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Second Round of Healthy Urban Tree Canopy Grant Program to Support Planting of Thousands of Trees Across County

1/8/2021


Media Contact: Devyn Giannetti: (216) 225-9813; dgiannetti@cuyahogacounty.us


Three-Quarters of Funding to Be Used for Tree Planting, Priority Will Be Given to Areas High on County’s Vulnerability Index

CUYAHOGA COUNTY, OH
- Cuyahoga County will be launching its second round of the Healthy Urban Tree Canopy Grant Program this month, which will support communities in the planting of thousands of trees across Cuyahoga County.

This innovative grant achieves an action identified in the County’s 2019 Climate Change Action Plan through the annual contribution of $1 million dollar for five years to revitalize the tree canopy in Cuyahoga County.

The County’s 2019 Urban Tree Canopy Assessment showed slightly more than 100,000 acres (34.7 percent) of all land in Cuyahoga County is tree canopy, with an additional 371,000 acres available for tree canopy. The first round of funding identified over 15,000 sites available for tree planting in multiple municipalities. Communities are now working to increase this tree canopy acreage.

The second round of grants will specifically support the implementation of community urban forestry plans, expand tree canopy through community reforestation projects and implement high impact reforestation projects. Implementation Projects, which include the physical planting of trees, will cover 75% of grant funds. The Healthy Urban Tree Canopy Grant Program will gather data about each project, monitor its success, and produce an annual report that will better inform project selection and funding for each successive year of grant funding.

While competitive grant applications will be evaluated based on a variety of factors, a community’s Vulnerability Assessment will be considered when providing funding. The Vulnerability Assessment Map shows the physical and social factors that make communities more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, which can include factors such as population age, minority population, older residential buildings and a lack of tree canopy. This aligns with the County’s ongoing work to enhance racial equity through multiple avenues across the County.

“Planting more trees in our community has a positive impact on the health and well-being of our residents,” said County Executive Armond Budish. “This second round of grant funding will allow communities to plant thousands of trees and increase the amount of canopy across our County.”

For many municipalities, initial funding allowed them to address their tree canopy issues for the first time. Therefore, many used the first round of grants to hire foresters and arborists to figure out concretely where and what types of trees need to be grown and begin planning to develop a healthy urban tree canopy. Now, these communities are prepared to begin planting thousands of trees through this second round of funding.

“Communities have set the stage for thousands of additional trees to be planted this year,” said Mike Foley, Director of the Department of Sustainability. “With these funds, municipalities can keep putting in the work to revitalize and expand their existing tree canopies through planting and implementation.”

Partners on the Urban Tree Canopy Grant Program include the County Planning Commission, the Cuyahoga Soil and Water Conversation District and the Cuyahoga County Board of Health.

Applications will be available in the coming weeks on the County Planning Commission website.