The United States Forest Service has awarded the City of Dubuque an Urban and Community Forestry Grant totaling just less than $1.5 million dollars, which will provide funding for the installation of 6,600 new trees in the community over the next five years.
The tree planting would increase Dubuque’s overall tree canopy cover from 26.2 percent to 40 percent, as part of Dubuque’s Climate Action Plan. The project also intends to reduce identified urban heat islands and stormwater runoff while improving air quality.
As part of the Branching Out Dubuque project, the City will launch targeted tree planting in disadvantaged Census tract areas, including the Washington neighborhood, Point neighborhood, North End, and West End. The trees will be placed across both public areas and private property. The City will partner with Dubuque Trees Forever to communicate with residents in those areas about the opportunity to have a tree planted in their yard.
Residential property owners in the project zone will have the chance to opt-in to the free tree planting program as well. Businesses in the area will also be incentivized to plant and grow trees on their properties, with some free trees being set aside for commercial property owners who exceed planting requirements.
Approximately 1,300 trees will be planted and mulched each year over the next five years, until a total of 6,600 plantings are completed. A diverse selection of tree types will be available to ensure their survival, good growth, and viability.
Dubuque Trees Forever members, civic organizations, and other volunteers will help support the tree installations. The City plans to partner with the Teen Resiliency Corps to hire underserved youths to support the maintenance of the trees, including pruning and watering. These jobs will engage the Teen Resiliency Corps members in meaningful service, environmental stewardship, and leadership development.
Dubuque is one of nearly 400 communities to receive a total of $1 billion in Urban and Community Forestry Grants for 2023.