Oak Harbor receives urban forestry grant

The City of Oak Harbor received a $1.6 million grant from the USDA Forest Service.

The City of Oak Harbor received a $1.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service to support urban forestry management and restoration, Mayor Bob Severns announced during a city council meeting Tuesday.

The grant is one of nearly 400 awarded nationwide as part of the Forest Service’s Urban and Community Forestry Program, which invests over $1 billion in the planting, restoration and protection of urban green spaces in all U.S. states, as well as two U.S. territories, three U.S. affiliated Pacific islands and several Tribes.

In Washington state, 15 grants totaling more than $36 million were awarded for this program. Severns said that the funds will go toward the creation of a city forestry management plan, several right of way landscaping improvements and tree restoration projects in the city, as well as full time staffing to implement these projects over the next five years.

According to the Forest Service, access to trees and green spaces yield myriad benefits for communities, including improved health outcomes, reduced crime and lower average temperatures.