19 Projects Awarded Funding Through Fourth Round of Cuyahoga County Healthy Urban Tree Canopy Grant Program
More than 2,000 trees to be planted through community-wide effort
In its fourth round of funding, Cuyahoga County will invest $950,000 into its tree canopy by providing financial support for 19 projects for tree plans and tree planting sponsored by area municipalities, neighborhoods, and nonprofits through the Cuyahoga County Healthy Urban Tree Canopy (HUTC) Grant Program. This funding will result in 1 high impact reforestation project, 4 tree planting projects, 8 maintenance and tree planting projects, and 6 tree planning and planting projects.
This round of the innovative grant program brings the County’s total investment into its tree canopy to over $4 million.
The County’s 2019 Urban Tree Canopy Assessment showed slightly more than 96,000 acres (34.7%) of all land in Cuyahoga County is tree canopy, with an additional 371,000 acres being available for tree canopy. The first round of funding identified more than 15,000 sites available for tree planting in multiple municipalities. Projects were selected based on a variety of factors, with special consideration given to projects that align with the County’s equity and vulnerability goals.
“Planting trees is one of the easiest ways to beautify a community and have a positive impact on the environment,” said County Executive Chris Ronayne. “Our municipalities are dedicated to improving their tree canopy coverage, and I’m excited that we can help them to plant thousands of trees and be environmental stewards.”
Maintaining mature trees is vital to relieving the effects of climate change and improving the health of residents throughout the county. As it will take time before the newly planted trees can capture as much carbon, slow and store storm water, and reduce pollutants as effectively as mature trees, HUTC is providing funds to help maintain existing tree canopy throughout Cuyahoga County in Program Year 2023. This strategy will help Cuyahoga County establish a healthy urban forest and maximize the ecosystem services of our green infrastructure.
The fourth round of grants continues to support the implementation of community urban forestry plans, expands tree canopy through reforestation projects, implements high impact reforestation projects, and supports maintenance efforts on existing canopy trees. The HUTC Grant Program gathers data about each project and monitors its success to better inform project selection and funding for each successive year of grant funding. The County commends the Cleveland Tree Coalition, which will add funding to support two projects in Cleveland.
“Cuyahoga County will see warmer and wetter weather over the coming years because of climate change,” said Sustainability Director Mike Foley. “Trees are low tech solutions to some of the problems we will see in the future. They help soak up excess storm water. They help keep neighborhoods cool. They help local air quality. Our tree canopy needs to be built back up, and these HUTC grants really move us back toward where we need to be in terms of overall coverage.”
More than 2,000 trees will be planted during this fourth round, which will bring the total number of trees planted through the HUTC Grant Program to more than 11,500.
“We know through our work that the residents of Cuyahoga County have a strong desire to be outdoors in both active and passive ways,” said Executive Director of the Cuyahoga County Planning Commission Mary Cierebiej. “These grant dollars allow communities to improve their tree canopy in a thoughtful and intentional way, while providing an added health benefit to their residents.”