Leesburg Bolsters Environmental Efforts with $50K Forestry Grant

Leesburg, VA – The Town of Leesburg has recently secured a significant environmental grant, receiving $50,000 from the Virginia Trees for Clean Water (VTCW) program, backed by the Virginia Department of Forestry. This initiative is a strategic effort to bolster tree canopy cover throughout the state, with a keen focus on improving water quality and aligning with the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan.

Noble Atkins, Leesburg’s Urban Forester and Landscape Management Specialist, underscored the importance of tree canopy preservation, a long-standing priority for the town. Leesburg’s first decade-long tree canopy study, concluded in June, revealed a loss of 27 acres of trees between 2005 and 2015, primarily due to urban development.

Efforts to mitigate this impact have been underway, including preservation activities on various projects and the planting of new trees along Battlefield Parkway and in town medians.

“This grant is a game-changer for us,” Atkins commented. “It matches our existing funds, allowing us to significantly expand our tree-planting initiatives and enhance our canopy cover.” Atkins also noted the grant’s role in combating invasive species like the Tree of Heaven and the Spotted Lanternfly.

“I am thrilled for the value this adds to both the tree canopy as well as the added beautification of the Town,” he added, praising the collective effort behind this achievement. “It was a great team effort and a great way to end the year.”

The Leesburg Town Council is set to formally accept and appropriate the grant in a meeting scheduled for January 2024. The subsequent planting phase is expected to commence shortly after, with completion anticipated by spring.