Jan 12, 2021

Reforesting Pontchartrain Park Campaign to Reduce Storm Water Runoff

New Orleans, Louisiana's Pontchartrain Park campaign will reduce storm water runoff by planting 700 trees in historic subdivision

Sustaining Our Urban Landscape (SOUL), a nonprofit, will launch its Reforesting Pontchartrain Park campaign on Jan. 15. 

The group plans to plant 700 native trees in historic Pontchartrain Park, according to the Gentilly Messenger. There will be one tree in front of every home.

Trees planted during this project will help to mitigate storm water runoff and cool and clean the air while creating shade. SOUL is working with the Pontchartrain Park Neighborhood Association to coordinate the efforts and with the Water Collaborative of Greater New Orleans to conduct educational outreach, reported the Gentilly Messenger. 

The timing is in part to honor the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. while celebrating Louisiana State Arbor Day. To follow the city’s modified Phase 1 response to COVID-19, the campaign launch will take place online.

SOUL’s goal is to fundraise $175,000 to reforest the neighborhood. 

“I grew up in Pontchartrain Park and attend church in this neighborhood,” said SOUL board member Eugene Green. “This community is historically significant as the country’s first planned suburban community built for Black residents. It deserves a tree canopy that is as notable as its history, and one that protects it from climate change and the storms and flooding that are part of life here.” 

By planting 700 trees on contiguous blocks, the project will mitigate between 140,000 and 616,000 gallons of water per day when the trees have matured, according to SOUL. The planting effort is expected to take place from Oct. 2021 to Mar. 2022, reported the Gentilly Messenger.  

“A mature Bald Cypress tree drinks 880 gallons of storm water per day,” said Susannah Burley, SOUL’s executive director. “But one tree can’t change this neighborhood’s hydrology; 700 strategically planted, water-loving trees can. When trees are planted so they can behave as a system, they can completely alter how this historic community responds to a heavy rain event.” 

More details and the opportunity to make a donation can be found here. Those interested in sponsoring the project may contact SOUL’s executive director, Susannah Burley, at [email protected] or 504-616-6888.

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