Anyone who has sought the shade of a large tree during a hot, humid Michigan summer day can appreciate the value trees bring to a community. In many communities around our state, the number of mature trees in town has diminished due to Emerald Ash Borers, oak wilt, and several other pests and diseases.
Local governments often do not have the funds to replace those trees as quickly as needed. That’s where the Consumers Energy Street and Boulevard Tree Planting Grant program comes in. For qualified projects in areas with Consumers Energy electric service, local governments can receive up to $200 per tree to purchase up to 15 trees.
“This grant has helped us maintain our commitment to replacing trees that have been removed due to disease and many other causes,” says Dave Baily, certified arborist for the City of Muskegon Parks. “That commitment is important to us so we can keep a diverse urban forest as well as a healthy community.”
Grant proposals have to meet certain criteria. For example, proposed tress for a particular project need to be appropriate for the underground and above ground utilities nearby. Trees that are considered invasive species, like Black Locust, Tree of Heaven, Norway Maple, all varieties and cultivars Flowering Pear, all varieties and cultivars Black Alder, and Russian Olive are not eligible to be purchased using grant funds. The grants cover the cost of the trees, so many communities rely on volunteers to get the trees in the ground.
When they are planted, trees provide a wide range of benefits to the community. Trees help manage stormwater runoff, cool the air, reduce the effects of car pollution and improve air quality.
Some of the communities that received grants in 2021 include:
- Lake Odessa
- Big Rapids
- East Tawas
- Mt. Pleasant
- Tawas City
- White Cloud
For more on how Consumers Energy invests in the communities we serve, visit https://www.consumersenergy.com/community/foundation