URBAN AND COMMUNITY FORESTRY

WHEREAS, the vitality of communities is strongly dependent on the quality of the city's infrastructure. Parks, tree cover, streetscapes and other green open space are an integral part of urban green infrastructure planning; and

WHEREAS, tree cover and associated green infrastructure provide significant ecological, social and economic benefits, including: reducing air and water pollution, slowing storm water runoff, and helping conserving energy; and

WHEREAS, access to green open space and tree sheltered streets alleviates the mental fatigue of urban life, increases socialization in those areas and promotes a greater sense of community; and

WHEREAS, people are more prone to spend time outdoors in a pleasing tree shaded environment and increased pedestrian traffic results in more eyes on the street that tends to reduce violent behavior and crime; and

WHEREAS, properly planned and managed green infrastructure saves municipal governments millions of dollars in air and storm water management costs, helps cities meet federal regulatory requirements for air and water quality, and increases property values; and

WHEREAS, federal funding of the USDA Forest Service Urban & Community Forestry program provides critical financial support for forestry programs in many municipal forestry programs,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the United States Congress should provide for full funding of $50 million for the Forest Service's Urban and Community Forestry Program in Fiscal Year 2003.