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Resources to Help Localities Increase Tree Canopy

Resources to Help Localities Increase Tree Canopy

Photo looking up into sky at a Tree CanopyTree Canopy Fact Sheets for Each Locality in the Bay Watershed

Tree canopy provides multiple benefits for the communities of Hampton Roads, including lowering temperatures, managing stormwater runoff, improving public safety and human health, and reducing air pollution. The Bay watershed saw a net decline of over 25,000 acres of tree canopy between 2013 and 2017 based on the new land cover data produced by the Chesapeake Conservancy and the Chesapeake Bay Program. To help counter the decline, the Chesapeake Tree Canopy Network developed an education campaign targeted to all the cities, counties, and towns in the Bay watershed. The USDA Forest Service presented their Tree Canopy Fact Sheets to the Regional Environmental Committee on April 6, 2023. The fact sheets explain: 1) changes in each localities’ tree canopy from 2013 to 2017, 2) the total percent of land area that has tree cover, 3) the annual monetary benefits provided, and 4) the breakdown of tree cover based on land use. Plus, the fact sheets quantify tree benefits like air pollution removal, stormwater runoff reduced, and carbon sequestered.  Simply click on your locality on the map provided on the site to get your local fact sheet. 

An image of page one of the Tree Cover Status and Change Fact Sheet for Portsmouth

An image of page two of the Tree Cover Status and Change Fact Sheet for Portsmouth


Funding Opportunities Available

Logos for USDA and the US Forest ServiceSo how can the declining tree canopy trends be reversed? Federal, state, and regional grants are available to plant more trees. The Inflation Reduction Act provides $1.5 billion for Urban and Community Forestry investments that increase access to urban tree canopy for disadvantaged communities, broaden community engagement in tree planting, and improve community and urban forest resilience to climate change and storm events. Awards range from $100,000 to $50M, and there is a 50/50 match required; however, the match may be waived for proposals that deliver 100% of the benefits to disadvantaged communities.  The applications are due June 1, 2023, and the online grant portal is available here.

Virginia Department of Forestry LogoThe Virginia Department of Forestry’s Virginia Trees for Clean Water program offers local governments up to $50,000 on a rolling basis for various tree planting projects.  Applications must be submitted 30 days prior to beginning the project.

Logos for the Virginia Outdoors Foundation and Wetlands WatchWetlands Watch and the Virginia Outdoors Foundation have partnered to offer grant funds through the new Coastal Resilience & Trees Fund.  The project categories include: 1) capacity building, 2) green infrastructure, 3) shoreline protection, 4) stewardship, and 5) tree planting. Applications for the summer grant cycle are due July 7, 2023, and the grant manual is available here.