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Omaha Parks Foundation aims to replace hundreds of damaged, uprooted trees

Published: Jul. 17, 2021 at 10:50 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - The devastation from last weekend’s storm will be visible across the city for weeks, maybe months.

Now, the Omaha Parks Foundation says planting new trees to replace damaged ones needs to start as soon as possible.

“It’s kind of unbelievable because some of these trees are so grand, so strong so tall,” says Tiffany Regan with the Omaha Parks Foundation. “You think of them as stately and then how they can be when mother nature takes its course.”

Hundreds, if not thousands of trees were injured or uprooted in a matter of hours. To combat the downed trees and newly naked landscape in many cases, the foundation has created the Giving Trees: Helping Restore Omaha’s Canopy initiative, to help raise funds to replant.

“Our goal is to raise as much money as possible because the more trees we can buy in bulk, the cost goes down,” Regan says.

The cost to replace a single tree is $250.

Giving Trees: Helping Restore Omaha's Tree Canopy The most recent July storms have impacted trees in our parks. Winds of 95+mph obliterated hundreds if not thousands of trees throughout the Omaha area. The city's Forestry Division is already extremely taxed due to the infestation of Emerald Ash Borer and regular forestry maintenance, but especially in the ability to fund the replacement of such a massive loss of trees. While it will take time to assess the damage to Omaha Parks, we know the city will need our help with the restoration. We would love to replace the damaged trees. Tree replacement is $250 per tree. However, we will gladly collect any amount. If you would like to help in this initiative, please consider donating today by clicking here- https://www.omahaparksfoundation.org/get-involved/donate All contributions are 100% tax-deductable.

Posted by Omaha Parks Foundation on Friday, July 16, 2021

“100 trees, that’s $25,000 dollars, and so that is a lot, but it also ensures the planting of it properly, the care of it while it’s young so it can take root and be sustainable.”

Between the storm and the impacts of the Emerald Ash Borer, the need for new trees is great than ever, Regan says.

The Forestry Department for the City of Omaha has been working to cut down weak trees affected by the insect since 2016.

“They’ve been trying to get those trees down and focus on them and replanting because they’re cutting down faster than they’re able to replenish and then you have this [the storm] compounding their efforts, and the city is only capable of doing so much within their budget when they have things like this that they don’t expect,” Regan tells 6 News.

As the initiative gets underway, Regan hopes that people will remember how big of a role the massive plants play in our lives.

“They provide shade, protect from the sun, absorb water, collect pollutants from the air and ground, they serve as natural storm drains, they’re just so important and people don’t think about it.”

Regan tells 6 News the city has a crafted and comprehensive plan to replenish and diversify Omaha’s canopy, but just needs a little extra help with funding.

To make a donation, you can head to the Omaha Parks Foundation website.

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