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Organization: South Coast Air Quality Management District
Date: June 9, 2009
AQMD Announces Grants for Tree Planting Projects
    The South Coast Air Quality Management District has established the Tree Planting Partnership — a match funding opportunity for cities and counties within AQMD's four-county jurisdiction. A total of $1.5 million will be available to co-sponsor tree planting projects.
    The goal of the program is to help cities and counties build healthy urban forests across the Southland, which will assist in reducing air pollution, help remove greenhouse gases, and lower energy needs by providing shade for buildings.
    The Tree Planting Partnership is one of four elements of the Helping Hand Initiative, a program approved by the AQMD Governing Board in February to help keep the region on the path toward clean air while lending assistance to businesses and local governments during the economic recession.
    "Trees have the ability to capture pollutants from the air while adding beauty to our communities," said William A. Burke, Ed.D., AQMD's Governing Board Chairman. "This is an opportunity for us to partner with communities to help clean our air and beautify our neighborhoods at the same time."
    At its June 5 meeting, AQMD's Governing Board approved the Tree Planting Partnership to assist cities and counties with additional tree planting projects. AQMD has developed a list of 52 preferred California native trees that have low biogenic volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions, 11 of which are also drought-tolerant.
    Tree planting projects must include a community outreach component, and should include opportunities for temporary student employment to assist in implementing them. Only cities and counties in AQMD's four-county region are eligible to apply.
    Requirements for tree planting projects include:
    • Trees that have low biogenic VOC emissions and are native species to California
    • Trees are appropriate for the area where they will be planted
    • Trees will be planted on public lands
    • Tree maintenance is provided after planting
    • Outreach and educational components are provided
    To assist with the application process, AQMD will hold two voluntary informational workshops on June 30 and July 17, both at 9:30 a.m. at AQMD Headquarters in Diamond Bar. Cities and counties have until Friday, July 31, 2009 to submit project proposals.
    For more information on workshops, project requirements and a full list of qualifying trees, visit www.aqmd.gov/aqmd/funding.html.
    In other action, the AQMD Board:
    • Adopted a $131.7 million budget for fiscal year 2009-10, which is a reduction of approximately $400,000 from the 2008-09 budget. No general fee increases are proposed for next year. AQMD will use its reserve funds to offset lower estimated revenues due to the economic downturn to balance the 2009-10 budget;
    • Adopted Rule 433 — Natural Gas Quality — to require monitoring of the quality and quantity of natural gas being supplied to the four-county region to determine the effects of new supplies of natural gas — such as imported liquefied natural gas — on natural gas quality and emissions;
    • Approved $840,000 from the Lower-Emission School Bus Program Fund to retrofit 42 school buses in the Southland with diesel particulate matter (PM) traps. Funding will go to three school districts in the region; and
    • Re-appointed Edward Camarena to the engineer member position on the AQMD Hearing Board, and appointed Julie Masters to the attorney member position and Tom Browne as the alternate engineer member. Each will serve a three-year term, ending June 30, 2012.
    AQMD is the air pollution control agency for Orange County and major portions of Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside counties.

    AQMD is the air pollution control agency for Orange County and major portions of Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside counties.
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