MADISON - Forty-five Wisconsin communities, nonprofit organizations, a county and a tribal government will receive a total of $560,680 to conduct urban forestry projects including tree inventories and assessments, management plans, emerald ash borer preparedness plans, urban forest restoration projects, and other urban forestry efforts.
The Department of Natural Resources urban and community forest program provides grants from $1,000 to $25,000, with grant recipients matching each grant dollar for dollar.
This year the program encouraged communities to apply for grants to bolster their preparedness for emerald ash borer, a non-native insect that bores into ash trees and can kill the trees within a few years.
Emerald ash borer was found for the first time in Wisconsin in August 2008 in Washington County. Since then, emerald ash borer has been confirmed in Brown, Crawford, Kenosha, La Crosse, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Rock, Trempealeau, Vernon, Walworth, Washington and Waukesha counties.
Wisconsin has 5.2 million ash trees in cities, villages and urban towns. All are at heightened risk since EAB was confirmed in Wisconsin. The grant awards will help 21 communities conduct a tree inventory, develop an emerald ash borer preparedness plan or increase species diversity.
"The urban forestry grants provide critical support for EAB early planning efforts that include forecasting budgets for labor, equipment, staff training and restoration, " said Paul DeLong, chief state forester.
The program also is seeing a rise in multi-partner grants, where communities and organizations pool resources for broader program expansion which focus on building partnerships, sharing information, and networking. The program continues to encourage innovative projects.
A start-up grant of up to $5,000 is available for communities that want to start or restart an urban forestry program. The DNR awarded 18 start-up grants for 2013.
For more information on urban forests, including a complete list of grant recipients (PDF), amounts and projects, search the DNR website for key words "urban forest" or for information on emerald ash borer visit the Wisconsin emerald ash borer website. FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Jeff Roe, urban forestry team leader, 608-264- 6294