PRESS RELEASE: YVCC helps Billings secure $1M for urban forests

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 14, 2023

BILLINGS, Mont. –  The United States Forest Service today announced that the City of Billings will receive $1 million in federal funds to design and implement an urban forestry project. The city applied for the grant after members of Yellowstone Valley Citizens Council (YVCC), a Billings-based grassroots conservation organization affiliated with Northern Plains Resource Council, organized a plan to solicit the funding, garnered support from dozens of other organizations, and took the idea to city officials. The federal funds were generated through a grant process made available from the Inflation Reduction Act.

“We are so proud of this accomplishment, and can’t wait to see the many benefits that expanded tree canopies will provide to Billings,” said Kris Glenn, chair of YVCC. “We can look forward to increased property values, improved air quality, cooler summer temperatures, and healthier, more beautiful communities across the city.”

The seven-figure grant will be directed toward underfunded and economically disadvantaged areas in Billings which currently have fewer trees and less infrastructure to maintain and support tree growth.

The Forest Service indicates that urban forests help filter air and water, conserve energy, control stormwater, prevent soil erosion, and provide animal habitat and shade. They also reduce noise and strengthen community cohesion according to research.

Urban forests can reduce temperatures during the hottest months by as much as 10 degrees, which can save lives during heat waves and significantly reduce electricity costs.

“We are grateful that the City of Billings took the time to hear our proposal and capitalize on this opportunity to dramatically improve this city we all love,” continued Glenn. “This project recognizes that trees are much more than simple amenities, they are vital and necessary parts of our city infrastructure.”

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