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Funding allows communities to plant thousands of trees statewide

Michelle Stoll

RICHMOND

More than 3,400 trees will be planted across Virginia thanks to the teamwork of the Virginia Department of Forestry, the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, U.S. Forest Service Chesapeake Watershed Forestry program, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation and Altria Co.

VDOF awarded $99,000 statewide through the Virginia Trees for Clean Water program and partnered with the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, who contributed $25,000 for projects in the Richmond metro area. Grant recipients will match the grant funds with an estimated $212,663 in the form of volunteer hours, cash or in kind services.

VTCW grants focus on developing vibrant, healthy urban forests and improving water quality by planting trees where they are needed most. Projects include tree planting activities of all types: riparian buffer tree planting, community and neighborhood tree plantings etc.

“The objective is to use on-the-ground accomplishments to obtain clean water in Virginia,” explained VDOF Urban and Community Forestry Coordinator Barbara White. “Successful projects do this by restoring and improving Virginia’s waters for current and future generations, demonstrating long-term water quality improvement through long-lived tree cover and public involvement and raising public awareness about the connection between planting trees and healthy streams and rivers.”

Nineteen organizations have been awarded funding including four projects in the Richmond-metro area thanks to this joint effort. Many of these projects involve a large number of community groups and volunteer organizations that will assist with planting and long-term care of the trees.

The Virginia Department of Forestry protects and develops healthy, sustainable forest resources for Virginians. Headquartered in Charlottesville, the Agency has forestry staff members assigned to every county to provide citizen service and public safety protection across the Commonwealth, which it’s been doing now for more than 100 years. VDOF is an equal opportunity provider.

With nearly 16 million acres of forestland and more than 108,000 Virginians employed in forestry, forest products and related industries, Virginia forests provide an overall economic output of more than $21 billion annually.

MICHELLE STOLL is a contact for the Virginia Department of Forestry. Call 434-220-9098 or email michelle.stoll@dof.virginia.gov.