USDA Grant Funds Tree Restoration in Disadvantaged Neighborhoods

Published on July 10, 2024

Communi-Tree Map

The City of Sioux Falls announced the Communi-Tree Program, a new initiative funded by a $3 million grant from the USDA Forest Service. This five-year program focuses on increasing restoring trees in disadvantaged neighborhoods throughout Sioux Falls that were lost to Emerald Ash Borer (EAB).

The program aims to plant 2,500 new trees on the street right-of-way at no cost to the property owner. The City will prioritize planting a diverse range of trees and will maintain them for the first two critical growing seasons to ensure their survival. It targets disadvantaged neighborhoods identified through qualified census tract data, encompassing roughly 24,000 households across 25 square miles.

“The Emerald Ash Borer has significantly impacted our city’s urban forest, and disadvantaged neighborhoods have borne the brunt of this issue,” says Bryan Peterson, Urban Forestry Specialist with Sioux Falls Parks and Recreation. “The Communi-Tree Program directly addresses this disparity by restoring tree cover where residents may need assistance.”

Various residents in qualified areas will be contacted for an opportunity to have a tree planted on the street right-of-way between 2025 and 2027, with the program wrapping up in 2028 after final tree maintenance and assessment.

“Planting trees is an investment in our city’s health and well-being,” says Peterson. “Studies show that trees in communities are linked to improved physical and mental health, lower temperatures during extreme heat and even new economic opportunities.”

Throughout the program, Sioux Falls Parks and Recreation will provide educational materials to residents about the importance of tree care and the benefits trees bring to our community.

For more information on the grant program, visit the Urban and Community Forestry Program webpage.


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