RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Richmond shot over a five-year goal for the number of trees to be planted in the city, the Department of Public Utilities announced Tuesday, Dec. 6.

The goal was set in 2017 as a part of the RVA Clean Water Plan. According to the Department of Public Utilities, the plan outlined goals and strategies to bring cleaner water to Richmond and the James River.

One of the strategies outlined in the plan, and utilized exceedingly well, was to plant more trees. A five-year goal of planting 24,000 trees on public property was set.

“Our RVAH2O stakeholders and partners blew this goal out of the water, and well in advance of our ideal timeline,” the Department of Public Utilities announced on Twitter.

According to the tweet, 35,870 trees have been planted by the organization and its partners across Richmond as of Dec. 6. The number means the goal that was set in the RVA Clean Water Plan was reached ahead of schedule, by 149.5%.

Altogether, the Department of Public Utilities said the trees planted will provide an additional 120.3 acres of tree canopy across the city. Increased tree canopy assists with the elimination of urban heat islands and decreases heat retention in the city.

One such tree-planting project was completed by volunteers with Southside ReLeaf and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation in mid-October, 2021. The event provided community volunteers with the opportunity to plant 100 trees at the Hickory Hill Community Center. At the event, 200 additional trees were given away to citizens for planting in their own backyards.

The Department of Public Utilities said the goal could not have been reached without help from Reforest Richmond, Southside ReLeaf, the Richmond Department of Public Works, the City of Richmond Parks and Recreation Department, the James River Association, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and many more.