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Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined Department of Streets and Sanitation (DSS) Commissioner Charles L. Williams today as crews completed the 2014 tree planting plan that included more than 6,600 plantings citywide—surpassing initial projections by more than 300 trees.
“Chicago was one of the first cities where planting trees and urban forests were part of the City’s plan and design,” said Mayor Emanuel. “By planting thousands of trees each year, we are helping to maintain the urban canopy’s vibrancy for generations to come.”
This year, a total of 6,652 trees were planted citywide as part of Mayor Emanuel’s “Building A New Chicago” infrastructure investment program. The City’s 2014 tree planting plan was a multi-department effort that included more than 3,400 residential street plantings coordinated by DSS, more than 3,000 infrastructure enhancement plantings coordinated by Chicago Department of Transportation and nearly 200 plantings supported by the Department of Aviation and the Department of Planning and Development. Next year, a total of 7,800 trees are projected to be planted – an increase over this year since the Mayor has dedicated an additional $400,000 to tree planting in his 2015 budget.
"Chicago's urban tree canopy provides countless benefits to our environment from reduced carbon dioxide levels to storm water interception to increased property values," said Commissioner Williams. "By continuing to plant trees and provide necessary forestry maintenance, the City is protecting this important community asset.”
Mayor Emanuel’s 2014 budget included additional funding to support tree planting. These newly planted trees will provide more than $270,000 in environmental benefits and property value improvements each year. The 6,600 new trees can intercept more than one million gallons of storm water annually, conserve more than 82,000 kilowatts of energy annually and sequester more than 360,000 pounds of carbon dioxide. These figures are calculated using the National Tree Benefit calculator and are based on the specified size of the tree, type of tree and if the tree is planted in a commercial area or a residential area. Trees are considered a value appreciating resource as trees pay for themselves approximately seven years following establishment.
Chicago has an estimated 3.5 million trees on both public and private property, covering more than 17 percent of the area, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.