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Planning and Economic Development

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eMacomb - Featured Article, Fall 2016

Green Macomb’s Urban Forest Partnership completes first two planting projects

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Green Macomb’s Urban Forest Partnership is working to increase the number of trees and vegetation in Macomb County’s most densely-populated areas. An urban tree canopy assessment has shown communities along and south of the Clinton River are lacking tree coverage, partially due to in-ground infrastructure improvements and roadway developments, as well as Dutch elm disease and the emerald ash borer. To combat this trend and raise awareness about the importance of planting trees, the Urban Forest Partnership held two demonstration plantings this fall in Warren and Utica.

On Oct. 25, more than 30 volunteers planted 246 plants, shrubs and trees near SMART bus stops in front of Macomb Community College and Wayne State University’s Advanced Technology Education Center in Warren. A variety of native grasses and wildflowers, fragrant sumac, eastern redbud and littleleaf lindens were planted. Each tree was chosen for its ability to tolerate road salt and to offer protection from the wind and snow for those waiting at the bus stops on the busy 12 Mile Road corridor, making this a beautiful and useful addition to the area.

More than 330 plants, shrubs and trees were planted along the Clinton River Hike and Bike Trail in downtown Utica on Nov. 14. The plantings will help to beautify the trail corridor as well as protect the Clinton River from storm water runoff. Plant species were selected for their ability to filter storm water as a buffer along the river corridor and provide showy flowers in the spring, summer and fall. They include a variety of native grasses and wildflowers, viburnum, eastern redbud, bald cypress and eastern red cedar.

Volunteers from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Motor Citizens program were joined by others from Six Rivers Land Conservancy and ReLeaf Michigan to install the plants and trees. The projects were funded by a grant through the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Urban and Community Forestry Program and the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service’s State and Private Forestry Program. Matching funds to purchase materials were provided by ITC Holdings. In-kind donations will provide ongoing care for the plants. Additional funding for the project at the Clinton River Hike and Bike Trail was provided by the city of Utica’s Downtown Development Authority.

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Beginning in spring 2017, the Urban Forest Partnership will work with partners to plant more than 1,000 additional trees to increase urban tree canopy throughout Macomb County. The right tree in the right place with the right purpose can improve much more than aesthetics. Trees can also help improve air and water quality, reduce energy costs and increase property values.

Managed by the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development, Green Macomb is an initiative that supports green infrastructure in Macomb County. For more information, visit To view photos from the Warren plantings or photos from the Utica plantings, find us on Facebook @MacombCountyPlanningAndEconomicDevelopment.

Related links:

10/26/16 - Urban Forest partnership takes root in Warren - SMART News

10/25/16 - Southern Macomb County Has Lost Its Trees. Green Macomb Is Working To Help Bring Them Back - Daily Detroit