By Abe Lenoch, 1000 Friends of Wisconsin
1000 Friends of Wisconsin was awarded a U.S. Forest Service Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) grant to plant 350 trees across four Green Tier Legacy Communities (GTLC) in 2018. The GLRI grant program, through USFS, intends to improve Great Lakes water quality by restoring, protecting, and maintaining Great Lakes ecosystems. 1000 Friends partnered with four GTLC’s Ashland, Bayside, Oshkosh and Sheboygan and the Wisconsin DNR Urban Forests Program.
During the 2019 and 2020 growing seasons a total of 371 trees were planted. Each community bought and planted the trees, followed by an in-kind inspection from the DNR’s Urban Forest Regional Coordinator covering the respective GTLC’s. The increase in urban forest canopy helps to avoid roughly 21,889 gallons of stormwater runoff across all four GTLC’s. The trees were all planted on public property, mostly in right-of-ways, but the City of Ashland gave their trees a lakeside view and put them on the front lines of water quality defense by planting 34 trees in Bayview Park.
While the number of trees was impressive, species diversity was also important for our project. We’re excited to report that the four GTLCs planted 27 different tree species! Species diversity in urban forests is vital to mitigating the impact that future insect, pests, diseases, and climate change will have on our urban and community forests in Wisconsin.
Like all good tree planting projects, the benefits the trees provide stretches far and wide. These GLRI trees improve stormwater management and filter pollutants, in turn improving Great Lakes water quality, but they also sequester carbon and provide shade, which are two important tasks as we all try to beat the heat each summer. Trees wear many hats; we’re thankful for their fashion and environmental sense!
1000 Friends of Wisconsin recognizes the importance of urban forests in Wisconsin- our organization is an urban and community forest advocate. We advocate for more urban forestry grant funding, and seek grants like this one to increase urban forest canopy across Wisconsin. We’re thankful to have partners like GTLCs and the Wisconsin DNR Urban Forestry Program to enhance urban forest canopy throughout the state.
*1000 Friends of Wisconsin, EPA, and U.S. Forest Service are equal opportunity providers.