West Palm Beach tree planting project aims to address extreme heat
Residents living in the Historic Northwest District of West Palm Beach will have reasons to feel cooler in the future.
The city of West Palm Beach is aiming to plant hundreds of trees in the neighborhood. It's part of a sustainability plan that could limit high temperatures experienced throughout the immediate area.
The city’s Office of Sustainability is currently planting more than 200 street trees through the month of June. More than 10 tree species, ranging from Like Oak to Tamarind, will complement new shade canopies.
It’s all part of the city’s plan to increase storm water uptake, remove carbon dioxide, and expand tree canopy coverage.
With that, city officials are hopeful heat levels could be reduced in historically underserved West Palm Beach neighborhoods.
A 2019 peer-reviewed study by the Union of Concerned Scientists forecasts that the number of days with temperatures hovering above 100°F could quadruple in Florida by mid-century.
Extreme heat, according to the study, is the leading cause of weather-related fatalities.
West Palm Beach's Office of Sustainability, which also creates water and energy conservation programs, is a "dedicated office addressing climate change, sustainability and resiliency issues," according to its mission statement.
The city’s Community Redevelopment Agency, or CRA, set aside a budget to water and prune the trees for two years after planting.