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DNR receives grant to help communities recover from ash borer

Indiana communities in the Great Lakes watershed can apply to receive portions of $100,000 in federal grant money to use for tree-planting projects to improve water quality.

Planting trees will help mitigate the communities’ loss of trees affected by the emerald ash borer insect (EAB), according to Carrie Tauscher, director of the DNR Division of Forestry’s Community and Urban Forestry program, which received and will distribute the grant.

The grant is part of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), a cooperative effort between federal, tribal, state and local partners aimed at improving water quality. The project is funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and administered by the Forest Service. It supports local efforts to improve the collection, storage, infiltration, and evaporation of rainfall and storm water.

Planting trees reduces flooding and storm water overflows that cause raw sewage to enter waterways.

“Even in its first year after planting, a young 3-inch tree can intercept around 400 gallons of storm water,” Tauscher said. “Imagine planting 800 trees. That is 320,000 gallons of storm water intercepted by the trees.”

Tauscher said she hoped to begin accepting applications in late winter or spring.

The EAB grant was one of two GLRI grants awarded to DNR. Another, announced last week, will provide $35,000 to replant trees in the Indiana Dunes State Park campground. Planting will likely take place in spring 2015.

People interested in receiving information on DNR urban forestry grants, including the GLRI funds can subscribe to the grants information listserve. To subscribe, go to dnr.IN.gov/forestry and click on the red envelope icon on the left side of the webpage. Entering your email will take you to a second webpage where you can subscribe for “Urban Forestry: Grants Information.”