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Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that the City will plant 800 trees more than was originally anticipated this year in neighborhoods across Chicago through various programs and projects in the “Building a New Chicago” infrastructure investment program. The City initially anticipated planting approximately 5,400 trees this year.
“A vibrant tree planting program is an important investment in our neighborhood infrastructure,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Chicago was one of the first cities where planting trees and urban forests were part of the City’s plan and design, and I am proud we continue that tradition today.”
By planting 800 additional trees this year, the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) and the Department of Streets and Sanitation (DSS) will plant a total of 6,260 trees by the end of October. DSS will plant 500 additional trees this fall on top of the 2,800 trees that have already been planted or are scheduled to be planted this year along neighborhood streets. CDOT has planted more than 300 additional trees than what was originally planned this year, bringing their total trees planted citywide this year to 2,960.
"Expanding Chicago's urban tree canopy creates many benefits to our urban environment from CO2 reduction to storm water infiltration," said DSS Commissioner Charles Williams. "By continuing to plant trees, along with our regular forestry maintenance work, the City is improving the quality of life for this and future generations.”
The 2014 DSS budget included an additional $2.7 million for tree planting, Emerald Ash Borer inoculation and tree trimming and tree removal. These resources support the planting of 3,300 trees along neighborhood streets, while also allowing the Department to trim 15,000 additional trees in 2014, a 30 percent increase in tree trims over 2013. The 2,960 trees planted through CDOT infrastructure program cost an estimated $1.6 million. The additional trees were planted using money that was already budgeted for these departments.
DSS maintains more than 540,000 parkway trees that intercept approximately 1.22 billion gallons of storm water annually. Chicago has an estimated 3.5 million trees on both public and private property, which cover more than 17 percent of the area, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Chicago’s urban forest removes about 25,000 tons of carbon per year and about 900 tons of air pollution annually.