Bay Area communities receive millions in federal grants to plant trees, beat extreme heat

WASHINGTON – Communities across California, including several in the Bay Area, are receiving more than $100 million in federal grants to plant and maintain trees aimed at alleviating the effects of extreme heat.

Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla announced Friday that the U.S. Forest Service awarded $102,873,146 in grants to 43 recipients in the Golden State. Money came from the Inflation Reduction Act passed last year.

“As extreme temperatures increasingly threaten the safety of workers and communities all across California, expanding access to shade and green spaces is more important than ever,” Padilla said.

“Planting trees is one of the best tools we have to fight climate change and protect residents from extreme heat, yet too many of our urban areas lack sufficient tree canopies,” said Feinstein. “This grant funding will help more cities and towns plant and maintain trees, which in turn will filter out pollution, reduce energy consumption, lower temperatures and provide more Californians access to green spaces in their communities.”

Among notable awards, the City of San Francisco Public Works’ Bureau of Urban Forestry received $12 million, the largest single award among California recipients. The bureau intends to use the money to plant thousands of street trees in “low canopy communities” and create green jobs.

Meanwhile, the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department is receiving $2 million for a “Canopy Management Plan” for parks in the southeast part of the city. Part of the plan includes developing a workforce pre-apprentice program hiring and training local residents to plant and maintain city trees.

In Oakland, the city is receiving an $8 million grant to increase the tree canopy on public and private land, addressing deferred tree maintenance, along with providing job opportunities.

The city of San Jose was awarded two grants, including a $5.6 million grant for its “Community Forest Investment Project.” Officials hope to take control of maintenance for all public trees, plant 3,000 new ones and better management of existing community trees.

An additional $1 million grant is intended to manage vegetation and reduce wildfire risk at Alum Rock Park, along with pruning at Overfelt Gardens.

Other Bay Area cities receiving grants include Berkeley, Concord, Fremont, Hayward, Petaluma, Pittsburg, Vallejo and Walnut Creek. A full list of California grants can be found here.

Nationally, the U.S. Forest Service awarded $1 billion in tree-planting grants for projects in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

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