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Michigan 2019 - The Greening of Detroit

Planting Location: Detroit, Michigan - Public Parks & Rouge Park

Project Description/Objective: The 2002 Emerald Ash borer infestation resulted in a massive loss of trees, and today, Detroit’s tree canopy is at 22.5 percent, far below the recommended 40 percent. This has presented serious environmental problems for the city’s waterways and the urban ecosystem. Without a healthy urban forest to filter and regulate the flow of water, stormwater runs off the land and collects pollutants that are deposited in streams that lead to the Detroit River and the Great Lakes. After wet weather events, the river is subjected to devastating peak stream flows and increased water volumes, which degrade water quality and habitats throughout the local watershed. Issues are severe enough to limit recreation and commercial uses throughout the watersheds, and have resulted in serious environmental, economic and planning problems that negatively impact life quality for Detroit residents. While many Detroiters face social, environmental and economic problems, residents also benefit from being part of a deeply rooted community, which is passionate and resilient and committed to realizing a better city. Opportunities to plant new trees in the city’s neighborhoods and parks will help create a stronger community and foster a more sustainable urban ecosystem. Residents will realize many benefits of a healthier tree canopy, as new trees planted will increase water and air quality, add aesthetic appeal to neighborhoods, reduce flooding, lower energy consumption, and increase property values. With support from One Tree Planted, 2,908 new trees will be planted in the city of Detroit through 2019. The Greening will hold community volunteers events to plant balled and burlapped trees in city parks; host tree giveaways for residents; and plant bare root and container trees in the Meyer Nursery at Rouge Park.

Ecological Benefits: The Greening of Detroit works with the City of Detroit’s General Services and Parks and Recreation Departments to identify neighborhoods where significant tree canopy loss has occurred, and where more immediate benefits from the addition of the trees could be realized. The installation of new trees in Detroit will contribute to replacing the hundreds of trees lost to emerald ash borer in the neighborhood over the last decade, and also to reforestation efforts that will improve the tree canopy in the city. New trees will intercept stormwater runoff from the watersheds, improving water quality in the watersheds by protecting the condition of the Rouge River from further degradation due to increased peak flow and water volumes during wet weather events. Planting also trees will increase evapotranspiration and capture non-point source pollutants, and increase species diversity in the area by increasing access to habitat and food sources for resident and migratory insect, pollinator, bird and mammal species.

Community Benefits: During the last thirty years, The Greening of Detroit has engaged thousands of individuals in the collaborative effort to increase the city’s urban forest, resulting in nearly 100,000 new trees planted in parks, schoolyards and along neighborhood streets and major roads. In addition to the ecological benefits, these trees -- and other green infrastructure treatments such as prairies and meadows -- planted in blighted neighborhoods create green spaces that become valuable and meaningful community resources, creating stronger neighborhoods and healthier homes. The project will help stem the tide of deforestation in Detroit, ensuring that residents benefit from the social, economic and ecological benefits of a healthy tree canopy as new trees reduce flooding in city neighborhoods during wet weather events, improve the tree canopy, increase water and air quality, and add aesthetic appeal to the surrounding neighborhood.

Types of Trees: Elm (disease resistant); Red Maple; Swamp White Oak; Robinia; Yellow Wood; American Linden. 1.5-2” caliper balled and burlapped trees planted in city parks, and bare root container trees at the nursery.

Number of Trees Donated by Noble Oak: 7,500

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