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City of Saint Paul Joins Twin Cities Urban Tree Carbon Offset Program in Collaboration with Green Cities Accord

On May 8, the Saint Paul City Council unanimously approved participation in an innovative urban tree carbon offset program in partnership with Green Cities Accord. The program is designed to increase funding for Twin Cities municipalities to support and sustain urban forestry initiatives, leveraging the capability of trees to combat the impacts of climate change and enhance the livability of urban communities. The City of St. Paul joins Hennepin County and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board as participants in the program.

“By partnering with Green Cities Accord, the tree planting that we are already doing will help pay for additional tree planting and maintenance,” said Russ Stark, Chief Resilience Officer for the City of Saint Paul. “This is a win-win for our community and helps us further develop our urban tree canopy, which has incredible benefits for public health and will better support our efforts to address climate change.”

The City of Saint Paul’s urban tree carbon offset project includes 11,288 trees planted by Saint Paul Parks and Recreation along streets and in parks between 2021 and 2023. These trees will be maintained and protected for the 26-year period of the project, and are projected to sequester an estimated 39,152 metric tons of carbon over the project duration. In addition to measuring carbon sequestration, the project quantifies improvements in air quality, stormwater capture, and energy use reductions attributable to the trees.

The project will undergo a third-party verification process this summer, after which City Forest Credits, a non-profit carbon registry that manages carbon and impact standards for metropolitan areas in the United States, will issue the first 10% of the project’s estimated 29,755 offsets projected to be issued throughout the duration of the project.

Green Cities Accord, a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing investments in urban tree canopy infrastructure, serves as the project operator. Overseeing the project’s administration throughout its 26-year lifespan, Green Cities Accord is responsible for the sale of offsets issued to the project. Proceeds from these sales, after administrative fees, will be reinvested in additional tree planting and maintenance by the City of Saint Paul.

“Increasing investments in urban tree canopy infrastructure is an effective and cost efficient method to mitigate the worst effects of climate change on urban communities. Through collaborative efforts like this partnership between the City of Saint Paul, Green Cities Accord, we can increase funding for urban trees and improve the livability of our urban communities.” said Michaela Neu of Green Cities Accord.

This project is the first in an anticipated long-term relationship between the City of Saint Paul and Green Cities Accord, whereby future tree plantings by Saint Paul Parks and Recreation will be enrolled in additional carbon offset projects, generating a new funding stream dedicated to the planting, maintenance and protection of trees across the City of Saint Paul.

About:

Saint Paul Parks and Recreation is a nationally accredited and gold medal award-winning organization that manages over 186 parks and open spaces, AZA-accredited Como Park Zoo and Conservatory, 26 city-operated recreation centers, more than 120 miles of trails, an indoor and two outdoor aquatic facilities, a public beach, a variety of premium sports facilities, municipal golf courses, and Great River Passage – which is the new identity for all proposed public development along Saint Paul’s more than 17 miles of Mississippi riverfront. Saint Paul Parks and Recreation is recognized by the Trust for Public Land™ ParkScore® as the #2 City Park System in the United States in 2023.

Green Cities Accord is a nonprofit conservancy with a mission to foster climate resilient communities through investments in tree canopy infrastructure.

City Forest Credits is a nonprofit carbon registry and certification organization. It provides reliable and efficient pathways for the private-sector to contribute to green, healthy, and more equitable cities through high-value urban forest projects.

Contacts:

Liz McDonald, Public Information Specialist
Saint Paul Parks and Recreation
li**********@ci.us

Michaela Neu, Director of Programs and Operations
Green Cities Accord
mn**@gr***************.org

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