EPA Awards $25,000 for Blackstone Headwaters Tree Project
A Healthy Communities Grant from the federal Environmental Protection Agency will go to the Blackstone Headwaters Coalition and partnering organization the Worcester Tree Initiative, for their “Stormwater Benefit of Trees” project. This project will engage residents of two Worcester neighborhoods to reduce flooding and stormwater impacts to Worcester’s waterways and the Blackstone River. One hundred trees will be planted, split between the Main South and Quinsigamond Village neighborhoods; education and outreach will be provided on the benefits of trees, water quality information, and the impact of stormwater on water quality.
Other project partners include the Main South Community Development Corporation (MSCDC), the Quinsigamond Village Community Center (QVCC) and the City of Worcester Department of Public Works and Parks.
“I’m so pleased that the EPA has recognized this project as a dynamic partnership that will have lasting impacts on environmental justice neighborhoods and on the Blackstone and its headwater tributaries,” said Congressman Jim McGovern. “Out of 70 submissions, this is one of only 14 community-based projects funded by the grant. That speaks to the great work being done in Central Massachusetts.”
Following extensive outreach efforts, interested residents will pick from a list of available and recommended trees to plant as either street trees or private trees. As Worcester is in the Asian Longhorned Beetle quarantine zone, no ALB host species will be included in the available species to be planted list. Recipients of the trees will receive a) one-on-one training on how to plant and care for the tree(s); b) educational information about how trees help reduce localized flooding and stormwater volume into the storm sewer and thereby help the Blackstone River; c) general information about water quality and the impact of stormwater on water quality; d) an understanding of Worcester’s waterways including the lakes and ponds where they swim, the Blackstone River and its watershed e) benefits that trees bring to an urban neighborhood including shade, reduction of energy costs, stress reduction, reduction of heat island effect; f) other stormwater best management practices such as picking up dog poop, redirecting down spouts, washing vehicles on vegetated areas, etc.
The Blackstone Headwaters Coalition strives to engage citizens, businesses, environmental organizations, and municipal and state officials in the active stewardship of water resources in headwater streams of the Blackstone River.