Grand Rapids tree planting effort gets $70,000 federal grant from U.S. Forest Service

By Garret Ellison | gellison@mlive.com

GRAND RAPIDS, MI undefined A West Michigan tree planting initiative designed to help minimize the impact of the invasive Emerald Ash Borer has received a $70,000 grant from the U.S. Forest Service.

The allocation was announced on Friday, Oct. 11 as part of nearly $3 million in U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grants toward tree canopy, forest cover and water quality improvement initiatives in six states around the Great Lakes.Nearly $1 million of the money goes toward Michigan projects.

The grant was awarded to the “Grand River Ash Tree Protection and Restoration Initiative,” a project by Friends of Grand Rapids Parks, which aims to plant 500 trees in public parks along the Grand River. The trees will maintain riparian buffers and tree canopy cover that will minimize the impact of the invasive Emerald Ash Borer, according to a Forest Service news release.

Friends of Grand Rapids Parks was out this week planting trees in Chesboro Park, The Merritt Street SE park recently lost all of its shade to the Ash Borer.

Friends of Grand Rapids Parks has also launched an Urban Forest Project. One objective of the project is to grow the Grand Rapids tree canopy.

The Forest Service grants are part of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, a cooperative effort between federal, tribal, state and local partners. The grants aim to support community forestry efforts that improve the interception, evaporation, infiltration and storage of rainfall and storm water.

Other Michigan grantees include:

  • $50,000 for “The Detroit Green Connections Project.” The Greening of Detroit will employ 10 young adults to plant 600 trees and supervise the planting of another 4,200 trees over a two year period, to reduce and slow stormwater runoff in the Detroit and Rouge River Watersheds.
  • $250,000 for “The Detroit Reforestation Initiative.” The Greening of Detroit will plant and maintain more than 1,400 trees in Detroit, Highland Park and Hamtramck communities that have lost 100 percent of their ash tree population to the emerald ash borer infestation.
  • $132,274 for “The Tree Canopy Restoration on Sault Tribe Lands.” The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians will restore 244 acres of trees lost to emerald ash borer along the Manistique and St. Mary’s Rivers.
  • $250,000 for “The Greening of Chevy in the Hole project.” The City of Flint will plant an additional 1,200 trees on 12 acres of post-industrial land abutting the Flint River, to manage stormwater on site and contribute to the uptake and degradation of toxic substances.
  • $197,437 for “Reducing Contamination using Hybrid Poplar in Lake Michigan Watersheds.” The Delta Institute will establish and monitor the economic and environmental benefits of hybrid poplar tree farms, with the planting of more than 3,600 trees on one or more brownfield sites totaling five acres in multiple lower peninsula sites around Lake Michigan.

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