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Phoenix 'Far Short' On Shade, Accepting Donations To Plant More Trees

Phoenix is way behind when it comes to meeting its tree and shade goals. Now the city is offering an online system for residents and businesses to donate money to plant more trees.

The City Council approved the donation program Wednesday. Through the city’s website,  people can choose to donate anywhere from $5 to $25,000. Donors can’t pick a specific location for a tree to be planted but can designate donations to projects in neighborhoods, along streets and sidewalks or parks.

In January 2010, the City Council approved a  62-page Tree and Shade Master Plan that contained recommendations on how to reach 25% percent tree and shade canopy by 2030. According to a city report, Phoenix is "far short of what is needed to reach 25 percent canopy" and meeting the goal will require about 10,000 new trees be planted each year — more than double the current rate.

In 2019, Phoenix said it planted 4,509. They estimate they lost 1,200 due to things like storms, accidents and health, so the city’s tree inventory grew by 3,309. 

The city manager’s trial budget for FY 2021-22includes $2.8 million and 14 new positions to address climate change and heat readiness. If the City Council approves the proposal, Phoenix would establish a new Office of Heat Response and Mitigation, provide more resources to achieve the 2010 Tree and Shade Master Plan, increase staff for the energy system inspection program in the Fire Department, and add funding to conduct greenhouse gas emissions inventories and support with carrying out the city’s new Climate Action Plan.

As a senior field correspondent, Christina Estes focuses on stories that impact our economy, your wallet and public policy.