MINNEAPOLIS— The City of Minneapolis’s Health Department is a recipient of an $8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Forest Service’s Urban and Community Forestry Program for its Equitable Tree Canopy Management Program.
“This funding will take a significant burden off community members in low-income neighborhoods who need to remove infested trees,” said Mayor Jacob Frey. “This is a textbook example of environmental justice in action, and I’m proud to have worked with Council Members Latrisha Vetaw and Jeremiah Ellison to support it.”
The grant, one of the largest awarded to a single city in the Midwest, according to officials, will help remove trees infested with Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) throughout the city. It will specifically focus on easing the financial burden low-income property owners face with required removal of trees infested with EAB. The grant will include:
- Ash tree removal or treatment
- Stump grinding
- Tree replacement
- Community-led engagement and outreach
- Workforce development
“We are grateful to the Forest Service, Minneapolis Tree Program Coordinator Sydney Schaaf, Environmental Manager Kelly Muellman and our partners at the Minneapolis Park Board who made this grant possible,” said Deputy Commissioner Patrick Hanlon, Minneapolis Health Department.
Emerald Ash Borer and its impact on the City
Removal of EAB-infested trees has disproportionately burdened the city’s low-income residents. The Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board (MPRB) projects up to 12,000 trees will be condemned over the next five years in low-income neighborhoods throughout the city due to EAB infestation. This is in addition to the more than 16,000 city-wide trees the MPRB already condemned and required removal of from 2013-2022.
The grant may only be used for future condemned trees and plantings. Grant funding can only go to eligible property owners in environmental justice neighborhoods or with qualifying incomes. The Health Department is gathering additional information on the grant and how the dollars can specifically be allocated, and when they will be available.
“This is an impactful and valuable program on various levels, and we’re pleased to be able to help provide these much-needed services and trees to our community,” said Sydney Schaaf, City Trees Program Coordinator.
The Equitable Tree Canopy Management Program is a partnership between the City and MPRB to support private urban tree canopy management and resiliency in Minneapolis neighborhoods