For Immediate Release - November 16, 2009

Patrick-Murray Administration Announces $119,333 in Urban and Community Forestry Grants

In keeping with Governor Patrick's commitment to protect municipal open spaces, the Patrick-Murray Administration today announced nine grants to fund forestry and tree planting projects in communities across the state.

BOSTON - In keeping with Governor Patrick's commitment to protect municipal open spaces, the Patrick-Murray Administration today announced nine grants to fund forestry and tree planting projects in communities across the state including Worcester, where the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) infestation has led to the federally-mandated removal of 25,000 trees.

Funding for the nine Urban and Community Forestry Challenge Grants includes with $60,000 from the U.S. Forest Service and $53,800 from the Department of Conservation and Recreation's (DCR) MassReLeaf Trust. The trust - which is funded with private dollars - is designed to foster partnerships between business, government, and nonprofit groups for the planting and care of public trees. In addition to Worcester, grants were awarded for projects in Billerica, Boston, Hadley, North Andover, Norton, Seekonk, and communities on Upper Cape Cod.

The city of Worcester received a $30,000 grant - plus $30,000 in local matching funds - to replant 150 public shade trees lost due to the federally mandated tree removal of infested trees. The replacement trees will be planted within the core removal area of the ALB quarantine zone, focusing on the Greendale and Burncoat neighborhoods.

Today's grant announcement follows a meeting last week (11/16) between Governor Patrick and U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Vilsack about the status of the ALB eradication plan in Central Massachusetts. First spotted in August 2008, the insect has infested thousands of trees in the Worcester area. A team of federal and state officials, led by the USDA, supervised the removal of more than 25,000 trees - including infested trees and host trees in danger of infestation. Governor Patrick has asked the USDA for $30 million in emergency funding for surveying, chemical treatments and related efforts to prevent the ALB infestation from spreading.

"These funds were raised in partnership and come at a critical time," said Governor Patrick. "They are a welcome resource in our effort to restore the tree-lined character of these communities."

The Worcester project will assist in reforesting areas of Worcester affected by the USDA-led Asian Longhorned Beetle Cooperative Eradication Program, a partnership with DCR, the Department of Agriculture Resources (DAR), the city of Worcester, and the towns of Boylston, Holden, Shrewsbury, and West Boylston.

"As a resident of Worcester, I know the Asian longhorned beetle infestation has devastated many neighborhoods in the area," said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray. "With various communities in need of support for tree and forestry projects, I am glad we are able to partner with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide the Urban Forestry Challenge Grants and help restore the integrity of our greenery and landscapes in communities across the Commonwealth."

"The Asian longhorned beetle has destroyed tens of thousands of trees throughout the Worcester region," said Senator John Kerry. "Today's investment will allow us to replace those trees and begin rebuilding depleted areas."

"It is absolutely essential that the federal government continue to play a strong role in helping Central Massachusetts recover from the Asian Longhorn Beetle infestation," said Congressman James McGovern. "I will continue to work with state and local officials to make sure that restoring our urban forest is a high priority. I commend the Patrick-Murray Administration for their commitment to this issue."

"This grant will help dramatically improve the quality of life for residents of Worcester who have seen their neighborhoods and landscapes altered by the Asian Longhorned Beetle," said Senator Harriette L. Chandler.

"I am very pleased that this funding has been made available to help Worcester soldier through the ALB crisis," said Senator Michael Moore. "Throughout the area, entire neighborhoods have been shocked and saddened by the loss of hundreds of trees. This funding will help replace those that have been lost, and hopefully help these neighborhoods take big steps towards re-beautification."

"The allocation of these funds for reforestation efforts is great news for the City of Worcester and the neighborhoods that fell victim to the infestation of the Asian Longhorned Beetle," said Representative John J. Binienda. "The replanting of these trees will improve scenery, help the environment, increase property values, and improve the quality of life for residents."

"This matching grant is an essential tool to be used in eradicating the Asian longhorned beetle and revitalizing the once tree-lined streets in many of our city's neighborhoods," said Representative James O'Day. "I am especially grateful that this particular grant will go to replanting efforts in the Greendale and Burncoat neighborhoods in my district, which have lost a devastating number of trees."

