U.S. Forest Service Urban Tree Planting for Stormwater

Grant Funding to allow Green Design Inclusion into Planned Road Reconstruction Projects

One of PVPC’s major areas of work is reducing combined sewer overflow discharges into the Connecticut River, which is the region's most significant natural resource. Street trees planted in urban areas offer a low-cost way to address stormwater runoff into the Connecticut River, while at the same time providing more attractive neighborhood environments for walking and biking, and thus reducing car use and improving property values.

Funded by a 2015 grant from the U.S.D.A. Forest Service, the Urban Tree Planting for Stormwater project sought to achieve multiple environmental benefits. The project goal was planting more street trees in Springfield, Chicopee and Holyoke to reduce combined sewer overflows and stormwater runoff into the Connecticut River. Urban trees and other green infrastructure installations divert stormwater runoff away from rivers and streams and also reduce stormwater burdens on wastewater treatment plants, where storms can cause combined sewer overflows to pour into the Connecticut River.


The Pioneer Valley Planning Commission partnered with the Cities of Springfield, Chicopee and Holyoke, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and the Conway School of Design. DCR contributed trees for planting, while students from the Conway School led or co-facilitated interactive public workshops to identify and design appropriate locations for the installation of street trees and green infrastructure into future road reconstruction projects.


Project partners hosted public workshops from 2016-2018 to promote green streets in the three cities as part of a three-year effort to integrate more urban trees and green infrastructure into planned city road reconstruction projects. Initial interactive workshops gave residents the opportunity to enjoy light refreshments while learning all about green streets, tree planting, care and maintenance from Dave Bloniarz, an urban forester with the U.S. Forest Service. Many residents in attendan

ce were also able to schedule free tree plantings on their property by DCR personnel, which supported the overall goal of the project.

Feedback on the project from local partners highlighted how crucial this work is for the three largest urban areas in the Pioneer Valley.

“Nuestras Raices is pleased to be a part of this project that will bring more street trees to Holyoke’s downtown neighborhoods, providing shade to pedestrians and helping to reduce stormwater pollution of the Connecticut River,” said Felix Machuca, Director of Operations at Nuestras Raices. “Making Holyoke greener will make it a more attractive place to live and visit, and we are excited that residents will have the opportunity to learn how to care for urban trees and provide input on the design of green streets for areas in downtown Holyoke.”

“Valley Opportunity Council is excited to connect Chicopee residents with the opportunity to learn about the importance of urban street trees and how to care for them in their neighborhoods,” said Steve Huntley, Executive Director of Valley Opportunity Council. “Chicopee is dealing with the very expensive task of remediating all of its combined sewer system. Increasing the amount of street trees in Chicopee will help reduce the costs of pollution and beautify neighborhoods at the same time.”

In Holyoke and Chicopee, three two-block study areas were selected based on their location in an area with combined sewer systems and planned upcoming roadwork. In Springfield, green streets landscape plans were created for the X neighborhood, where an engineering consultant was already in the process of preparing engineering plans for an infrastructure project that will be constructed by the city as part of other roadway improvements.

For more information, contact eslotnick@pvpc.org.

Continuing, Comprehensive, and Cooperative Planning Process

Average Annual Daily Traffic

American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials

Advisory Council on Historic Preservation

Americans with Disabilities Act (1990)

Average Daily Traffic

American Farmland Trust

Alternative Fuel Vehicles

American Heritage Rivers Initiative

American International College

Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations

Approval Not Required

American Planning Association

Aquifer Protection District

Air Quality Index

Air Quality Index

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (of 2009)

Automatic Traffic Recorder

Average Vehicle Ridership

Barnes Aquifer Protection Advisory Committee

Business Improvement District

Bicycle Level of Service

Best Management Practice

Bridge Management System

Board of Appeals (or Adjustment)

