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Baldwin Secures $13.5 Million to Fight Climate Change, Expand Access to Green Space, and Create Healthier Communities

Baldwin-backed Inflation Reduction Act funding will plant and manage trees and create pathways for careers in tree maintenance in Milwaukee and Dane County

WISCONSIN – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) today announced that Wisconsin will receive a total of $13.5 million in Inflation Reduction Act funding she helped deliver to support two projects to combat climate change, expand access to green spaces, and create healthier communities in the City of Milwaukee and Dane County. The funding comes through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service’s Urban and Community Forestry Program, which awards competitive grants to combat extreme heat and climate change and improve access to nature.

“Wisconsinites are feeling the impacts of climate change, from extreme heat to increased flooding, and we need to take action to preserve our way of life, economy, and wellbeing,” said Senator Baldwin. “I am proud that our Inflation Reduction Act is making investments in every corner of our state to help fight climate change, keep Wisconsinites healthy, and create more opportunities for Wisconsinites in family-supporting careers."

The City of Milwaukee and Dane County were awarded a total of $13.5 million for projects that will help plant trees, expand green spaces, and strengthen the pipeline of professionals entering urban forestry.

The City of Milwaukee received $12 million for their project, Growing Milwaukee's Tree Canopy and Community Resilience, to coordinate local government agencies and community-based organizations in urban greening activities, the majority of which will be conducted in disadvantaged areas. These activities include tree maintenance and hazardous tree removal, tree planting and asphalt depaving, public outreach and education, and workforce development.

Dane County was awarded $1.5 million for the Equitable Forestry Stabilization Management and Forestry Career Pathways Program. This initiative will expand tree planting and maintenance in economically disadvantaged parts of Dane County to improve equitable access to urban tree amenities and inter-municipal and community coordination on tree related goals. The funding will allow Dane County to create new project positions, annual limited term employees, and contract with Operation Fresh Start to add a youth Tree Crew from underrepresented areas.         

“The City of Milwaukee has a long history of supporting urban forestry, and today the need for increased tree canopy only grows as we work to build climate resilience in the face of higher temperatures and more frequent, severe rain events,” said Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson. “The Growing Milwaukee’s Tree Canopy and Community Resilience Program addresses the city’s tree equity disparities through an exceptional multi-partner collaboration between the U.S Department of Agriculture Forest Service, City of Milwaukee Forestry Services and Environmental Collaboration Office, Milwaukee County Parks, Milwaukee Public Schools, and the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District. We will be increasing access to nature in the city through increased planting and maintenance of trees, depaving schoolyards and businesses, coordinating outreach and education events, and growing the urban forestry workforce.”

Studies show that trees in communities are associated with improved physical and mental health, lower average temperatures during extreme heat, and increased food security, and create new economic opportunities.

More information about this announcement can be found here.