Massachusetts receives $22 million from USDA to expand access to trees and green space across state

BOSTON — Several Massachusetts communities will be getting greener, thanks to $22 million in federal funding to plant trees across the state and combat climate change, Gov. Maura Healey said Wednesday.

The multi-million grant from the USDA Forest Service’s Urban and Community Forestry Program aims to “to plant and maintain trees, combat extreme heat and climate change, and improve access to nature in communities across the country,” Healey said in a statement.

The projects include “plans to plant more than 15,000 trees in Springfield, fund an urban forestry fellowship in Lynn, improve public health for vulnerable populations in Fall River through an expanded tree canopy, and advance social inclusion and workforce development through community forestry in the Boston neighborhoods of Chinatown, East Boston, Dorchester, Mattapan, and Roxbury,” Healey said.

“We are incredibly excited to see Massachusetts cities and towns receive the funding they need to proactively expand green space in environmental justice communities across the Commonwealth,” Healey said. “We are committed to continuing to partner with these municipalities as they put their federal money to work improving public health and increasing access to opportunity for the people of Massachusetts.”

Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Rebecca Tepper said in a statement that the urban forestry programs will help the state.

“This summer’s extreme temperatures have shown that our cities and towns are on the front lines of responding to the impacts of climate change. We’re proud to see these communities leading the charge in implementing climate resilient measures that will ensure a healthier, more equitable Massachusetts,” said Tepper. “Congratulations to the communities receiving this important funding to support their urban forestry programs.”

Massachusetts projects that have been awarded USDA funding include:

• City of Boston- Healthy Places Boston: Growing an Accessible, Inclusive and Resilient Urban Forest

• City of Holyoke- Urban Forest Equity Plan Implementation

• City of Fall River- Fall River Urban Tree Canopy Expansion Initiative

• City of Haverhill- Investing in Haverhill’s Urban Forest with Equity and Resilience

• City of Lynn- Urban Forestry Fellowship: Supporting a Healthy Tree Canopy

• City of Quincy- Urban Forest Climate Resiliency & Equity Plan

• City of Watertown- Tree Planting

• Springfield Forestry Division- Springfield “Speaks for the Trees” Revitalizing Urban Tree Canopy in Underserved Communities

• Town of Southbridge- Implement an Urban and Community Forestry Program

The nine Massachusetts grant awards are part of more than $1 billion in funding the U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded to 385 applicants nationwide, which aims to advance priorities for statewide decarbonization and climate resilience.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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