Rep. Castor Announces $1M Federal Grant to Plant Trees and Combat Extreme Heat in the City of Tampa
Tampa, September 14, 2023
TAMPA, FL – U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (FL-14) today announced a $1 million federal grant through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Urban and Community Forestry initiative for the City of Tampa to plant and maintain trees, combat extreme heat, and improve access to natural areas.
“Tampa Bay residents are living through the hottest year on record. We need more trees and shade to protect us from extreme heat,” said Castor. “This investment in our neighborhoods is made possible by the Inflation Reduction Act and will help the City of Tampa plant trees, improve air quality, help keep our streets cooler and make our communities healthier.”
“This is a huge win for Tampa residents and our cherished tree canopy. We worked hard for this grant and are enormously grateful to the Biden-Harris administration because it will go a long way to help us meet our goal of adding 30,000 trees to Tampa by 2030. Great cities have great tree canopies,” said Mayor Jane Castor.
This is an important step in improving Tampa Bay’s tree canopy, which has shrunk significantly in recent years, due in part to anti-environment policies at the state level. Notably, Governor DeSantis in 2019 signed a law limiting local governments’ power to set rules about tree removals. The law was tweaked in 2022 but still remains a major hurdle for municipalities aiming to safeguard Florida’s urban trees and forests.
The Forest Service awarded $1 billion in competitive grants, selecting 385 grant proposals from entities working to increase equitable access to trees and nature, and the benefits they provide for cooling city streets, improving air quality, and promoting food security, public health and safety. In total, the Forest Service received 842 applications requesting a total of $6.4 billion in funding, an indication of the urgent nationwide need to plant and maintain more urban trees. The funding was granted to entities in all 50 states, two U.S. territories, three U.S. affiliated Pacific islands, and several Tribes through the Forest Service's Urban and Community Forestry Program.