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The proposed tree inventory and management plan are essential tools to help protect and enhance the city’s urban forest resources. The environmental, economic and social benefits of street trees in both residential and commercial districts are well documented. Street trees improve the livability of towns and cities in a number of ways including reducing stormwater runoff, increasing air quality, storing carbon, providing shade and reducing urban heat-island effects. Street trees have also been shown to increase property values, lower average electricity bills of surrounding households, and make a community more walkable and bikeable through the beautification of streets and lowering average driving speeds, making roadways safer for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers alike.
The GIS-based inventory will provide pertinent empirical data needed by the City’s Urban Tree Division, a subsidiary of the Department of Public Works Maintenance Division, which maintains the urban forest of over 12,000 city trees. The inventory will be conducted city-wide to document the location, species, tree size, condition, primary maintenance, requirements, and risk rating of all trees on city-owned property. The inventory will also note available tree planting spaces. A Community Forest Management Plan will then utilize this data to strategize and prioritize tree maintenance, planting, and removal. The development of the management plan will also enable the City to engage local residents, educate the public about the City’s urban forest, and foster community ownership over protecting and enhancing the City’s forest assets.