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FEMA Offers Tree Help

There were 83,944 applications for assistance filed statewide.

Along with the loss of homes, vehicles, personal belongings and the hardships associated with being displaced, one loss triggered by Hurricane Isabel can be understandably overlooked — trees. It's also another area where the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has stepped in with advice and aid.

"Fall is the traditional time to plant trees and shrubs around the home, and many people in Virginia are taking advantage of the current cycle of moderate weather to replace those lost or damaged during Hurricane Isabel," said Douglas Welty, FEMA Public Affairs.

The federal agency is directing homeowners and businesses to web sites where they can obtain advice on tree replacement from a variety of state and local resources, according to Welty.

"However, before starting the planting process homeowners should consider the following," Welty said.

* Is the tree suitable for the area?

* Is the tree and site compliant with city and/or county ordinances?

* Is the site appropriate for the tree selected?

AS FOR WEB sites available to gain advice and information on replanting, FEMA suggested:

* International Society of Arboriculture at www.goodtreecare.com

* Natural Resources Conservation Service at www.va.nrcs.usda.gov.

* Natural Plants Data Center at http://plants.usda.gov.

* Virginia Cooperative Extension at www.ext.vt.edu.

* Virginia Department of Forestry at www.vdof.org.

* Virginia Tech Guide to Trees and Shrubs at www.cnr.vt.edu/dendro

* International Society of Arboriculture at www.isa- arbor.com/home.asp.

* Virginia Urban Forest Council www.treesvirginia.org.

* Tree Link at www.treelink.org.

AS FOR RECOVERY costs associated with Hurricane Isabel, FEMA's latest statistics indicate there have been 83,944 applications for assistance filed statewide. Total Individual and Household Program [IHP] grants approved for Virginia have been 17,450 accounting for $39,400,000.

Within Northern Virginia, jurisdictional applications and amount of aid disbursed have been:

* Fairfax County: 1,000 application for $965,383

* Alexandria City: 209 applications for $168,850

* Arlington County: 81 applications for $33,413

* Fairfax City: 22 applications for $19,212

* City of Falls Church: 17 applications for $4,465

* Manassas: Five applications no dollar amount at this writing

Additional disaster information is available at www.fema.gov or www.sba.gov. FEMA can also be reached through its 24 hour fax-on-demand service by calling 202-646-FEMA.