CUYAHOGA COUNTY, OH – Cuyahoga County launched its fourth round of the Healthy Urban Tree Canopy Grant Program (HUTC) this month, which supports communities in the planting of thousands of trees across Cuyahoga County.
This grant program was created in 2019 to align with the County’s Climate Change Action Plan released that same year. The program initiated an annual contribution of $1 million for five years to revitalize the tree canopy in Cuyahoga County.
The County’s 2019 Urban Tree Canopy Assessment showed slightly more than 96,000 acres (34.7 percent) of all land in Cuyahoga County as tree canopy, with an additional 371,000 acres being available for tree canopy. Since the first round of grants, 37 applicants from 22 municipalities were awarded funds for 78 tree projects resulting in 21 tree plans, investment in two new tree nurseries in Cuyahoga County, and more than 6,750 trees planted.
The fourth round of grants continues to support the implementation of community urban forestry plans, expand the tree canopy through community reforestation projects and implement high impact reforestation projects. Implementation Projects, which include the physical planting of trees, especially in vacant and open parcels, must be a component of every funded project. The Healthy Urban Tree Canopy Grant Program gathers data about each project and monitors its success to better inform project selection and funding for each successive year of grant funding.
“The HUTC Grant Program is one of the best ways to encourage our communities to grow and enhance their tree canopies,” said County Executive Chris Ronayne. “Planting trees is one of the easiest ways to beautify a community and have a positive impact on the environment. We are excited to roll out another year of this grant program and encourage communities and non-profits to apply.”
Partners on the Health Urban Tree Canopy Grant Program include the County Planning Commission, the Cuyahoga Soil and Water Conservation District, and the Cuyahoga County Board of Health.
“Cuyahoga County communities are focusing on healthy and sustainable initiatives; including attainment of air quality standards, stormwater management, energy use, economic development, and planned growth—all of which are related to ecosystem health and the region’s tree canopy,” said Cuyahoga County Planning Commission Executive Director Mary Cierebiej. “The Healthy Urban Tree Canopy Program provides a critical investment to protect, preserve, and regrow this essential resource.”
Applications are available now and due on June 8, 2023. Applications can be found on the County Planning Commission website. Interested applicants are encouraged to register for the free applicant webinar on May 4, 2023 at 10:00 a.m.