A Port of Long Beach funded tree-planting initiative to cut greenhouse gases will kick off this Saturday, Feb. 23, at Silverado Park. "I Dig Long Beach – 6,000 Trees by 2020" will begin with the planting of 50 trees in the park and adjacent John Muir Elementary School.
The park is located at 32nd Street and Santa Fe Avenue. The event will begin at 2 p.m. and scheduled speakers include Mayor Bob Foster and Port of Long Beach Commissioner Nick Sramek.
The Port awarded a $671,200 Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Grant to the City's Development Services Department to fund "I Dig Long Beach." The money will support the development of an “urban forest” throughout Long Beach. Urban forests help absorb greenhouse gases, provide wild life habitat, cool land surface, and increase property values.
The City's urban forest program is among 28 projects that were awarded a total of $5.4 million by the Port in 2012 to reduce, avoid, or capture emissions of greenhouse gases. Other projects include the replacement of 7,000 square feet of pavement and turf with trees and drought-tolerant native plants at Willmore City Historic District, and the restoration of a portion of Colorado Lagoon with native drought-tolerant plants.
On Tuesday, the Board of Harbor Commissioners approved additional greenhouse grants including $390,000 to the Aquarium of the Pacific to replace its old boiler system with an energy-efficient model.
In addition to the greenhouse gas grants, the Port has awarded $5 million in mitigation funding to health care and senior facilities, and $4.7 million to schools and related sites. The Port’s Community Mitigation Grant Programs are designed to offset some of the negative impacts of development and port operations that cannot be completely eliminated through technology. Since 2005, the Port has decreased diesel pollution levels by 75 percent and is striving to reach zero emissions.
Funds for the grants are generated through Port construction projects such as the Middle Harbor Redevelopment and Gerald Desmond Bridge Replacement.