Charleston, W. Va. (WVDN) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service announced a $1.5 million investment supporting an Urban and Community Forestry project in West Virginia, increasing access to trees and the critical social, health and economic benefits that they provide.
Nationwide, over $1 billion will go to support nearly 400 projects led by community-based organizations, tribes, municipal and state governments, nonprofit partners and universities. These investments will plant and maintain trees in disadvantaged communities, tackle the climate crisis and support local jobs. The funding, made possible by the Inflation Reduction Act, is part of a historic $1.5 billion investment in the Forest Service’s Urban and Community Forestry Program.
“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.”
“Through these grants, we are supporting local partners and organizations doing critical work that directly impacts and improves our lives. An increased tree canopy has countless benefits for our cities and our well-being. Trees improve air quality, reduce stress, encourage safety, and create spaces to recreate and gather,” said Gina Owens, Eastern Regional Forester.
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.
Project in West Virginia funded through this competitive grant program:
Grantee: WVU Extension
Federal Investment: $1,500,000
Project: West Virginia Ecosystem Career Engagement and Training
In addition to this funding, in April 2023 the Forest Service announced a $750,000 investment in West Virginia’s Urban and Community Forestry Program, which will be used to support the state’s competitive sub-award program.
The Forest Service supports vibrant and healthy communities through investments in urban and community forests and the organizations that grow and care for them. More information about the funded proposals, as well as announcements about the grant program, is available on the Forest Service website.
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