Manchester Receives $2.2 Million USDA Grant for Urban Forestry Project

People sitting and walking along a treelined street

September 14, 2023 (MANCHESTER, NH) – In collaboration with Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) and The Nature Conservancy in New Hampshire (TNC), the City of Manchester is thrilled to announce the receipt of a substantial $2.2 million grant from the Urban and Community Forestry Program through the U.S. Forest Service. 

“This significant investment will help create a more equitable and sustainable future for our community, one tree at a time with these trees promoting cleaner air, much-needed shade, enhanced overall well-being, and more,” said Mayor Joyce Craig. “This grant effort is an example of the importance of strong relationships between federal, local, and community partners as we seized on this opportunity to deliver on our shared goal to support Manchester neighborhoods. I’m deeply appreciative of the support provided by our federal delegation, the USDA Urban Forestry program, the Conservation Law Foundation, and The Nature Conservancy throughout this process and look forward to our continued partnership as we work to grow our city and improve the lives of Manchester residents.”

“This is a game-changer for Manchester,” said Mark Gomez, whose Parks, Recreation & Cemetery Division oversees the City’s urban forestry unit. “We are ecstatic about what this means for quality of life in Manchester and the healthy expansion of our tree canopy.”

“This award is a testament to the commitment of Manchester to create a more equitable and sustainable urban environment,” said CLF Environmental Justice Advocate Arnold Mikolo. “Urban forests provide critical shade during heatwaves, help control stormwater, and provide a habitat for animals. By maximizing community access to these benefits, this initiative promises to transform the quality of life for residents and enhance the city’s ecological and economic sustainability for years to come.”

“This transformational project will use nature as a tool to start to re-balance the historical inequities caused by polluted water and air, and extreme heat,” said TNC’s Climate Adaptation Manager Matthew Thorne. We are proud to stand with the City of Manchester in this massive step towards leveraging the power of trees and urban forests for the health of people and wildlife in northern New England’s most populated city. It is also smart economics and we look forward to seeing the workforce opportunities created through this exciting project.”

Key Components of the Project Include:

  1. Tree Planting & Maintenance: The grant will fund the planting and maintenance of trees throughout Manchester’s disadvantaged neighborhoods, promoting cleaner air, improved aesthetics, and enhanced overall well-being for residents.

  2. Restoration & Resilience: Manchester will undertake extensive efforts to restore and fortify its urban forests against environmental challenges, such as extreme weather events, ensuring the longevity and vitality of the city’s green spaces.

  3. Workforce Development: This initiative will create employment opportunities and workforce development programs, fostering skill-building and job opportunities for community members in the field of urban forestry.

  4. Planning & Community Engagement: The project emphasizes community involvement in decision-making processes related to urban forestry. Residents will have the opportunity to contribute to the planning and implementation of tree-planting initiatives in their neighborhoods.

  5. Extreme Heat Mitigation: The project will actively address the growing concern of extreme heat in urban areas by strategically planting trees to provide shade and reduce heat island effects, making Manchester a cooler and more comfortable place to live.

Experts are available for further comment.