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Ogdensburg gets $50,000 grant to plant trees along the Oswegatchie River

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OGDENSBURG — The city will use a $50,000 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-funded Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant to plant trees at two Oswegatchie River locations to increase its tree numbers, which will lessen stormwater runoff and improve water quality.

“This will help with the city’s green inventory,” said Parks and Recreation Director Matthew J. Curatolo, whose staff will plant the undetermined number of trees next spring. “The trees will also help beautify those two areas.”

The two Oswegatchie River settings are both on the west shore. One is near the Ogdensburg Rotary Club gazebo under construction at Robert R. Bjork Park by the Lake Street pedestrian bridge; the other is near the city boat launch under the Spring Street bridge.

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative task force, according to city Planning and Development Director Andrea L. Smith, includes 11 federal agencies working to clear toxins, combat invasive species and promote ecosystem health by mitigating polluted runoff and restoring wetlands and other habitats.

“Stormwater runoff is the number one cause of stream impairment in urban areas,” she said in a prepared statement. “Trees not only help slow down and store runoff, which can promote infiltration and lessen risk of erosion, but certain tree species can even reduce levels of pollutants entering our streams and rivers.”

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant also will be used to design and construct bioretention areas on the west bank of the river.

According to the state Department of Environmental Conservation, bioretention areas capture and treat stormwater, allowing the water to filter through soil and vegetation. Bioretention areas are usually larger than rain gardens and are designed to connect to the storm drain system.

Mr. Curatolo said a “variety” of trees in size, species and cost will be planted.

“It all depends on how much we can get with the grant,” he said.

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