By Alex Elias, Urban Forestry Grants Manager
Thirty communities, nonprofit groups and counties will share $465,661.99 in 2018 state grants from the Department of Natural Resources Urban Forestry Grant program to promote and sustain urban forest resources in Wisconsin.
“Wisconsin’s urban forests provide a wide range of ecological, economic and social benefits for the 70 percent of Wisconsin’s population that lives in an urban area and visitors to these communities,” said Alexandria Elias, urban forestry grants manager. “Beyond aesthetics, urban forests reduce air pollution, mitigate storm water runoff, conserve energy, and increase property values. The 2018 urban forest grants help communities maximize these benefits.”
The grants range from $1,000 to $25,000, and grant recipients must match each grant dollar for dollar. A startup grant of up to $5,000 is available for communities that want to start or restart a community forestry program. Out of the 30 Urban Forestry Grants awarded for 2018, six are for startup grants.
Wisconsin’s urban tree portfolio needs more diversity in species. State and national efforts are in place to increase the urban forest canopy and the benefits it provides, environmentally and economically.
“DNR Urban Forestry Coordinators encouraged communities to apply for grants to develop emerald ash borer management plans and raise public awareness regarding its impact on ash trees in their community,” Elias said. “Increasing species diversity is the best way to reduce the impact of future tree diseases or insect infestations.”
The urban forest encompasses trees on both public and private property. Priorities for the 2018 grant cycle include, but are not limited to, projects that increase the ability of local municipal partners to expand their urban forestry program; increase the ability of all local partners to provide ongoing urban forestry funding, services and/or markets; benefit multiple communities; and put existing inventories of urban trees to use.