U.S. Forest Service grant supports tree health in Glenwood Springs
For the Post Independent
Glenwood Springs has been awarded a $600,000 Urban and Community Grant by the United States Forest Service (USFS).
According to a USFS news release, the Forest Service is offering over $1 billion for 400 projects nationwide to increase access to trees and the social, health and economic benefits they provide.
The Rocky Mountain region alone has been awarded about $37.24 million. The goal of the grants is to plant and maintain trees in disadvantaged urban communities, tackle the climate crisis, and support jobs and workforce development.
The funding is coming from the Inflation Reduction Act.
“These investments arrive as cities across the country experience record-breaking heatwaves that have grave impacts on public health, energy consumption, and overall well-being,” said Thomas J. Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture.
According to Glenwood Springs Public Information Officer Bryana Starbuck, the Urban and Community Grant will be allocated to the city of Glenwood Springs over six years. The city will see its forestry budget go from $50,00 in 2023 to $200,000 in 2023, gradually increasing every year for the next five years; peaking at $300,000 by 2028.
The city’s Community Forestry Program budget covers the maintenance of trees in parks and public spaces, the management of inventory, education, outreach and the Tree Care Assistance Project.
“Glenwood Springs’ aging canopy and trees… have been through a lot with warmer, drier weather and invasive pests,” said Urban Ecology and Public Spaces Supervisor Heather Listermann.
She added, “We know how difficult it can be for residents to afford tree care for large, old trees or to plant a large tree. This grant will expand our ability to provide financial assistance for tree care to the people and trees that need it most.”
The Tree Care Assistance Project offers a one-time reimbursement to assist residents with tree care expenses, such as treating, pruning and/or removing and replacing high-risk trees in right-of-way areas.
Maintenance of trees in right-of-way areas is the responsibility of the adjacent property owner. There are 8,529 trees in public spaces and in the public right-of-ways. This program will assist those homeowners by offsetting the cost of caring for those trees.
Qualifying property owners can apply for the current right-of-way tree assistance program at cogs.us/TreeCare. The current program is available through December 31st and city staff will be working over the coming months to expand the existing program with new grant funds for 2024.
If you think your tree is suffering from pests or illness, immediately consult a certified arborist and contact the city’s tree hotline at 970-384-6336 or visit firstname.lastname@example.org.
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