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Trees provide people with many natural benefits: cleaner air and water, reduced storm-water runoff and soil erosion, and priceless natural beauty. Trees have been shown to improve property values and enhance community well-being. That’s why the Delaware Forest Service is committed to helping cities, towns, and neighborhoods throughout the state to improve their overall tree canopy through its annual urban and community forestry grants.
Delaware’s Urban and Community Forestry Program offers annual grants of up to $5,000 for tree planting or tree management projects on public land. Grants are open to all Delaware municipalities, homeowner associations, and certified 501(c)(3) non-profits, including schools and churches. Grants require a 50-50 match in either cash (non-federal funds) or in-kind services, which can include volunteer or staff time, equipment rental, or supplies. Requests range from a minimum of $500 to a maximum of $5,000 in only one of two project categories: tree planting or tree management, which can include a professional tree inventory. All applicants must schedule a site visit with Urban and Community Program staff to review their project. Site visits must be scheduled at least one week in advance.
Applications are evaluated after the deadline by a committee of the Delaware Community Forestry Council. Eligible projects must be performed on public lands within the community. Priority will be given to first-time applicants, Tree Friendly Communities, and projects with a focus on promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion.
The Delaware Forest Service Urban and Community Forestry Program also offer tree planting grants specifically to applicants in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. The Chesapeake Bay Watershed is the nation’s largest estuary and a priority for conservation and restoration efforts. The Chesapeake Bay Basin in Delaware includes 15 sub-watersheds located along the western part of the state.
You can find out if your property is located in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed by using the Find Your Watershed Address tool below and entering your address in the search box to the upper right. Click in the map area outside of the box and it will list the watershed and basin in which the property is located. The orange and peach color indicates the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.
Delaware Forest Service staff can offer assistance at every stage of the tree-planting project:
If you think your town, church, or organization would benefit from a Chesapeake Bay Tree Planting Grant and you can meet the grant requirements for a 50-50 cost match (can be met by volunteer hours at no cost to your community or organization), then you are invited to contact the Delaware Forest Service Urban and Community Forestry Program.
The First State Resource, Conservation and Development (RC&D) Council offers mini-grants up to $500 to further its mission to “Provide leadership, initiative, technical support, and direction in developing and carrying out a plan to assist individuals and communities in the conservation and enhancement of their human and natural resources” and to work towards our vision of “prosperous diverse communities effectively developing and conserving the human and natural resources of the First State RC&D Area.” Examples of funded projects include urban farm and community or school garden initiatives, invasive species management, establishing or improving community recreational areas, establishing pollinator habitat, or installation of rain gardens.
If you have questions, comments, or need further assistance, please contact the
Urban and Community Program Send E-mail.
The Urban and Community Forestry Tree Grant Dashboard page provides a visual overview of the history of Delaware’s tree grants. Since its inception, the grant program has awarded 588 grants totaling more than $1.85 million—resulting in the planting of more than 16,000 trees. Details include the locations and dates of specific grant projects by county, legislative map, or school district. In FY21, the Delaware Forest Service provided $135,193 for 36 projects throughout Delaware.
The comprehensive database can list charts of the grants by year, county, and legislative district. The map to the right of the dashboard also allows viewers to zoom in to various parts of the state and then view specific projects by clicking on the blue dot.
“Community forests are critical to our quality of life. Trees provide cleaner air and water, wildlife habitat, lower energy costs, natural beauty, and improved property values. The Delaware Forest Service’s urban grant program is designed to help communities harness these many benefits. Tree projects can generate positive and lasting effects for years to come while also bringing residents and volunteers together to make their communities more livable and enjoyable,” said Kesha Braunskill, Delaware Forest Service’s Urban and Community Forestry Program Director.