116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — The city of Cedar Rapids, which lost nearly 70 percent of its tree canopy in the August 2020 derecho, has been awarded more than one-fifth of the derecho forestry grants made by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to help replace trees on public lands.
Cedar Rapids and 65 other projects across 19 of the 27 counties included in the Governor’s Derecho Disaster Proclamation have been awarded funds from the department’s Derecho Community Forestry Grant Program to purchase and plant trees to help replace those lost when hurricane-force winds up to 140 mph whipped across the state Aug. 10, 2020. The storm also damaged homes, businesses and vehicles as well as crops.
The grants will help communities replace some of the 2.7 million trees impacted in rural areas and another 4.4 million trees that were damaged or destroyed in urban areas, according to the Iowa DNR. Award recipients are required to provide a dollar-for-dollar match for purchase of trees and materials from Iowa businesses.
Eleven projects in Cedar Rapids were each awarded $5,000 for a total of $55,000 of the $250,000 appropriated by the Iowa Legislature earlier this year for community-based tree-planting programs to help recover from the derecho. All $250,000 available funds were awarded.
The Iowa DNR estimates Cedar Rapids lost 669,000 mature trees.
The community with the second-largest grant awards was Belle Plaine in Benton County, where three entities received a total of $15,000 and a fourth was partially funded at $2,200.
Marion, Springville and the Linn County Conservation Board each received $5,000 and Trees Forever — a nonprofit based in Marion that is working with Cedar Rapids to replace trees — was awarded $3,825. More than 284,000 trees were impacted in Linn County outside of Cedar Rapids, according to the state.
Iowa City, Coralville and North Liberty each received $5,000 and the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics was awarded $2,608.
The Iowa DNR estimates that the grants will fund the purchase and planting of 2,484 trees in the 19 counties hardest hit by the derecho.
A U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service study found that a large tree planted in the Midwest will provide $3,790 in environmental, economic, health and other benefits over its lifetime.
The Derecho Community Forestry Grant Program provides reimbursable grants ranging from $500 to $5,000 to be used to purchase and plant trees suitable to Iowa on publicly owned lands. Qualifying public planting lands include street right-of-ways, parks, school grounds, courthouse lawns, public buildings, fairgrounds, cemeteries, libraries and trails.
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