Community Application

NIRPC is currently accepting applications for the Fall 2021 planting season through the CommuniTree-Community Tree Grant Program. The CommuniTree Program partners are happy to coordinate with anyone interested in applying this fall to help with planting plans and their applications.


Trees, in most cases, must be planted in public spaces such as parks, schools, churches and along public roadway easements within northwest Indiana’s Lake Michigan Watershed (MAP). If there are no public spaces available, trees can be planted on private property. Restrictions apply and applicants considering this must coordinate with NIRPC and its CommuniTree partners prior to submitting and application. Eligible applicants include municipalities, schools, churches, conservation organizations and other public entities.


NIRPC’s current US Forest Service grant used to purchase and subaward these trees has a 20% non-federal local match requirement. Applicants must be willing to track and submit in-kind services directly attributable to the planting, inventory, and care of these trees. In general, NIRPC has found that the hours spent planting and watering during the growing season accounts for match requirements. You can download a copy of the CommuniTree in-kind tracking sheet HERE.

Tree Maintenance Agreement

The first three years following planting are critical to the tree’s establishment and health. Applicants receiving trees must agree to a two-year water program. The trees generally need to be watered on a weekly basis, 5-15 gallons per tree depending on soils, during the growing season. Extended drought conditions may require a third year for establishment. Two to four inches of mulch needs to be applied at planting and checked each year. Click the following link to download a copy of the USDA Forest Service Tree Owner’s Manual for more information on tree planting and maintenance.

Tree Maintenance Agreement

During the fall of 2020, NIRPC released a GIS based survey to inventory trees awarded and planted through the Community Tree Grant Program. The survey can be completed in the field during tree planting using a smartphone with GPS tracking enabled. The survey typically takes less than one minute to complete per tree if done at the time of planting. Information collected includes organization name, tree species, nursery, and planting year. The data will be used to create an online map showing planting locations and species. Applicants will be required to inventory the tress they have been awarded. Training will be available on how to complete the survey.

Time Line

Application Due Date:  Friday, July 30, 2021

Anticipated Notice of Award Date:  Friday, August 27, 2021

Tree Planting & Care Workshop and tree pick up date: Monday, October 6th, 9 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.; tree pick up immediately following workshop.


Forms:  PDF (fillable)  | WORD

Applications may be submitted electronically to Joe Exl at Please include organization name followed by CommuniTree Fall 2021 Application in the subject line. (Example: Porter County SWCD CommuniTree Fall 2021 Application)

Alternatively, applications can be mailed to:

Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission
ATTN: Joe Exl
6100 Southport Rd.
Portage, IN 46368

Program Goal & Funding

As of 2020, approximately 8,000 trees had been planted through the CommuniTree Program in Northwest Indiana. Another 1,000 are planned for 2021.

Funding for the CommuniTree Community Tree Grant Program is made possible through a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant awarded to the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission by the USDA Forest Service.