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Worcester Awarded $409,000 for Climate Resilience Efforts

By Tom Marino | September 13, 2023
Last Updated: September 13, 2023

WORCESTER – The City of Worcester announced on Tuesday it received a $409,000 grant aimed at bolstering climate resilience. This grant will facilitate the planting of two Miyawaki forests and the creation of two resilient community place-making spaces.

The Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) program grant through the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) assists communities in pinpointing climate threats, designing resilience strategies, and executing crucial actions to adjust to climate changes.

The round of grant funding supports 79 projects across Massachusetts, including the Worcester grant. In the recent funding cycle, Worcester was among 79 projects granted financial assistance.

Chief Sustainability Officer John Odell expressed his enthusiasm, stating, “This grant enables Worcester to venture into planting its inaugural Miyawaki forests. These forests will combat urban heat islands and offer a plethora of climate resilience advantages.” He further emphasized the importance of public involvement, “Before the planting commences, we’ll be inviting public suggestions to pinpoint potential forest sites, especially within environmental justice communities.”

A Miyawaki forests, named after Japanese botanist Dr. Akira Miyawaki, uses a technique to cultivate native forests that grow quickly, are densely populated, and have multiple layers. These forests are renowned for their capabilities in carbon dioxide absorption and in managing stormwater runoff.

City Manager Eric D. Batista voiced his gratitude, noting, “This generous grant from the Healey-Driscoll administration is pivotal for expanding our tree canopy, tackling urban heat islands, and gearing up our community for the climatic shifts.”

Launched in 2017, the MVP program is dedicated to financing community-centric climate resilience endeavors. Remarkably, 349 out of 351 cities and towns in the Commonwealth have joined the program. To date, over $131.5 million has been allocated for local climate resilience planning and initiatives.

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