- Associated Press - Monday, May 16, 2016

MOUNT CLEMENS, Mich. (AP) - A new partnership seeks more trees, shrubs and native plants with deep roots that will help to manage storm water while providing tree canopy coverage in Macomb County neighborhoods.

The Green Macomb-Urban Forest Partnership is funded with a $20,000 grant through the U.S. Forestry Service and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Forestry Division and a matching $20,000 grant from ITC Holdings, the Detroit Free Press reported (https://on.freep.com/1Th6ZRH ).

Gerard Santoro, the county’s program manager for land and water resources, said that he hopes organizers can net larger grants to fund the effort.

“We need these types of visions to make Macomb County a more livable and sustainable place,” Santoro said.

In additional to planting trees in urban areas, the effort seeks to fill a void left by decades of Dutch elm disease, devastation by the invasive emerald ash borer and removal of trees for infrastructure and road improvement projects.

The partnership’s initial effort is to improve tree canopy coverage in areas south of the Clinton River, including a dozen suburban Detroit communities including as Warren, Sterling Heights, Mount Clemens and Clinton, Shelby and Harrison townships.

The Southeast Michigan Council of Governments has identified the county, particularly south of the Clinton River, as a place to increase urban tree canopies.

Project organizers are working with the communities and other groups, including Six Rivers Land Conservancy. They plan to expand efforts to include floodplain conservation in the north branch of the Clinton River and agricultural conservation in the northern part of Macomb County.

The effort first will look at public properties, such as rights of ways and parks, but organizers hope to extend it to private property, including homes and businesses.

“It’s a long-term implementation,” said Brent Geurink, an associate planner with the county.

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Information from: Detroit Free Press, https://www.freep.com


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