Green Macomb’s Urban Forest Partnership completed a second fall planting this week in downtown Utica. Over 330 trees, shrubs, wildflowers and other native plants were installed by volunteers from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Motor Citizens program in partnership with the city of Utica, Six Rivers Land Conservancy, ITC Holdings and ReLeaf Michigan.
Green Macomb’s first planting was on Oct. 25, when volunteers planted over 240 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. Plant species were chosen for their ability to tolerate road salt and to offer protection from the elements for those waiting at the bus stops on the busy 12 Mile Road corridor, making this a beautiful and useful addition to the area.
The right tree in the right place for the right purpose can improve much more than aesthetics. Trees can also help improve air and water quality, manage storm water, reduce energy costs and increase property values.
This week’s planting was held along the heavily-utilized Clinton River Hike and Bike Trail between Jimmy John’s Field and downtown Utica. 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.
The project was funded by a grant through the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Urban and Community Forestry Program and the USDA Forest Service’s State and Private Forestry Program. Matching funds were provided by ITC Holdings. Additional funding was provided by the city of Utica’s Downtown Development Authority.
Beginning in spring 2017, Green Macomb will work with ReLeaf Michigan, volunteers and local communities to plant over 1,000 additional trees to increase urban tree canopy throughout Macomb County as part of a grant project through the U.S. Forest Service and Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.
The Green Macomb initiative was created by the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development to support green infrastructure efforts that strengthen the economic vitality, quality of life and environmental well-being of the region. For more information, visit green.macombgov.org.
Brent Geurink is an associate planner for the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development’s Land and Water Resources Group.