Members Participate in Forestry Awareness Day 2019

On March 5, 2019, four NYFOA members (Frank Winkler, Mike Zagata, Dick Gibbs, and Stacey Kazacos) attended Forestry Awareness Day (FAD) 2019 at the Legislative Office Building in Albany. FAD was organized by the Empire State Forest Products Association (ESFPA), an organization which supports many of the same major issues as NYFOA. ESFPA invited a number of its members and a select group of related organizations to send representatives to meet with NYS legislators and staffers to insure our message is heard.

The governor's proposed $176 billion budget represents a 2 percent spending increase over the current fiscal year, if approved by the state Legislature for the fiscal year that starts April 1. The $300 million Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) has sections that have a direct bearing on NYFOA's interests. NYFOA's FAD representatives had meetings with 16 legislators and staffers and highlighted our key issues. These included:

A. Regenerate NY Grant Program: This proposal would budget $500,000 for cost share stewardship projects undertaken by private forest landowners. The stewardship practises eligible for cost sharing will be those required toaccomplishregeneration: heavyTSI,invasivescontrol & deer control orexclosures. These types of projects will entice the landowners to seek the guidance of a professional to assist with stewardship objectives while introducing them to continuous active stewardship -- and options for markets that can help them manage their forests over the long term. NYFOA supports this grant program because it provides a financial incentive to woodlot owners to undertake key activities necessary for forest regeneration.

B. EPF Funding for Invasive Species Control: Invasive and interfering vegetation has had an enormous negative impact on forest regeneration throughout NYS.

C. EPF Funding for Urban Forestry: Urban forests are among the most visible of forest stewardship efforts because 80% of NYS's population live in urban areas.

D. Working Forest Conservation Easements: The current budget request for this new initiative is $3 million. Under the proposal, a fund would be established through the EPF for the next generation of working conservation easements through land trusts working with private family forest owners.

Note that the makeup of NYS Senate and Assembly committee changed a great deal due to the results of the November 2018 elections. Democrats now control the Senate and Assembly. Thus, NYFOA representatives met a number of new members and left them with pertinent requests and background materials.


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