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City Plants Partnership Secures Funding for Energy Efficiency through Tree Planting
By Sentinel News Service
Published August 5, 2015

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Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that the City Plants Partnership secured major funding from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) for the planting and care of shade trees where they are most needed in the city.

City Plants is a public-private partnership between the city of Los Angeles and non-profit organizations to plant trees in L.A. Four of City Plants’ partners received over $3.3 million from CalFire Cap and Trade Funding for urban and community forestry. Grant applications were made strong by leveraging LADWP-provided funds for tree planting, which promotes energy efficiency, creates shade, and therefore helps reduce energy use and costs associated with running air conditioning systems. City Plants partners received approximately 20 percent of the CalFire funding for the entire state.

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“These trees aren’t just about making our city look pretty– they’re a win for quality of life here in Los Angeles, lowering our energy use, benefiting our air quality, increasing our stormwater capture, and addressing the urban heat island effect head on,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “CAL FIRE is helping put L.A. one step closer to achieving our goals laid out in my Sustainable City pLAn.”

“LADWP is proud to support City Plants and its partner community organizations in this effort to increase the urban canopy,” said Nancy Sutley, LADWP Chief Sustainability Officer. “Trees are a worthwhile investment in energy efficiency and sustainability, and we are glad to have helped acquire more funding for City Plants for a program that directly benefits our customers.”

“We are thrilled that our partners did so well in securing CalFire funding,” said Elizabeth Skrzat, Program Director for City Plants. “Our collective mission as a partnership is to grow the future that L.A. deserves so that we can pass on a green and sustainable city to our children and grandchildren. Together, we took a big step forward this week.”

LADWP provides support to the City Plants program with a $4.5 million, 2-year Memorandum of Understanding that was renewed in December 2014. This agreement combined with the CalFire grant will cover the cost of planting 40,000 trees, including care, water, concrete cuts, labor, permits, public outreach and innovative water saving programs.

The following City Plants Partner organizations have secured grants from CalFire for projects in specific neighborhoods:

  • Los Angeles Conservation Corps – San Pedro – $1,481,999
  • LA Bureau of Sanitation – South LA – $750,000
  • Los Angeles Beautification Team – North Valley – $750,000
  • Koreatown Youth & Community Center – Koreatown & South LA – $337,000

Increasing the city’s tree canopy improves air quality, provides storm water capture, and enhances habitat and beautification, improving the quality of life of all residents. Additional benefits of the program include hiring local youth to learn valuable job skills and promoting civic engagement through various neighborhood/business organizations with the goal of developing long-term interest in growing and protecting the urban forest.

The full City Plants Partnership includes six non-profit organizations and key City Bureaus and Departments: Los Angeles Conservation Corps, Los Angeles Beautification Team, Koreatown Youth & Community Center, North East Trees, TreePeople, Fuego Tech Fire Rangers, LA Bureau of Sanitation, LA Bureau of Street Services, and LA Department of Recreation and Parks.

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