I Dig Long Beach – 6,000 Trees by 2020: A Plan to Improve Air Quality in Long Beach

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tree-plantingAn ambitious project to plant 6,000 new trees in seven years got under way Saturday as community volunteers joined City officials in planting 50 new trees at Silverado Park and adjacent Muir Elementary School on the Westside. 

“These 6,000 new trees will help beautify our city and clean our air by reducing air pollution and mitigating greenhouse gas emissions,” Mayor Bob Foster said. “The trees are definitely a welcome addition to our city.”

The project, called “I Dig Long Beach – 6,000 Trees by 2020,” is funded by a $671,000 grant awarded by the Port of Long Beach in August 2012.  The grant is part of the $5.4 million awarded to various nonprofit organizations, agencies and port tenants to fund 28 projects that will reduce, avoid or capture emissions of greenhouse gases.

“The Port is pleased to award the City of Long Beach this grant to plant trees,” said Susan E. Anderson Wise, President of the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners.  “This is another example of how mitigation dollars from Port projects can improve our community, capture emissions and promote sustainability.”

The trees will be planted in an area roughly bordered by Walnut Avenue on the east, and Del Amo Boulevard on the north, Ocean Boulevard on the south and the City border on the west.  The grant will fund tree plantings in Council Districts 1, 2, 3, 6, 7 and 8.  Tree planting locations were selected due to their proximity to the Port of Long Beach, where they would be most effective at capturing and storing Green House Gas emissions.

In addition to increasing the city’s urban forest, the project is adding much needed trees to underserved areas of the City, resulting in reduction of the urban heat island effect, and a reduction in air pollution, water pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. The project will create more inviting pedestrian friendly environments, encourage walking and bicycling, and help to improve watershed conditions by removing sidewalk and creating new tree wells in parkways.

The scope of the project also includes an educational and outreach component to develop public awareness for expanding and managing forest resources involving students and neighborhood residents in the planting of trees and proper methods of care and maintenance.

The award was from the third round from the Port’s Community Mitigation Grant Programs, which are designed to off-set environmental impacts from Port construction projects. For this round, $5 million came from the Middle Harbor redevelopment project and $400,000 from the Gerald Desmond Bridge replacement project. The projects themselves incorporate best available technologies to cut pollution, but there are residual impacts that the grant programs are designed to address.

For more information on the “I Dig Long Beach – 6,000 Trees by 2020” project, please contact Margaret Madden, Neighborhood Improvement Officer, at Margaret.madden@longbeach.gov or 562.570.6830.


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