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Worcester Receives $400K Reforestation Grant

Tree Replanting in WorcesterThe Patrick Administration today announced a $450,000 Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) grant to support reforestation in the city of Worcester after the Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB) infestation devastated much of the landscape. The funds will be used to replant 900 trees in Asian Longhorned Beetle infestation areas.

“The landscape across Worcester was devastated by the infestation of the Asian Longhorned Beetle,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan. “The Patrick Administration has worked closely with Congressman McGovern and the state legislative delegation to combat the ALB. This reforestation grant will help to rebuild a tree canopy that was decimated by these invasive pests.”

“This funding will play a vital role in the continued effort to restore Worcester’s urban forest,” said Congressman Jim McGovern. “We are seeing the fruits of an unprecedented 5 year public/private partnership between federal, state, and local governments in tandem with the Worcester Tree Initiative and local corporate partners that has created a new paradigm for other states and regions to deal with similar tragedies. We have aggressively moved to eradicate the beetle, while simultaneously working to plant 30,000 new trees—more than we’ve lost.”

“DCR is pleased to have the opportunity to assist a community that was hit hard by the Asian Longhorn Beetle infestation,” said DCR Commissioner Murray. “Our agency’s Bureau of Forestry will continue to work with communities across the Commonwealth to help prevent infestation of invasive species.”

Reforestation efforts will be focused along public ways, within public parks, cemeteries and other public areas where trees were removed as part of the ALB eradication effort. A portion of this funding will also go to the Worcester Tree Initiative for tree giveaways in the impacted areas. The grant, funded through DCR’s Capital Plan, will primarily be managed by the City of Worcester’s Department of Public Works and Parks.

Since 2008, the Patrick Administration has awarded nearly $1.3 million to the communities impacted by the infestation for eradication and tree planting. ALB teams at municipal, state and federal levels have removed 32,012 neighborhood trees and replanted 19,852 trees across Worcester, Shrewsbury, Holden, West Boylston, Boylston, and Auburn, with the goal of replanting 30,000 trees. This partnership has also helped to raise awareness and educate residents to identify the ALB.

There are 3.2 million acres of privately owned forest land in Massachusetts and over 300,000 acres of DCR forests and parks. Municipal watershed lands cover 245,000 acres and there are 351 municipalities with associated urban trees and forests. The DCR Bureau of Forestry serves all of these owners and the forest they care for through various programs including the Urban and Community Forestry Program, the Forest Legacy Program, the Forest Health Program, and the Service Forestry Program.

Link to full DCR press release.
(Photo by Eric Seaborn)

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