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Derecho damage to urban tree canopy costs Iowans $20 million in annual benefits, survey finds

Volunteers came to the aid of those dealing with damage following severe storms in Iowa.
Volunteers came to the aid of those dealing with damage following severe storms in Iowa.(KCRG)
Published: Sep. 15, 2021 at 7:05 AM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - A new survey by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources found an estimated 7 million trees were damaged or destroyed in Iowa by the August 10, 2020, derecho.

The DNR’s survey says the derecho damaged or destroyed an estimated 4,424,426 individual trees, and 32,773 acres of urban tree canopy across Iowa - with the highest numbers coming from Linn County.

The DNR defines “urban tree canopy” as the layer of tree leaves, branches and stems in a community that covers the ground when viewed from above.

The survey shows Iowans lost an estimated $20 million in annual benefits from that tree canopy.

An additional 2.7 million trees were damaged or destroyed on rural lands, according to the survey.

The derecho brought sustained wind speeds of 70 mph for nearly an hour over much of central and eastern Iowa.

The National Weather Service estimated the strongest wind speeds in Cedar Rapids at 140 mph, the highest wind speeds ever recorded during a derecho.

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