(WI DNR) — Fifteen Wisconsin communities will receive additional grant funding to help address damage from widespread storms last July. The Joint Committee on Finance approved the request in full, including $489,100 in funds to supplement the Urban Forestry’s Catastrophic Storm Grant offering. As a result, all 15 communities will receive the total amount requested on their grant applications.
Last October, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Urban Forestry program awarded 15 communities and tribes with grant funding in response to the State of Emergency declared on July 18, 2019. The storms brought torrential rains, strong winds, downed trees, damaged buildings, at least 16 tornadoes, and left thousands of people without power across a wide area of Wisconsin.
This declaration triggered the availability of up to 20% of the program’s funds, an amount of $104,920, to affected Wisconsin communities to help lessen the burden of storm-related damages to their urban forest canopy.
Although each applicant was able to request a maximum of $50,000, grants were limited to awards ranging from $4,000 to $8,428.19 because of the unprecedented number of applications.
The DNR submitted a request in December to the Joint Committee on Finance to transfer funds from the forestry emergency reserve. This reserve was created in 2017 as a result of Wisconsin Act 59 for emergency responses to significant fire, disease, infestation, or other natural disasters that could not otherwise be reimbursed by federal funds.
PHOTO: A camper is crushed by a downed tree near Almena, Wis. in a July 2020 storm that swept across a large portion of northern Wisconsin.