The Biden administration plans to increase access to nature for disadvantaged communities through a major infusion of money to state and territory forestry agencies.
The Forest Service's Urban and Community Forestry Program is administering the $1 billion initiative, funded from the Inflation Reduction Act.
The funding will “increase equitable access to trees and green spaces in urban and community forests where more than 84% of Americans live, work and play,” USDA said in a news release. Increased tree cover can provide environmental, health, economic and ecological benefits to urban areas.
States and territories are eligible for up to $250 million to serve disadvantaged communities. The funding will be disbursed through state and territory-led sub-grant programs that support access to trees and green spaces.
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California is getting the largest amount, $43.2 million, followed by Texas at $21.8 million, Illinois ($11.9 million), New York ($13.5 million) and New Jersey, $11.3 million.
“Whether it’s reducing heat stress or creating jobs in tree-planting and maintenance,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, “this grant funding will support local communities and partners who are working on the ground to advance environmental justice by mitigating the impact of climate change on communities who lack tree cover in urban spaces while giving kids more safe spaces to play outdoors.”
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