PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Hurricane Michael robbed the Panhandle of millions of trees, and Panama City officials are taking steps to replace some of them.
Commissioners accepted grants on Tuesday from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Florida Forestry Services for the city’s re-tree initiative.
They will receive $100,000 over the next three years.
Experts estimate the city lost around 80 percent of the tree canopy during the storm.
Last year, they created a digital tree inventory to track what’s left and what areas need help. The rest of the money will pay for tree giveaways in the community for the next two years.
City officials have also planted more than 200 trees in the past few months.
“They can go to the residents and plant these trees that are native to our region,” Quality of Life Director Sean DePalma said. “What we’re doing is trying to re-tree properties throughout the city so we’re not focused on one region, but we’re spreading it throughout the city.”
The next tree giveaways are next week at the St. Andrews and downtown farmers markets on Saturday, December 11 at 9 a.m. The free trees are all native to the area.