The U.S. Forest Service is awarding $200,000 in grant funding to mitigating the impact of the Emerald Ash Borer with Restoration Of Our Trees Sheboygan, the local program known as ROOTS.

The project will focus primarily on tree planting to replace the loss of ash trees and restore function to the Sheboygan River watershed and the Lake Michigan basin.

The grant will fund the planting of approximately 2,000 trees at sites on county-owned land including the Broughton Sheboygan County Marsh, Gerber Lake, Esslingen, Roy Sebald, and Taylor Parks.

This project is one of only 21 projects selected for funding through this highly competitive federal grant program.

This project builds on complementary projects that ROOTS is actively engaged in and established relationships with local government, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR), and nonprofit partners that are part of the local EAB mitigation effort.

ROOTS was formed as a partnership between the Sheboygan Rotary Club and Lakeshore Natural Resource Partnership in response to the devastating loss of ash trees and is working to combat that loss and restore the tree canopy through public-private collaboration in Sheboygan County.

ROOTS is engaging the community through outreach and education and has held landowner workshops to help private landowners come to terms with the loss of trees that they will be faced with and gain an understanding of the options available to safely treat or remove dead and dying trees.

In townships across Sheboygan County, ROOTS is working to update tree inventories and aid in the creation of individualized EAB recovery plans to help these communities deal with the overwhelming loss of trees on public lands.  Volunteers are instrumental in this process and are helping by identifying and measuring trees.  These efforts are a part of another project that is funded through the WDNR Urban Forestry Grant Program.

ROOTS is looking for local philanthropists who want to make a difference in the communities in which we all live, work, and play by contributing to an investment fund for additional public tree plantings and other management activities.

Support from local businesses, foundations, and individuals is needed, and donations of any amount are welcomed and appreciated.

To learn more about the ROOTS initiative or make a donation, please visit or email Tony at or Kendra at

In total, the U.S. Forest Service is awarding more than $4 million in grants to support Great Lakes Restoration Initiative efforts in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

The selected projects range from those targeting invasive insect impacts on forests to projects reducing storm runoff through green infrastructure, enhancing wetland filtration and restoring riparian areas.

Lakeshore Natural Resource Partnership is the only grant recipient to qualify for multiple grants, with another award in the amount of $350,000 to fund the Lake Michigan Coastal Wetland Filtration Project.

7,300 trees with be planted as a part of this project, at sites in Manitowoc, Kewaunee, and Door in addition to Sheboygan County, which will intercept 87,600 gallons of stormwater runoff annually, diversify degraded forests, restore canopy cover, provide critical migratory pathways, enhance riparian and shoreline habitats, and enable ecosystem resiliency within Lake Michigan coastal ecosystems.