The city is making real progress as we begin to implement our urban forestry program.
Our Engineering and Street Departments — among others — are working hard to take on this new city service, and I’m proud of what’s they’ve done. As I’ve written before, I think this is the right thing to do, and I wholly support our work in this area. In fact, I want to see us expand it, creating a true urban forestry program that includes added manpower and a clear replanting plan.
But first things first: tree removal and pruning. Here is an update on how those are going …
- Since the council adopted the revised tree ordinance and policy in May, a tree inventory has been used to identify trees that the Street Department could potentially remove based on diameter, equipment, training and experience (typically trees 16 inches in diameter and less). Street Department personnel had to review each tree and have removed 35 trees this season, as of August 15, inlcluding a number downtown.
- We have begun more focused work in the First District, as this will be done in phases. The Engineering Department has reviewed all trees identified as dead or in poor condition to determine if trees are considered public or private under the adopted city ordinance. Some property owners were sent a letter stating that a tree is in need of removal or pruning, or that the tree was considered private, but that its condition was potentially hazardous.
- In all, there are 75 “public” trees in the First District that should be removed based on their condition, ranging from 17 to 49 inches in diameter. The trees (28 ash, 11 silver maple, 12 Norway maple and other species) are dead or in very poor condition.
- Another 24 public trees are identified for pruning due to dead branches or other issues (height).
- We are now seeking a contactor to remove the 75 trees, including stump removal, and do pruning work. Removals will be done by Dec. 1, weather permitting, with stump grinding possible in 2015.
- Work is expected to move to the Second District in 2015.
Our city engineer has also put together a good Q&A document about our urban forestry efforts. Check it out here.
And I’ll continue to keep you posted on the progress we’re making.