Note from the Chairs

November 2022 Edition

In This Issue:

  • Urban & Community Forestry Funding in the Inflation Reduction Act
  • SUFC Membership Tiers Expanded – Become a Member!
  • Join Us at the Partners Conference!

Urban & Community Forestry Funding under the Inflation Reduction Act

Over the past few months, SUFC has been busy working to uncover next steps for the Urban & Community Forestry (U&CF) program funding under the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). As you know well by now, the IRA created a huge financial opportunity for trees, maintenance and the growth of the U&CF program at the U.S. Forest Service (USFS). The investment of $1.5 billion, which must be spent by 2031, is a five-fold increase for the U&CF program over the $32 million the program received in Fiscal Year 2021. 

While the bill does not specifically call out underserved or under-resourced communities for U&CF programs, it operates under the Justice 40 umbrella, which directs 40 percent of certain federal resources to address a historic shortfall of tree planting. These funds will revolutionize communities where staggering asthma rates, high crime and unclean water are normal with a goal to combat climate change, lower energy bills, reduce heat-related death and illnesses and plant and protect trees nationwide. 

SUFC Vice Chair Rachel Holmes was recently interviewed by the Sierra Club magazine about the role of tree maintenance in the Inflation Reduction Act, sharing, “The IRA funding will help focus attention on an oft-neglected but critical aspect of urban forestry: maintenance. Mature trees (those between 30 and 60 years old) are the workhorses of the urban forests. But those trees must be cared for—or if they’re unhealthy, dead, or dying, they need to be removed to make way for a new tree.”

We are working closely with our partners at USFS to determine next steps with respect to the competitive grant process. We will continue to share information as we learn more through member calls, emails, and our social media channels.

SUFC Membership Structure Updated

Big news! For 17 years, SUFC has required that only national organizations or groups with a national reach are eligible to become SUFC members. The SUFC Steering Committee voted to eliminate that requirement and invites regional, state, and community organizations to join the membership. This change reflects the philosophy that “Advocacy is for everyone” and that all voices, regardless of operational or geographic scope, are critical in urban forestry change work. To ensure membership dues do not present a barrier to engagement with SUFC, the Steering Committee under the direction of Keith Wood, is piloting a new membership dues structure which is as follows:

Please reach out directly to SUFC Convener Heather Doucet ([email protected]) for additional information on becoming a member.

Urban Forestry in the Farm Bill Reauthorization

In early September, Nav Dayanand and Rachel Holmes of The Nature Conservancy hosted a webinar on Urban Forestry Policy in the Farm Bill, which highlighted ways for the Urban & Community Forestry community to get involved in the reauthorization of the 2023 Farm Bill. The SUFC Policy Work Group is currently seeking suggestions, comments, and constructive feedback on the role of Urban & Community Forestry in the Farm Bill reauthorization, which may be submitted through this Google Form. The Coalition is preparing this information in a format to be used by Congressional staff as they craft a new bill in early 2023.

Join SUFC at the Partners in Community Forestry Conference!

SUFC looks forward to seeing you in Seattle at the Partners in Community Forestry Conference. We will be hosting 3 events, and we hope you make room in your conference agendas to join us!

SUFC Welcome Reception

Tuesday, November 15 at 6 PM PST

Grand Ballroom

*Society of Municipal Arborists Silent Auction will be held at this event

SUFC Breakfast

Thursday, November 17 at 7:30 AM PST

Grand Ballroom 1 & 2

SUFC Policy Listening Session

Thursday, November 17 at 5 PM PST

Grand Ballroom 3

*Join the SUFC Policy Working Group’s experts for the latest happenings on the legislative and regulatory fronts

Click Here for the Partners Conference Agenda