Rhinelander receives Urban Forestry grant
For the Star Journal
The Rhinelander Tree Board has received a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Urban Forestry grant totaling $25,000.
“Urban trees clean the air we breathe and the water we drink, they cool our homes in summer and increase our property values and they provide homes for urban wildlife,” said city forester Tom Jerow. “Most importantly they improve our sense of place making Rhinelander a more attractive place to live and recreate.”
The funding, to be matched by city of Rhinelander funds, is to be spent in 2023. According to a press release from the city, the grant will support several initiatives, including a city-wide tree inventory and management plan and planting trees on city property in boulevards, parks and Forest Home Cemetery.
Many past street projects eliminated boulevards to make room for bike lanes and other street improvements, and left no room to replace the trees that lined many city streets and sidewalks. To remedy that, the Tree Board is offering a 50% discount on trees to homeowners who plant a tree in their front yard.
“The city and the homeowner will both benefit from the replacement of these trees on their private property,” Jerow said.
The homeowner’s expense is expected to be $30-$50. More detailed information about how to qualify for the program is available at the city clerk’s office or by contacting the city forester. Deadline for order trees is April 21, 2023.
Kelli Tuttle, a consulting forester of Bluestem Forestry, in conjunction with the Tree Board will conduct a city-wide public tree inventory early in 2023, which will include tree health assessments and hazard tree identification. The inventory will be summarized into a GIS database to allow for spatial planning and continuous updates. Bluestem Forestry will also be preparing a tree management plan for the city, including recommendations for planting, species selection, pruning, and hazard tree removal.
Grant funding will be used for annual tree maintenance and additional planting. Approximately 100 trees will be planted in 2023. In the past zero to 30 trees were planted per year. Grant-supported activities include watering and pruning newly planted city owned trees, removing hazard trees, and planting approximately 50 new bare-root trees strategically placed on city properties.
“It is critically important to plant a diversity of trees to avoid diseases and to plant the right tree in the right place to avoid utilities and other city infrastructure,” said Jerow
Finally, the Rhinelander Tree Board is still soliciting donations to establish the Rhinelander Urban Forestry Fund within the Rhinelander Community Foundation. The Tree Board is close to reaching its $10,000 goal needed to establish the fund. Once established all future donations will be tax deductible. The Urban Forestry Fund will support the continual restoration, planting, and management of urban trees on public spaces in Rhinelander. The fund will make it possible for members of the public to honor a loved one with a donation to plant a tree. Donations toward the establishment of the Rhinelander Urban Forestry Fund can be made by contacting the city forester at 715-401-1578 or [email protected].