27 Projects Awarded Funding Through Third Round of Cuyahoga County Healthy Tree Canopy Grant Program
Over 3,400 trees to be planted through community-wide effort
In its third year of funding, Cuyahoga County will invest $950,000 into its tree canopy by funding 27 projects for tree plans and tree planting sponsored by area municipalities, neighborhoods and nonprofits through the Cuyahoga County Healthy Tree Canopy Grant Program. This funding will spur the creation of 23 tree planting projects and four tree planning and planting projects.
This innovative grant achieves an action identified in the County’s 2019 Climate Change Action Plan through the contribution of $1 million dollars for five years to revitalize the tree canopy in Cuyahoga County.
The County’s 2019 Urban Tree Canopy Assessment showed slightly more than 100,000 acres (34.7 percent) of all land in Cuyahoga County is tree canopy, with an additional 371,000 acres available for tree canopy. The first round of funding identified over 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.
“As we announce the third year of Urban Tree Canopy Grant Program awards, we’re really seeing our efforts to grow our tree canopy coming to fruition,” said County Executive Armond Budish. “Municipalities and local non-profits are dedicated to making critical improvements in tree canopy coverage, and we’re excited to grow our coverage by planting thousands of additional trees across the county.”
This third round of grants supports the implementation of community urban forestry plans, expanding tree canopy through community reforestation projects and implementing high impact reforestation projects. The Healthy Urban Tree Canopy Grant Program will gather data about each project and monitor its success to better inform project selection and funding for each successive year of grant funding.
One goal of the program is to encourage communities to consider the long-term sustainability of their tree planting initiatives. Over half a dozen of this year’s awardees developed their planting projects based on previously funded planning projects.
“Trees are critical for so many things—helping with local air quality and storm water runoff, providing summer shade and minimizing air conditioning costs, and generally assisting with overall mental health. That’s why the County continues to put resources into helping strengthen tree plantings in communities,” said Cuyahoga County Sustainability Director Mike Foley. “Planting trees is important, but making sure they are healthy and will survive for the next 50 to 75 years is paramount for a successful tree canopy restoration program. This grant program allows us to continue to increase our canopy across dozens of municipalities in a healthy and sustainable way.”
Over 3,400 trees will be planted during this third round, which will bring the total number of trees planted across all three rounds to over 7,500. A new partnership with the Cleveland Tree Coalition on this effort allowed the County to extend funding to two additional projects, thereby increasing the overall impact of the Healthy Urban Tree Canopy Grant.
“Our tree canopies are critically important to the future of our communities; we are thrilled to see the significant number of trees that will be planted as part of the 2022 program,” said County Planning Commission Executive Director Mary Cierebiej. “The results from the County’s 2019 Urban Tree Canopy Assessment update indicate that Cuyahoga County has posted a net tree loss of about 6,600 acres—a decline of 6.1% since 2011. We are honored to be part of a solution aimed at reversing this trend.”