Tree Grants 101: The basics

Posted on 06/11/2021
Tree Grants 101 baner with tree in background

At the end of April, our Lunch and Learn session covered tree grants: what they are, where the money comes from, how the City obtains them, and what exactly the grant money can be used for. Melinda Bartlett and Amy Schulenberg from LA Sanitation and Environment were invited guests, discussing their success in obtaining tree grant funding and how that has translated into trees being planted across the City. 

The state of California requires that grantees use CalEnviroScreen, a mapping platform that uses environmental, health, and socioeconomic information, to determine the areas most affected by multiple sources of pollution, to identify planting areas of greatest need in the City. LA Sanitation and Environment uses the 85th percentile in CalEnviroScreen as the threshold for equity-based tree planting using state grants. 

When the City receives a grant there are eligible and non-eligible costs. The grants specify that areas of greatest need may receive funding. In addition to areas of greatest environmental and socio-economic need, the LASAN focuses much of their grant-funded work on  “priority corridors,” such as walking routes to schools and other areas that are more challenging to plant and establish young trees. Their projects include removing concrete to create new tree wells in areas that previously did not have space for new trees. Several of their grant applications have been successful in part due to matching funds provided by LADWP’s Energy Efficiency Free Trees program and watering provided by StreetsLA’s Urban Forestry Division. By providing resources for the project, the City shows we have “skin in the game” and are invested in these important planting projects. 

It is important to remember that urban forestry grants are meant to augment rather than replace city functions and will not cover items seen as City responsibilities. For example, tree trimming  and removal are not covered and can only be performed using City funds. 

Do you want more trees on your street? To request free street trees go to: lacitysan.org/freetree

Questions or suggestions:san.trees@lacity.org or (213) 485-3954

You can view the whole Lunch and Learn session here:

Cover image courtesy stockio.com