August 14, 2023
By Emily Ball, Forestry Program Manager, WSB
The Minnesota DNR has announced two forestry grants available for urban & community forestry activities. Neither grant requires a match, in fact you aren’t even encouraged to provide match information, which is new this year and a great time saver when it comes to reporting. Each grant is up to $500,000, with no minimum request and covers different activities.
Eligible applicants include non-profit organizations with 501(c)(3) status and local units of government in Minnesota, including cities, counties, regional authorities, joint powers boards, towns and tribal. Parks and recreation boards in cities of the first class are also eligible to apply. Unfortunately, funding is not available through these grants for school districts. Like previous grants, there is a list of five criteria that applicants will obtain extra points for meeting, such as using credentialed staff or consultants, benefiting underserved populations and areas of concern for environmental justice, communities with populations under 20,000, prioritizing EAB, and maintaining or increasing tree canopy cover.
The first grant is through ReLeaf funding. This grant covers a long list of activities. Injections and removal/replacement of ash trees is included, but also more activities than just EAB, such as maintenance pruning. Through this grant for the first time, cities can apply for funding to help their low-income residential property owners with tree work. Additionally, grant funding can cover staff time, which is a new feature.
The second grant is through Shade tree program bonding and the emphasis is primarily tree removal and stump grinding to make space for new trees to be planted. New this year, if you are removing infested ash in wooded areas, you will not be required to replant 1:1.
Here is a break down on each grant with examples of what they cover, and details on when applications are due. Both grants will go through 2027.
ReLeaf community forestry grants, 2023-2027 – $6.883 million in grants for local units of government and non-profit organizations in Minnesota that encourage and promote the inventory, planting, assessment, maintenance, treatment, improvement, protection and restoration of trees and forest resources to enhance community forest health and sustainability, reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and promote energy conservation.
Deadline: September 18, 2023.
Shade tree program bonding grants, 2023-2027 – $10.063 million in grants for local units of government in Minnesota that are planning to replace trees lost to forest pests, disease, or storm; or to establish a more diverse community forest better able to withstand disease and forest pests.
Deadline: October 2, 2023.
DNR staff offered a webinar, and the recording is now online. There are still two opportunities to attend sessions to learn more on 8/15 in Marshall and one on 8/16 in St. Paul. For more about the grants, and to learn about the listening sessions: Community forestry | Minnesota DNR (state.mn.us) If you would like assistance with formulating a grant project, acquiring estimates for work and writing a grant, please contact Emily Ball, Forestry Program Manager at [email protected] or 651-318-9945. Emily is an ISA Certified Arborist (#4284A) and has had extensive experience applying for grants like these in her city forester roles with Minnetonka and Lakeville. She is already working with several cities to target their grant applications strategically.
Emily is a ISA Certified Arborist, MN Tree Inspector that brings 20 years of experience, primarily in community forestry. She has extensive experience in contract administration, management of staff, AmeriCorps members and contractors, budget and grant management, plan review, tree health and condition inspections, outreach and education. She works closely with partner organizations, staff, and the community to educate, manage natural resources and provide excellent customer service.
[email protected] | 651.318.9945