SCHENECTADY — A plan to maintain the city’s “community forest,” which consists of thousands of trees found along roadsides and parks, is expected to be publicly reviewed later this month.
The city’s Community Forest Management Plan recommends spending thousands of dollars over a seven-year period to increase the number of trees throughout the city and maintain the 11,545 trees identified along public rights-of-way and parks.
The plan was completed following a citywide tree survey last year conducted by PlanIT GEO, a Colorado-based urban forestry consulting firm, which found that 80% of trees of the city are along public rights-of-way, most of which are in fair condition. . The survey and management plan was paid for with a $61,200 Urban and Community Forestry grant from the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
A copy of the plan is available on the city’s website and a public hearing is scheduled at the Mount Pleasant Public Library, located at 1036 Crane Street, on April 26 at 5:30 p.m.
“We look forward to hearing from the community as we roll out this comprehensive plan to create a healthy and sustainable community forest that is properly managed and maintained, for the benefit of all residents of Schenectady,” said Mayor Gary. McCarthy in a statement.
The plan outlines a series of short- and long-term recommendations to improve the city’s community forest, including the removal and replacement of more than 1,449 dead, diseased and damaged trees across the city.
Sixty-six of the trees are recommended for immediate removal, including 47 along public rights-of-way and 19 in city parks, while 1,380 are recommended for removal within three years.
The plan calls for planting up to 207 trees over a seven-year period to compensate for the loss.
Additionally, plans call for the creation of a seven-year pruning schedule once all dead and damaged trees have been removed to maintain 7,523 established trees. It is recommended that 1,074 trees be pruned each year, which includes the removal of dead or damaged branches and other maintenance work to ensure tree health.
A total of 2,473 other trees were classified as young in the survey, with diameters of 6 inches or less, and are recommended for “training pruning” over a three-year period to ensure good tree structure. branching and general good health. The plan foresees the pruning of 824 of these trees per year.
The plan recommends expenditures of $215,463 in the first year, and no less than $211,278 and $425,864 in the second and third years, respectively. The remaining four years require no less than $379,664 in spending, according to the plan.
“Annual budgetary funds are needed to ensure that high-risk trees are remediated and the crucial cycles of routine pruning and pruning of young trees can begin,” the plan says. “With proper professional maintenance of trees, the safety, health and beauty of the community forest will improve.”
Trees have a number of benefits in urban areas like Schenectady by helping to reduce stormwater runoff, increase property values and improve quality of life, according to the plan.
There are also a number of environmental benefits associated with a thriving urban forest, including improved air quality for residents and the capture of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas and a major contributor to the global warming.
“The quality of life for citizens in any community depends on the community forest, as trees make a vital and affordable contribution to a sense of community, walkable neighborhoods, energy conservation and air quality. “, indicates the plan.
The city has taken a number of steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in recent years, including installing a number of electric vehicle charging stations, LED streetlights and municipal solar panels.
In 2019, Schenectady was recognized as a Clean Energy Community by the State Energy Research and Development Authority and was recognized as a Climate Smart Community by the Department of Environmental Conservation of the state.
“Our goal is for these efforts to have a lasting impact on the health and vibrancy of our neighborhoods for generations to come,” McCarthy said.
Contact journalist Chad Arnold at: 518-410-5117 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @ChadGArnold.
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