While summer is a season for quite a lot of field-based urban forestry work, it is also the season when many managers begin to dig into budgeting activities for the upcoming year. Budgeting is made easier when you have a plan in place, ideally, a city-wide tree management plan that directs near-term and future actions.

A plan takes a lot of the guesswork out of budget development, since it clearly lays out a timeline for pre-determined actions necessary to maintaining a healthy, resilient, benefit-providing community forest. It provides a defensible basis for budget requests, and can lead to long-term program sustainability. Proactive rather than reactive planning is not only cost effective, but helps to reduce risk to property and human safety, by planning tree inspections and follow-up maintenance, for example.

Another benefit of having a plan in place is that it positions a community to be ready for funding opportunities when they become available. Requests for grant proposals can have quick turn-arounds, but when ideas for projects have been pre-planned and are poised on the edge of implementation, you have a head start in filling out the grant application.

The UCF program is expecting to announce two grant opportunities this fall. One will focuses on the development of urban forestry management tools or implementation of community forestry-related projects which may not otherwise receive local funding. The other will focus on collaboration and engagement of residents in urban areas who may be disproportionately affected by adverse environmental conditions. Funding requests may be a minimum of $5000 up to $20,000. Both grants require match.

Watch for more detail about the 2020 grant request for proposals. We will formally announce the opportunity in the October edition of Tree Link. In the meantime, start thinking about and planning for projects that will help to advance your community’s urban forestry program.

By Linden J. Lampman, program manager, DNR Urban and Community Forestry Program