500 Trees to be planted as part of Grand River protection and restoration initiative | Community Spirit
The U.S. Forest Service announced yesterday nearly $3 million in grants to improve tree canopy, forest cover and ultimately, water quality in six Great Lakes states, including $70,000 to the Friends of Grand Rapids Parks. The grants are part of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), a collaborative effort between federal, state, tribal and local partners.
“Healthy forests and lands support healthy waters," said U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. "These projects will put people to work increasing the number of trees, turning polluted industrial sites into beautiful parkland and improving habitat for wildlife."
Friends of Grand Rapids Parks will utilize the funds to plant 500 trees in public parks along the Grand River over the coming 3 planting seasons. The trees will be planted by volunteers and maintain riparian buffers and tree canopy cover that will minimize the impact of the invasive Emerald Ash Borer (EAB). Riverside Park has been particularly hard hit by EAB, losing significant canopy in the past 5 years. Friends of Grand Rapids Parks is planning for Arbor Day 2013 to be the first large-scale volunteer planting as part of this grant.
“Funding from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative will help the Friends of Grand Rapids Parks cooperate with the City of Grand Rapids to replace lost trees within public spaces next to the Grand River,” said Mayor George Heartwell, “increasing species diversity, protecting and improving wildlife habitat, and the urban ecosystem, enhancing community resiliency and improving regional water quality.”
Friends of Grand Rapids Parks recently launched the Urban Forest Project www.urbanforestproject.com in partnership with the City. The goal of the initiative is to grow Grand Rapids tree canopy and engage the community through volunteer and awareness activities.
“Our community set a 40% tree canopy goal, and order to reach our goal, we need everyone to help grow a healthy urban forest,” says Steve Faber, Executive Director of Friends of Grand Rapids Parks.
A full list of Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant recipients and projects is available at: http://www.usda.gov