AUBURN, Mass. – Auburn, Shrewsbury and Holden were three of several Central Massachusetts communities to receive a total of $1 million from the federal government on Monday, funding to help replant trees that were impacted by the Asian Longhorned Beetle infestation (ALB).
Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray, U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan and Department of Conservation and Recreation Commissioner Ed Lambert joined the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to announce $1 million from the USDA on Monday.
“I have seen the devastation of the Asian Longhorned Beetle first hand in the neighborhood in which I grew up,” McGovern said. “But I have also seen the extraordinary coordinated efforts by federal, state and local government in tandem with the Worcester Tree Initiative and local corporate partners to restore our urban tree landscape to new beauty.
“This additional funding will go a long way towards helping communities still dealing with the biggest impact from the ALB eradication effort,” McGovern continued.
The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Division, in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service, has awarded the grant to the Patrick-Murray Administration’s Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). This program will focus on restoring the urban tree canopy, picking up where the tree replanting program funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) left off.
That program completed more than 13,500 tree plantings over a 2 ½ year period. DCR will focus its replanting efforts where trees have been removed as part of the Asian Longhorn Beetle eradication effort. DCR anticipates planting 2,000 more trees in Worcester County as part of this program.
“DCR is pleased to have the opportunity to participate in this grant program and be able to offer new trees to the communities that have been hardest hit by the Asian Longhorn Beetle infestation,” said DCR Commissioner Lambert. “DCR remains committed to the eradication of the ALB beetle through continued education, surveying, beetle trapping efforts, removal of infested trees and regulatory enforcements.”
Since 2008, ALB teams at the local, state and federal level have removed 32,012 trees and replanted 19,852 trees across Worcester, Shrewsbury, Holden, West Boylston, Boylston and Auburn.
Through this partnership, funding has supported reforestation efforts and has helped to raise awareness and educate residents to identify the ALB. Additionally, this initiative has led to 100 new jobs, including 38 with DCR and 62 with USDA.
To learn more, visit www.mass.gov/dcr.