Grants available to help communities develop, manage urban forests

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MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin cities, towns, villages, counties, tribal governments and nonprofit organizations can now apply for financial help for urban forestry projects from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Urban Forestry Grant program.

The grants support new, innovative projects that will develop and maintain urban and community forestry programs, said Suzann DaWalt, DNR urban forestry financing specialist. The application process is open now and the deadline to apply is Oct. 1.

“The grant period has been expanded by one month to allow applicants additional time to obtain an authorizing resolution from a governing body,” DaWalt said, adding those resolutions must be submitted by the application deadline for the application to be eligible for ranking. “The ranking is based on project outcomes, in other words, the benefits created by the urban forestry project.”

Well-developed applications will align with one or more of the following DNR urban forestry program goals:

  • enhance private property tree canopy;
  • increase local ability to provide ongoing funding, services and markets;
  • provide benefits to multiple communities;
  • utilize existing inventories; and
  • expand the ability to provide local education and outreach.

Other 2017 funding priorities include:

  • emerald ash borer management plans or insecticide treatment to preserve canopy;
  • actions having a long-term, positive impact on the urban tree canopy, therefore increasing the benefits it provides;
  • development or enhancement of community urban forestry programs; and
  • establishment of projects that could serve as a new model for others to adopt.

As part of the current funding period, the urban forestry program will also fund smaller startup grants for communities that want to start an urban forestry program, or resume an inactive one.

“A competitive startup project should focus on initial steps needed to develop a community urban forestry program, with a long term goal of that program being sustainable,” DaWalt said. “Initial steps could include conducting a tree inventory, developing a management plan or establishing an ordinance related to the community’s urban trees.”

Applications and additional information can be found by searching the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov for keyword: “UF grant.” Projects are to be completed between Jan. 1, 2017 and Dec. 31, 2017. Additional information on urban and community forestry and assistance with urban forestry grants is available through local urban forestry coordinators.