The Minneapolis government is dedicating $1 million in American Rescue Act funding to expand the urban tree canopy. The money will allow the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) to plant a total of 18,000 trees in 2023 and 2024, according to Minneapolis Parks.
The plan supports the Green Minneapolis' Twin Cities Climate Resilience Initiative, which is focused on expanding the urban tree canopy across the seven-county Twin Cities metro area. It also allows MPRB to triple the number of trees they would have been able to plant with only MPRB general funds.
MPRB Superintended Al Bangoura said that since 2014, the organization has been striving to create a more diverse and resilient tree canopy throughout the city in response to the emerald ash borer infestation. The canopy will also help mitigate the city's major heat islands, which are urbanized areas that experience higher temperatures than outlying areas due to structures like buildings and roads that absorb and re-emit heat.
“More trees will sequester more carbon, capture more stormwater and trap and filter more air pollution. More trees will also save energy and mitigate urban heat island effects,” Bangoura said. He also added that “research shows that just being around trees or looking at them reduces stress and can improve mental health.”