On Thursday, the United States Department of Agriculture announced that the Biden administration will fund 385 environmental projects with more than $1 billion in awards.
The primary goal of these grants is to increase national tree cover so that more people in more places can reap the advantages of these initiatives.
Trees “mitigate excessive heat” by providing shade, conserving energy, absorbing stormwater, making space for wildlife, and filtering air and water.
Tribal communities, community groups, NGOs, academic institutions, and municipal, county, and state governments could apply for grants.
According to a data sheet, the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 would distribute at least $1.5 billion, of which $1.13 billion will come from grants.
All 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Palau, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Federated States of Micronesia have projects that received funding.
Ninety percent of the 385 funded projects will be for planting and maintaining trees and other vegetation to make communities more resilient against weather events, and 43% will be planting trees as a way of counterbalancing heat in urban areas.
According to a Forest Service fact sheet, trees in cities have a positive effect on people’s health.
The data sheet said towns with a tree canopy have ambient temperatures 11 to 19 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than those without a tree canopy.
Department officials also said the trees will increase local property prices and create new employment opportunities.
According to a USDA press release, the US Forest Service has received 842 applications seeking $6.4 billion in financing.
Cities around the country are experiencing record-breaking heat waves, which have severe consequences for public health, energy consumption, and general well-being, and these investments have finally arrived. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack stated how the country is helping communities adapt to climate change and fight excessive heat by increasing city tree cover.