Board of Health

Berkshire Regional Planning Commission

Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990

Commercial Area Revitalization District

Community Action Statement

Central Business District

Cape Cod Commission

Cooperating Colleges of Greater Springfield

Community Development

Community Development Action Grant

Community Development Block Grant

Centers for Disease Control

Community Development Corporation

Community Development Fund

Community Development Plan

Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation

Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation

Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy

Community Enterprise Economic Development

Citizen Housing and Planning Association

Community Housing Development Organizations

Capital Improvement Inventory System

Capital Improvements Plan (or Program)

Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program

Congestion Management Process

Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission

Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Area

Compressed Natural Gas

Carbon Monoxide

Council of Governments

Commonwealth Procurement Access and Solicitation System

Community Preservation Act

Citizen Planner Training Collaborative

Capitol Region Council of Governments

Community Service Block Grant

Combined Sewer Overflow

Department of Conservation and Recreation

Department of Environmental Protection

Division of Employment and Training

Department of Housing and Community Development

Direct Local Technical Assistance

Department of Energy Resources

Department of Revenue

Department of Transportation

Department of Public Works

Developments of Regional Impact

Executive Order

Production of affordable housing across a broad range of incomes 

Economic Assistance Coordinating Council

Economic Development Administration

Economic Development Council

Economic Development District

Economic Development Data and Information System

Economic Development and Industrial Corporation

Environmental Impact Report

Environmental Impact Statement

Environmental Justice

Environmental Notification Form

Economic Opportunity Area

Executive Office of Administration and Finance

Executive Office of Economic Affairs

Executive Office of Elder Affairs

Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs

Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development

Environmental Protection Agency

Environmental Site Assessment

Economic Target Area

Federal Aid

Functional Classification (of roadways)

Federal Housing Administration

Federal Highway Administration - An agency of the United States Department of Transportation that provides financial and technical support to each state for constructing, improving, and preserving America’s highway system.

Federal Highway Administration

Franklin Regional Council of Governments

Federal Transit Administration

Greenhouse Gas

Geographic Information System - A system for capturing, storing, analyzing and managing data and associated attributes which are spatially referenced to the earth.

Geographic Information System

Global Positioning System

Housing Appeal Committee


Holyoke Community College

Housing Development Support Program

Housing Innovation Fund

Home Modification for Individuals with Disabilities Loan

Highway Overlay District

Historic Overlay District

Homeownership Opportunities Program

High Occupancy Vehicle

Housing Preservation Grant

Housing Production Plan

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Invitation for Bid

Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991

Intelligent Transportation Systems

Job Access and Reverse Commute

Jacob's Ladder Scenic Byway

Jacob's Ladder Trail

Joint Transportation Committee

Local Board(s) of Health

Limited English Proficiency

Local Housing Authority

Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program

Low Income Housing Tax Credit

Level of Service

Local Option Transportation Tax

Local Pavement Management System

Light Rail Vehicle

Local Technical Assistance

Massachusetts General Laws

Hazardous waste cleanup regulations

Uniform procurement law for local governments


Planning/comprehensive permits

Smart growth zoning and housing production

Smart growth school cost reimbursement

Subdivision control

Expedited permitting

Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century

Metropolitan Area Planning Council

Massachusetts Association of Regional Planning Agencies

Massachusetts Department of Transportation

Massachusetts Geographic Information System

Minority Business Enterprises

Massachusetts Development Finance Agency 

Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act

Massachusetts Geographic Information Council

Massachusetts Historical Commission 

Massachusetts Housing Partnership

Massachusetts Industrial Finance Agency

Municipal Incentive Grant

Massachusetts Municipal Association

Memorandum of Agreement

Massachusetts Office of Business Development

Massachusetts Office on Disability

Memorandum of Understanding

Metropolitan Planning Organization

Metropolitan Planning Organization

Montachusett Regional Planning Commission

Metropolitan Statistical Area

Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices

Martha's Vineyard Commission

Merrimack Valley Planning Commission

Massachusetts Water Resources Authority

National Association of Regional Councils

New England Association of Regional Councils

Non-Federal Aid

National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (as amended)

