San Diego Awarded $10 Million Federal Grant to Improve Urban Forest
The City of San Diego has been awarded $10 million from the federal government for planting trees in communities throughout the City, part of an ongoing effort to grow and improve San Diego’s urban forest.
"This funding will allow the City to plant and preserve more than 8,400 trees throughout San Diego’s historically disadvantaged communities,” said San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria. “Our Climate Action Plan sets an ambitious goal of planting 100,000 new trees by 2035 and this funding will help us make significant progress to meet our objectives. I want to thank the Biden-Harris Administration for this investment in our City and for helping us make San Diego a more sustainable and equitable City for all."
The grant, announced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service, was among $1 billion in funding to be distributed to cities across the nation. The grants are intended to be used to plant and maintain trees, to aid in combating extreme heat and climate change. The Forest Service selected 385 grant proposals from all 50 states to fund projects working to increase equitable access to trees and nature.
“We are honored to be selected for this generous grant,” said City Transportation Director Bethany Bezak. “This was a highly competitive process, and we plan to use these funds to beautify the City and improve the quality of life for all San Diegans.”
This grant funding will be used for the City’s “Ready, Set, Grow San Diego” program, which seeks to address climate action goals and promote tree equity. The City plans to conduct extensive community outreach to engage residents in planning and participation in the project. Grant-funded activities will include planting trees, and preserving trees through well expansions and removal of tree grates.
“We are thrilled to receive this funding which will improve San Diego’s urban forest in our City’s historically underserved communities with new trees and expansion in growing space around our existing trees," said Brian Widener, City Forester for the City of San Diego. "Trees provide shade, ecosystem services and a host of other benefits to make a greener and more livable San Diego!”
Thousands of trees will be planted, thanks to this federal funding, according to Widener.
Among the benefits provided by urban trees are cooler city streets, improved air quality, and overall public health. Studies show that communities with access to trees and green spaces are associated with improved health outcomes, reduced crime, lower average temperatures, and an influx of other kinds of investments and new economic opportunities.
“This is a great news for the City’s climate equity goals,” said Shelby Busó, Chief Sustainability Officer for the City of San Diego. “Our Climate Action Plan aims to aggressively reduce greenhouse gas emissions. While we all know that trees are a valuable mitigation measure, they are also integral to achieving additional core benefits such as cleaner air and improved public health outcomes, especially in our Communities of Concern.”
For more information on the City’s urban forest, please visit the Trees program webpage.