Denver, Aurora among Colorado cities receiving money for tree canopies

Eight Colorado cities — including the state’s three most populated — will share $22.2 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for tree planting and other programs that increase access to green space, particularly in underserved communities.

The USDA announced the distribution of more than $1 billion for 385 projects in cities, territories and tribal lands across the country, using forestry program funding provided by the federal Inflation Reduction Act. The 2022 law was touted as the largest climate investment in U.S. history.

Colorado cities received these grants: $9 million to Colorado Springs, $5 million each to Aurora and Denver, $1 million to Monte Vista, $689,134 to Greeley, $669,073 to Wheat Ridge, $600,000 to Glenwood Springs and $230,000 to Westminster.

Colorado Springs intends to use the money for a project that would improve its urban forest, focusing on restoring tree health and boosting the tree canopy in neighborhoods and parks that have been historically disadvantaged.

Denver plans to expand a community tree planting initiative, which will expand the tree canopy in neighborhoods that don’t have as much cover, making them heat-vulnerable. It also plans to increase tree planting in underserved communities.

Aurora plans to reinvest in the city’s urban canopy, focusing on neighborhoods with large immigrant and refugee communities. The city also will partner with nonprofits that work with people who are homeless and transitioning into jobs and housing.

“We are committed to connecting all our residents to their urban forest and want to ensure that we are providing accessible services and education to all our underserved neighborhoods who have limited access to green spaces, parks and trees,” Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman said in a statement.

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