Contact(s): Suzann DaWalt, DNR urban forestry financing specialist, 715-453-2188 ext. 1267, Suzann.Dawalt@wisconsin.gov; Olivia Shanahan, DNR urban forestry grant specialist, 608-267-3775, firstname.lastname@example.org; or Jennifer Sereno, DNR communications, 608-770-8084, Jennifer.Sereno@wisconsin.gov
December 1, 2015
MADISON -- Thirty-six communities, nonprofit groups and counties will share $547,728 in 2016 state grant dollars to promote and sustain urban forest resources in Wisconsin.
The Department of Natural Resources urban forestry grant program funds projects that align with state and national goals for increasing the urban forest canopy and its benefits. This encompasses trees on both public and private property. For the 2016 grant cycle, priorities include, but were not limited to, projects that will 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.
"Urban forests serve a vital role in our communities, delivering valuable environmental, economic and social benefits," said Suzann DaWalt, DNR urban forestry financing specialist. "Well-managed urban forests provide economic benefits valued at nearly three times the cost of planting and maintaining these trees. The 2016 urban forest grants help communities maximize these benefits."
Projects receiving funding for the coming year include efforts to conduct tree inventories, develop management plans, restore urban forests, utilize urban wood and train local staff, DaWalt said.
DNR forestry officials encouraged communities to apply for grants to bolster their planning efforts to manage emerald ash borer and its impact on ash trees in their community. All are at heightened risk since the insect was confirmed in Wisconsin in 2008; a total of 39 counties are now quarantined. Grants help communities develop emerald ash borer preparedness plans as well as increase species diversity to reduce impact of future tree diseases or insect infestations.
The grants range from $1,000 to $25,000; 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. Of the 36 entities selected for 2016 urban forestry grants, 11 are for startup grants.