The beetle is thought to have been introduced to the U.S. in New York in 1996 via wood packing material shipped from Asia. Governor Patrick declared August 2009 Asian Longhorned Beetle Awareness Month to educate the public about the impacts of the invasive species and the importance of reporting ALB sightings.

"This grant is a vital resource in the effort to restore the city of Worcester's landscape," said DAR Commissioner Scott Soares. "Not only do we need to replenish lost trees, but we need to continue the effort to ensure that every resident is aware of what is at stake and knows what to do to help eliminate this pest. This insect is both a threat to the environment and to the state's agricultural interests."

In addition to the Worcester project, the DCR awarded eight other Forestry Challenge Grants through its Urban and Community Forestry Program.

"We are very happy to be able to fund these important urban forestry programs across Massachusetts," said DCR Commissioner Richard K. Sullivan Jr. "I applaud the efforts of everyone involved to support, plant, manage, and maintain trees for the betterment of our urban environments."

The following projects also earned Urban Forestry Challenge Grants.

 

  • Town of Hadley: A $5,200 grant plus $5,200 in local matching funds to provide professional arboricultural care to the Heritage Trees lining West Street and on the West Street Common.

 

  • Charles River Watershed Association (Boston): A $27,000 grant plus $27,635 in local matching funds for the implementation of green infrastructure in the rehabilitated school yard of the German School on Everett Street in Allston-Brighton. The project will demonstrate the effectiveness of urban forestry for stormwater control, mitigation of heat island effect, and neighborhood improvement with green infrastructure.

 

  • Fenway Garden Society (Boston): A $3,332.50 grant plus $3,332.50 in local matching funds for professional arboricultural care of mature trees in the Back Bay Fens and to plant three new trees in accordance with Frederick Law Olmsted's original historic landscape plan.

 

  • The following five projects are funded from the Mass ReLeaf Trust Fund. The first four projects are funded by a donation from the National Grid Corporation. National Grid implemented an aggressive hazard tree removal program in many of its service communities to remove a significant number of public and private trees located near main power feeder lines. To mitigate the removal of public trees, National Grid donated $250,000 to fund grants in the affected communities. Under the program, communities are required to match 25 percent of the project funding. The fifth project is funded by a donation from the NStar Corporation. In 2008, NStar conducted a campaign to persuade its customers to switch from paper billing documents to an electronic "paperless" version of monthly billing forms as part of NStar's "Go Green" program. In June 2008, NStar donated $34,000 for every customer that made the switch.

 

  • Town of Norton: A $15,000 grant plus $3,750 in local matching funds to plant 31 trees along South Worcester Street.
  • o Town of Billerica: A $15,000 grant plus $8,250 in local matching funds to plant trees at various sites throughout the town.
  • o Town of North Andover: A $10,000 grant plus $5,000 in local matching funds to plant trees at various sites throughout the town.
  • o Town of Seekonk: A $10,000 grant plus $4,500 in local matching funds to plant trees at various sites throughout the town.
  • o Southeast Tree Warden's and Foresters Association: A $3,800 grant plus $11,400 in local matching funds to develop and implement a hazard tree inventory protocol and inventory program for NStar communities along the Route 6 corridor of upper Cape Cod.

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The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), an agency of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, oversees 450,000 acres of parks and forests, beaches, bike trails, watersheds, dams, and parkways. Led by Commissioner Richard K. Sullivan Jr., the agency's mission is to protect, promote, and enhance our common wealth of natural, cultural, and recreational resources. To learn more about DCR, our facilities, and our programs, please visit www.mass.gov/dcr. Contact us at mass.parks@state.ma.us.

 

The DAR's mission is to ensure the long-term viability of local agriculture in Massachusetts. Through its four divisions - Agricultural Development, Animal Health, Crop and Pest Services, and Technical Assistance - the DAR strives to support, regulate, and enhance the Commonwealth's agricultural community, working to promote economically and environmentally sound food safety and animal health measures, and fulfill agriculture's role in energy conservation and production.