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City seeks tree count

Havre may be one of the Arbor Day Foundation's Tree City USA's, but the city's Parks and Recreation Department feels the city and the trees have been a bit distant for the past several years, and it is applying for a grant to get better acquainted.

At last week's Havre City Council meeting, the council approved a grant application for the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation's Urban Forestry Grant to conduct an inventory of the city's leafier residents.

During the meeting, Parks and Recreation Director Chris Inman said nothing like this had been done in Havre since sometime in the 1990s and that it needed to be done for the city to better address issues that involve the trees, like replacing problematic ones.

When the request was filed, the numbers had not been finalized, but Inman said the total project would probably cost around $11,000, with $1,000 being required of the city, though their contribution could be "in-kind, " meaning the city can contribute to the project with man-hours and equipment use rather than just cash.

The DNRC Urban Forestry Grant is funded by the USDA Forest Service and has, according to the project's website, several benefits that people may not regularly appreciate.

"Urban forestry advocates the role of trees as a critical part of the urban infrastructure, " the program's website says. "They are dynamic ecosystems that provide environmental services such as energy conservation, better air quality, economic vitality, reduced storm water runoff, carbon sequestration, and beautifying communities. "

Inman told the council the grant would not only allow the city to have an up-to-date registry of the trees on city property all over town, uncovering problematic trees in the process, but would also make it easier down the line to apply for further grants from this and similar programs to solve the problems that may be uncovered.

The council approved the grant application request unanimously.


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