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Seattle awarded $12.9 million in federal funds to plant more trees over five years |  Washington

(The Center Square) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service recently awarded Seattle $12.9 million to plant and maintain trees over the next five years.

Funding will be distributed to the Seattle Office of Sustainability and Environment, Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation, and Seattle Department of Transportation. The three municipal departments will use this money to improve tree planting and park maintenance.

The USDA announced more than 1 billion dollars by financing nearly 400 projects aimed at expanding access to trees and green spaces. The department’s Forest Service selected 385 grant proposals from entities working to increase access to trees and nature, which in turn improves air quality and cools city streets.

Seattle’s share of the federal funds awarded will see $900,000 go to the Delridge Native Forest Garden. The city said the garden project would remove invasive species and plant native conifers.

The remaining $12 million is intended to leverage long-standing partnerships with organizations such as Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust and Environmental Coalition of South Seattle. The partnerships will aim to plant trees, train young people and provide them with jobs, as well as restore forest areas in municipal parks near public housing and schools.

“Thanks to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service and President (Joe) Biden, we will be able to increase the dollars the city has already invested to grow the canopy in historically marginalized neighborhoods,” said Dan Strauss , Seattle City Council member, in a statement. statement.

The Seattle City Council recently pass a tree protection order after discovering that the area had seen a relative decline in tree cover of 1.7%, or 255 acres, to what now represents 28% of the city’s total tree canopy coverage between 2016 and 2021. The new law aims to further protect more than 157,000 trees.

In March, Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell announced a citywide tree cover goal of 30% by 2037.

The city’s new tree protection ordinance took effect July 30.