National Highway System

Neighborhood Housing Services program

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Northern Middlesex Council of Governments

Nitrogen Oxide

Nantucket Planning and Economic Development Commission

National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System 

National Trust for Historic Preservation

National Transportation Safety Board

Old Colony Planning Council

Overall Condition Index (Pavement)

Open Space and Recreation Plan

Pavement Condition Index

Priority Development Fund

Purchase of Development Rights

Peak Hour Traffic (or Trips)

Payment in Lieu of Taxes

[Metropolitan] Planning Funds

Pavement Management System 

Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area

Pavement Management Users Group

Planner on a Disc

Public Participation Process

Planned Unit Residential Development

Pioneer Valley Regional Brownfields Cleanup Revolving Loan Fund

Pioneer Valley Transit Authority

Quaboag Valley Community Development Corp.

Rental Development Action Loan

Regional Employment Board

Regional Education and Business Alliance

Regional Economic Models, Inc.

Request For Proposal

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Request for Response

Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative

Roadway Inventory Files

Revolving Loan Fund

Regional Planning Agency

Regional Pavement Management System

Regional Transit Authority

Regional Technology Corporation

Regional Transportation Plan

Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users

Small Business Administration

Supplier Diversity Office 

State Implementation Plan (for air quality)

Sustainable Knowledge Corridor

Single Occupancy Vehicle

Special Permit

Special Permit Planning

Site Plan Review

Statewide Planning and Research Funds

Single Room Occupancy

Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District

Springfield Technical Community College

Statewide Transportation Improvement Program

Surface Transportation Program

Targeted Brownfields Assessment

Transportation and Community System Preservation [Pilot Program]

Transportation Demand Management

Transfer of Development Rights

Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century

Tax Increment Financing

Transportation Improvement Program

The Literacy Project

Turning Movement Count

Traditional Neighborhood District

Transit Oriented Design (or Development)

Transportation Research Board

Trip Reduction Ordinance

Transportation Systems Management

Urban Growth Boundary

Urban Land Institute

University of Massachusetts

University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute

Unified Planning Work Program

Urban Revitalization Development Grant

U.S. Department of Agriculture

U.S. Department of the Interior

U.S. Forest Service

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

U.S. Geological Survey

U.S. Public Land Survey

Underground Storage Tanks

Vehicle Miles Traveled

Volatile Organic Compound

Vehicle Occupancy Rate

Ware Adult Learning Center

Weatherization Assistance Program

Women-owned Business Enterprises

Wellhead Protection Area

Western New England University

Water Quality Management Plan

Westfield River Watershed Association

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Water Supply Protection [District]

Westfield State University

Zoning Board of Adjustment (or Appeals)



Chicopee Green Streets: Green Infrastructure Designs for the Industrial Downtown
Conway School report prepared for the City of Chicopee & the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission for the US Forest Service Urban Tree Planting for Stormwater project


Greening the Paper City
Conway School report prepared for the City of Holyoke & the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission for the US Forest Service Urban Tree Planting for Stormwater project


Greening the X: A Vision for Green Streets in Springfield, MA
Conway School report prepared for the City of Springfield & the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission for the US Forest Service Urban Tree Planting for Stormwater project

News and Articles

23 Jan

The Cities of Chicopee and Holyoke and their partners – Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, Valley Opportunity Council and Nuestras Raices - will be hosting a second set of public workshops to promote green streets in those communities to resume a three-year effort to integrate more urban trees and green infrastructure into planned city road reconstruction projects. 

05 Jan

The Cities of Chicopee and Holyoke and their partners – Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, Valley Opportunity Council and Nuestras Raices - will be hosting public workshops to promote green streets in those communities next week to resume a three-year effort to integrate more urban trees and green infrastructure into planned city road reconstruction projects.