COLLEGE STATION, Texas (FOX 44) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded Texas A&M Forest Service $21.75 million for projects to expand and conserve forests in the state’s urban areas.

According to the Texas A&M Forest Service, the funding comes as part of the Biden administration’s Inflation Reduction Act – and will help Texas expand its urban forest canopy, improve air and water quality, reduce energy consumption and enhance the health and well-being of communities.

The funding will be used to support a range of urban forestry projects across Texas – including tree planting and maintenance, tree canopy assessments and community engagement and education initiatives. The Texas A&M Forest Service says the priorities for the funding align with the Healthy Trees, Healthy Lives initiative – which aims to raise awareness about the importance of urban forests and encourages Texans to get involved in urban forestry activities.

Urban forests provide numerous benefits, including:
• Reducing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions
• Lowering energy consumption by providing shade and reducing heat island effects
• Improving water quality and reducing stormwater runoff
• Enhancing property values and economic vitality
• Improving public health and well-being