Shade tree program bonding grants, 2021-2024

ash tree showing signs of EAB with newly planing seeding on either side

Eligible Applicants:

All cities, counties, and townships, as well as park and recreation boards in cities of the first class, are eligible to apply.

Priority will be given to:

  • Applicants with a known emerald ash borer infestation within their boundaries for removal and replacement of ash trees
  • Projects removing and replacing ash trees that pose significant public safety concerns
  • Projects that benefit underserved populations and areas of concern for environmental justice


Eligible Activities:

  • Removal and replanting of shade trees on public land to provide environmental benefits;
  • Replacement of trees on public land lost to forest pests, disease, or storm;
  • Tree planting on public land to establish a more diverse community forest better able to withstand disease and forest pests

Any tree planted with this grant must be a climate-adapted species to Minnesota.

Project Timeline:

  • Application Available: Monday, February 1, 2021
  • Application Deadline: Monday, March 22, 2021

How to Apply

  1. Thoroughly read through the Request for Applications
  2. Download and complete the Application
  3. Download and fill out the Attachment A Budget Form
  4. Download and fill out the Attachment B 3-Year Tree Maintenance Plan
  5. Provide a Species and Stock List from which trees will be planted - must be climate-adapted species to Minnesota

Application Procedures:

After reading through the Request for Applications, complete all parts of the application. Email completed application to [email protected] (only emailed applications will be accepted). Applications must be received by Monday, March 22, 2021 to be considered eligible for funding.

Selection Process:

DNR's Urban & Community Forestry Team will review and evaluate grant applications, and prioritize proposals. The UCF Grants Steering Committee will recommend projects and award amounts. DNR will review all committee recommendations and is responsible for final award decisions. Grantees will be notified by Monday, April 12, 2021.

Helpful Guidance

Community forestry examples and resources for managing emerald ash borer, Webex recording from a Minnesota Department of Agriculture webinar on December 10, 2020,


FAQs will be updated weekly with questions received through March 12, 2021. Direct questions to [email protected].

Q: Is this grant really only available to first class cities (Minneapolis, St. Paul, Rochester, St. Cloud)?

No, All cities, and counties, and townships, and park and recreation boards in cities of the first class are eligible to apply.

Q: On the DNR website I saw that preference will be given to communities that already have EAB. Does this mean that since EAB has not been found in our community we likely wouldn't be awarded any funding if we did submit an application?

Each application will be reviewed on a 100-point scale. A known emerald ash borer infestation within the applicant's boundaries will be worth 5 points. This leaves 95 points that a community without EAB could earn, suggesting that an application from that community can still be competitive if thorough and well-written.

Q: My city doesn't have any staff with "a degree in a related field" or applicable certifications. Do you still want to know our educational backgrounds?

Yes. Listing all degrees and certifications, even if they do not directly relate to the project, will demonstrate comprehension of the question. As with all parts of the application, strive to provide a complete and thoughtful answer to meet the scoring criteria as best as you are able.

Q: What are climate-adapted species to Minnesota?

These include trees that are native to Minnesota, as well as trees that are regionally native, and climate-adapted. Trees that are native to neighboring states, and are now able to thrive in Minnesota due to changes in hardiness growing zones, are eligible to plant through this grant. Trees listed on the Minnesota Invasive Terrestrial Plants webpage (including Amur cork tree, Amur maple, autumn olive, black locust, buckthorn, Norway maple, Russian olive, Siberian elm, and tree of heaven) are ineligible for reimbursement and are not recommended for planting.

Q: Are staff time and chemical purchases considered eligible for cash match or in kind match? I understand that these two items cannot be used for requested funding, but wanted to make sure they are appropriate for match purposes.

While they are not eligible for reimbursement, staff time and chemical purchases are an appropriate use of match funds, if used for the overall grant project. You could list both as in-kind match, unless you have a staff salary solely dedicated to the project, or if the chemicals are purchased and applied by a contractor (in which case, they would be cash match). More on appropriate allocation of match funding is listed in the following paragraph.

A cash match is a direct project expense that a local unit of government (LUG) provides as contribution to a project – the cash expenditures for costs related to the specific project. This can include project-related staff salaries if they are DEDICATED to the project, consultant's fees or contractor expenses, equipment rentals and travel costs. In-kind match are materials and services, salaries and wages (including fringe benefits) being used that are not solely project-dedicated, space or utilities, equipment and/or technical assistance provided by the LUG or donated by a third party specifically for the project.

Q: For our program, we hope to replace ash that were lost in the public boulevard space as well as park land. We have no issue with filing a declaration on the public park lands. Would this declaration be required on the boulevard space as well?

Please refer to the subsequent paragraph from the RFA regarding boulevard trees:

For projects or portions of projects that lie within roads, highways or utility or transit corridors, easements or rights-of-way, a certification in which the grantee acknowledges that the property purchased and/or improved is still state bond financed property and thus subject to certain statutory requirements will suffice in lieu of a declaration.

If a project includes both park and boulevard trees, a declaration will be needed for the park component, and a certification will suffice for the boulevard trees. The certification will be filled out and submitted to DNR. For a Certification, the "General Description of Restricted Property" need not be formal. It can be as simple as:

  • A map with the streets highlighted where funds were or will be used, or
  • A list / text description, e.g., Elm St between 3rd St and 8th St, or the 300 to 110 blocks of Maple Ave.
Q: Can you direct me to the 2010 community tree survey for my city?

Please email [email protected] and we will send you the 2010 rapid assessment for your community.

Q: Is it appropriate to include maps in our application if we think it would better explain our project area or priority populations?
You are welcome to include maps. If you include attachments with your application, please reference them within the application, and explain why they have been included in order to be considered part of the submission.