PORTLAND, Ore., — The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the USDA Forest Service is investing more than $1 billion in nearly 400 grant awards nationwide to increase access to trees and the social, health, and economic benefits they provide.
Of the total funding, the Forest Service awarded over $94 million to community-based organizations, tribes, municipal and state governments, non-profit partners, universities, and other eligible entities across the Pacific Northwest Region.
These investments will plant and maintain trees in disadvantaged urban communities, tackle the climate crisis, and support jobs and workforce development.
The funding, made possible by President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, is part of a historic $1.5 billion investment in the Forest Service’s Urban and Community Forestry Program. The funding supports local communities and the organizations that serve them as they work to increase tree cover in disadvantaged spaces and boost equitable access to nature.
“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 Secretary Vilsack. “Thanks to President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, we are supporting communities in becoming more resilient to climate change and combatting extreme heat with the cooling effects of increased urban tree canopy, while also supporting employment opportunities and professional training that will strengthen local economies.”
“These investments will not only contribute to the planting and maintenance of trees in disadvantaged urban communities, but they also assist with tackling the climate crisis and supporting jobs and workforce development,” said Chad Davis, Regional Director for State, Private and Tribal Forestry for the Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest and Alaska Regions. “This funding will help create more vibrant and healthy urban communities across the Pacific Northwest and the entire country.”
The Urban and Community Forestry Program supports the Justice40 Initiative, which aims to ensure that 40% of the overall benefits of certain Federal investments flow to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized, underserved, and lack access to trees and nature.
All grant funding will flow to disadvantaged communities thanks to our applicant tool, which used the White House Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool (CEJST) to identify eligible communities. CEJST is a geospatial mapping tool that identifies communities faced with significant burdens, such as climate change, energy, health, housing, legacy pollution, transportation, water and wastewater, and workforce development.
The Forest Service supports vibrant and healthy urban communities through supporting healthy urban forests. More information about the funded proposals, as well as announcements about the grant program, is available on the Forest Service website. To see the grant breakdown for Washington and Oregon or other states, see here.
– USDA Forest Service