City of Tomahawk among recipients of DNR’s Urban Forestry Catastrophic Storm Grant
By Jalen Maki
Tomahawk Leader Editor
TOMAHAWK – The City of Tomahawk was one of five communities that received an Urban Forestry Catastrophic Storm Grant from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to assist with damage sustained during extreme storm events that occurred throughout the state this summer.
The first of a pair of thunderstorms hit the Tomahawk area on July 26. Strong winds took down trees and damaged power lines, knocking out electricity for more than 60,000 homes.
Two days later, on July 28, with more than 15,000 homes still without power, a second storm hit the area. Torrential rain and intense winds caused additional damage, leaving thousands more homes without electricity.
Trees throughout the city and in Bradley Park were toppled or damaged by the severe weather.
The City of Tomahawk Common Council in September approved a resolution allowing the city to apply for the grant funding. At the time of the vote, the city had spent roughly $17,000 on storm damage cleanup in Bradley Park.
Marathon County, the City of Omro, the City of Ripon, and the City of Watertown will join the City of Tomahawk in dividing $104,920.00 in fiscal year 2022 state grant dollars.
The DNR said catastrophic storm grants typically range from $4,000 to $50,000, but due to the high number of applications, applicants could receive a maximum of $22,965.
“Each applicant received at least partial funding,” DNR stated, adding that the grants do not require a dollar-for-dollar match.
The DNR’s Urban Forestry Catastrophic Storm Grant program funds tree repair, removal or replacement within urban areas following a catastrophic storm event for which the governor has declared a State of Emergency under state statutes.
On July 28, Governor Tony Evers signed Executive Order #128 declaring a State of Emergency following the severe weather.
“Evers’ executive order directs state agencies to help those affected by the storms,” DNR said. “It also allows the Wisconsin National Guard to be called to active duty, as the adjutant general deems necessary, to provide assistance supporting local authorities with their recovery efforts.”
In the event of a State of Emergency, the program allocates 20% of its available annual funds to aid communities, nonprofits and Tribes.
The DNR said a catastrophic storm is defined as damage to urban forests caused by snow, ice, hail, wind or tornado. A catastrophic storm does not include insect infestation or disease, forest fire, drought or water saturation due to flooding.