USDA Commits $1 Billion to Enhance Urban Green Spaces for Public Health and Safety

USDA Commits $1 Billion to Enhance Urban Green Spaces for Public Health and Safety

Grants focus on improving access to nature in some of the nation's most populated communities.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Forest Service will award over $1 billion in competitive grants to all 50 states, the District of Columbia, two U.S. territories, three U.S. affiliated Pacific islands, and several tribes through the Urban and Community Forestry Program.

In a recent release, the USDA announced the initiative—which is supported by President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act—will distribute funding to 385 of the 842 projects that applied. The focus is on the planting and maintenance of trees, combatting extreme heat and climate change and improving access to nature in communities where more than 84 percent of Americans live.

“Today’s landmark funding from the U.S. Forest Service will increase urban access to nature, improve air quality, keep city streets cool during sweltering summers, tackle the climate crisis, and create safer, healthier communities in every corner of America,” John Podesta, senior advisor to the president for clean energy innovation and implementation, said in a statement. “That makes a huge difference for the grandmother who doesn’t have air conditioning, or the kid who has asthma, or the parent who works outside for ten hours a day. This investment will create not just greener cities—it will create healthier and more equitable cities.”

According to the USDA, this is the largest single USDA Inflation Reduction Act investment in urban and community forests. The Urban and Community Forestry Program is the only federal government program dedicated to U.S. urban forest resources. This initiative continues President Biden's Investing in America agenda, focusing on environmental justice and access.

About the Author

Robert Yaniz Jr. is the Content Editor for Environmental Protection.

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