DNR Opens Applications for Largest Urban and Community Forestry Grant Funding Cycle in Agency History
News Date: 
December 6, 2021
   

Grant applications being accepted to help communities across the state increase the health of urban and community forests

 
The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Urban and Community Forestry Program (UCF) began accepting applications today for grant funding to help improve urban forests in the Evergreen State.
 
Applications are due by 4 p.m. local time on March 4, 2022. Projects must be completed by June 1, 2023.
 
The grants are available to support a wide variety of projects and resources that will help create healthier communities. The total funding amount available this year is $550,000 – the largest amount offered by UCF for a single grant cycle. Washington DNR awarded seven UCF grants totaling $82,236 for the 2021-2022 grant cycle.
 
The increased funding is a result of House Bill 1216, which the Washington State Legislature passed earlier this year to resurrect the Evergreen Communities Act and enable UCF to expand the scope and scale at which it provides assistance to communities across Washington.
 
“Not only is this the largest pool of grant dollars our program has ever offered,” said UCF Program Manager Ben Thompson, UCF Program Manager, “we have raised the maximum request to $40,000 per project, reduced the match requirement for projects benefitting highly impacted communities, expanded the overall scope of what can be funded and streamlined the application process. We are eager to fund projects to equip communities with the tools they need to be responsible stewards of their urban tree landscapes. If your community might benefit from this financial assistance, this is the year to apply.”
 
House Bill 1216 requires UCF to obligate 50 percent of its grant funding to highly impacted communities – cities, counties or tribal lands with census blocks that score an eight or more on the Washington Environmental Health Disparities Map. The remaining funds can be awarded to jurisdictions scoring lower on the map. Those applicants will be asked to consider health disparities that may exist in their communities when preparing their applications.
 
Preserving and restoring urban forestry through an equity lens is also at the core of the Keep Washington Evergreen initiative Commissioner Franz unveiled last week at the Webster Forestry Nursery in Olympia.
 
Examples of recent projects to receive UCF grant awards include restoration of Hilltop Park in Burien and the Urban Forestry SpoCanopy Program in Spokane. Projects eligible for funding range from tree inventories and urban canopy assessments to tree plantings and community outreach. A full list of qualifying projects can be found within the grant application, which can be downloaded at www.dnr.wa.gov/urbanforestry
 
The DNR Urban and Community Forestry Program will host an hour-long online information session at 9 a.m. on Thursday, Dec 16. Email daria.gosztyla@dnr.wa.gov to register.
 
For more information about the DNR Urban and Community Forestry Program, please contact Ben Thompson, DNR Urban & Community Forestry Program Manager at 360-485-8651 or ben.thompson@dnr.wa.gov
 
###
 
MEDIA CONTACTS
Will Rubin
Communications Manager
Cell: 360-764-0854
 
Janet Pearce
Communications Manager
Cell: 360-688-3047