Petaluma Canopy Project Receives Grant Award
PRESS RELEASE – September 25, 2023
The City of Petaluma is thrilled to announce a $1 million grant award from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to greatly expand our urban tree canopy over the next four years.
The Petaluma Canopy project is a partnership between six government and nonprofit entities: the City of Petaluma’s Public Works & Utilities, Parks & Recreation, Community Development Departments and City Manager’s Office, ReLeaf Petaluma, Daily Acts, Rebuilding Together Petaluma, Point Blue Conservation, and Cool Petaluma. Together, these organizations will be working to greatly expand our city’s tree canopy cover by planting thousands of native trees throughout the city.
Our shovel-ready project includes a strategy to plant trees around parks, schools, residential areas, and our riverbank, with the aim of restoring native species like live oaks. The canopy project prioritizes areas where Petaluma’s low-income residents live and gather, which typically have fewer trees than other parts of the City. With the help of volunteers from all six applicant organizations, our massive canopy boost will make life healthier, greener, and more beautiful for all of Petaluma.
By increasing Petaluma’s tree canopy, this project will have a significant impact on our climate resilience and on public health. Trees reduce the presence of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and decrease noise, water, and air pollution by acting as filters for toxins in the environment. The presence of shade trees helps keep the temperature lower in built-up urban areas, which subsequently decreases the need for energy consumption in the form of air conditioners and fans. In addition, tree canopies provide substantial health benefits to residents. According to the World Economic Forum, “…people living in cities with a substantial tree cover possess better health immunity. Trees boost blood circulation, oxygen levels and lessen blood pressure and anxiety; biochemicals released from trees as an aerosol mist contain antibiotic, antifungal and anti-rheumatic properties.” An investment in our tree canopy is an investment in Petalumans.
City Manager Peggy Flynn notes that projects like Petaluma Canopy would not be possible without our ability to leverage funds from Measure U, the voter-approved sales tax measure that is funding significant investments across our City. “Measure U shows that Petalumans are willing to invest in their own community,” Flynn says. “When larger government organizations like the USDA award funding to local projects, they want to feel confident that Cities will be able to finish what they start. Because of Measure U, Petaluma’s grant applications have become exponentially more successful, as we are able to demonstrate the financial resources that make big ideas come to life.”
Since mid-2021, we have been awarded over $50m in grant funds for a variety of capital projects and programs. This would not have been possible without Measure U and the additional resources it brings to the table – including funding and staffing, both which are necessary to research, apply for, and move grant funded projects and programs forward. The City will continue to find ways to leverage our residents’ tax dollars to bring increased investment to our community for the benefit of all Petalumans.
To learn more about the Petaluma Canopy project, email Patrick Carter, Assistant to the City Manager, at [email protected]. For information on the USDA investment in trees and green spaces nationwide, visit: https://www.fs.usda.gov/news/releases/usda-invests-1-billion-nearly-400-projects-expand-access-trees-and-green-spaces