U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse today joined East Providence Mayor Roberto DaSilva and representatives from the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM) at East Providence’s Hull Street Park to celebrate $300,000 in federal funding to expand the Department’s urban tree cover initiatives in communities across Rhode Island.
With this new funding, RIDEM’s Division of Agriculture and Forest Environment will expand its partnership with the Green Infrastructure Center to support communities with green infrastructure planning, incorporating trees into emergency planning, and enhancing urban canopies.
“Urban trees support a canopy of wellbeing that includes economic, environmental and health benefits. We secured this federal earmark to help DEM plant more trees in areas where they are needed to provide more shade, improve air quality, stop erosion, and so much more,” said Senator Reed.
“Rhode Island has long recognized the potential of climate-smart infrastructure in our urban communities. I’m pleased to have helped secure this federal funding which boosts the state’s urban tree cover initiatives to make our cities healthier and more sustainable,” said Senator Whitehouse.
“I am grateful for our Senators’ and their staffs’ tenacity in identifying and obtaining federal funding for projects that really matter to Rhode Islanders. Trees are critical urban infrastructure that are essential to public health and well-being. DEM will put this earmark funding to good use by prioritizing human-centered investment in communities with the greatest need,” said Governor Dan McKee.
The earmark funding will support RIDEM’s urban forest planning assistance program, which includes guidance to communities on incorporating trees in their storm water management, climate change resiliency, and extreme weather event emergency planning. The funding will also help empower communities to better plan and manage their urban forests. These efforts support healthy, structurally-sound, resilient, and long-lived tree cover in Rhode Island’s urban communities.
Rhode Island is a national leader in urban forestry efforts. In April, RIDEM received $1.2 million in federal funds from the Urban and Community Forestry Program, allocated to the state under Democrats’ historic Inflation Reduction Act, the most comprehensive climate legislation to date. RIDEM will disperse this funding to community projects which lead to a more effective and efficient management of urban and community forests and improve public understanding of the benefits of preserving existing tree cover in communities across the state.
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