November 8, 2021 /
Jona Elwell

Big Budget Wins for 2022

This summer Casey Trees testified to the DC Council on the Mayor’s fiscal year 2022 budget. We attended 5(!) different hearings focusing on four main things: protecting funding for environmental education, improving the Urban Forest Preservation Act, and creating a grant program to remove invasive species and expand community engagement in underserved communities.

This year, in part thanks to significant federal funding, some agencies saw their budgets more than double! As a result, agencies, such as the District Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) and the District Office of Energy and Environment (DOEE) were able to put more money into capital improvement projects, such as Joy Evans Therapeutic Recreation Center, the region’s first biophilic recreation center.

So how did the 2022 budget shake out? Very well! Here are some highlights from the FY 2022 budget:

This year, the Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) saw a major increase in their budget for the fiscal year 2022. There was almost $9 million added to watershed protection programming and almost $2 million to water quality. We were particularly excited to also see over $250,000 in additional funding for green infrastructure initiatives.  Casey Trees also advocated for a new grant program that would fund invasive species removal and community engagement – and we got it! $150,000 for grants to community-based groups working to remove trash and invasive species, maintain trails, and engage residents in DC’s parklands was added to the DOEE budget.

While the District Department of Transportation’s (DDOT) overall budget did not increase as much as DOEE’s, there was a $2 million increase in capital funding for urban forestry. This means that in the FY 2022 budget, there is more money for planting, pruning, and other tree programming. We also advocated for non-budget items, such as amending the Urban Forest Preservation Act, particularly to strengthen the language around Tree Preservation Plans (these are the plans that need to be submitted when developing or applying for a tree removal permit).

All in all, it was an eventful and successful advocacy effort by the Casey Trees staff. If you would like to learn more about what was presented, you can check out all the Budget Oversight comments submitted. You too could advocate for District trees when you become an Advocate with Casey Trees!