Kansas City, MO was just awarded a $12 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service. As part of it’s goal to plant 10,000 trees over 3 years, the new funding marks a significant milestone in its efforts to improve the urban tree canopy, strengthen the community, and promote environmental justice.
With this support, the city aims to increase the density and strength of its tree coverage by 17%. The initiative will not only have a profound impact on the city’s aesthetic appeal, but will also yield environmental and societal benefits. Plus, by enhancing green spaces, this initiative will address historical disparities and create a more just and inclusive cityscape.
“I love trees and all they can do to build a healthy and sustainable community. I am proud Kansas City has received a $12 million federal grant to plant and preserve more trees and build a tree canopy that is the envy of all major American cities,” said Mayor Quinton Lucas.
“Last year, I championed Kansas City’s first tree fund, investing a climate protection award from the U.S. Conference of Mayors toward increasing and maintaining tree canopy coverage throughout our community, focusing particularly on neighborhoods underserved by tree coverage. Since then, the city has invested millions into Kansas City’s Tree Fund and passed Kansas City’s first tree preservation ordinance to save our trees. Our efforts will only grow from here as we plant 10,000 trees over the next three years.”
The city plans to funnel the funds into the following categories:
- Tree care programs which include tree pruning, removal of dead and declining trees, tree stump removal, tree planting and conducting a complete tree inventory
- Tree supplies including fruit and nut trees, compost/soil, and orchard tools.
- Adding personnel to carry out tree care programs and conduct education and outreach programs.
“This $12 million grant from the USDA’s Forest Service is a testament to Kansas City’s dedication to enhancing its urban tree canopy and promoting environmental justice. This project will contribute to a more beautiful and sustainable landscape and serve as a model for other communities nationwide,” said Brian Platt, City Manager.
Tree care programs will be a cross-departmental effort, and the city will be collaborating with Bridging the Gap and the Kansas City Community Gardens.
In addition to this grant, the city is making strides to enhance the tree canopy through a free tree distribution program that launched in 2023.
By the end of the year, over 1,000 free trees will planted through this endeavor. Canopy Cover KC is made possible by the support of Bridging the Gap and Evergy in partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation. This citywide effort also includes support from Parks and Recreation and Neighborhood Services Departments.
Currently, residents can join the Spring waitlist for a free tree at kcmo.gov/freetrees.
The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Forest Service’s Urban and Community Forestry program awarded more than $1 billion to projects expanding access to trees and green spaces across the United States. Kansas City is one of three other cities in Missouri who received this grant.