Caring for Our Urban Forest
When we plant and nurture trees in our urban environment they are beneficial to our health and our communities. Trees remove pollutants from the air and catch rainwater. Neighborhoods filled with trees create an environment to help reduce stress from the mind and body. The California State Governor, in cooperation with California State Legislature, enacted Propositions 40 and 84 which provide funds to the State and its political subdivisions for urban forestry programs. The State Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CalFire) has been given the responsibility to administer the program within the State, pursuant to the California Clean Water, Clean Air, Safe Neighborhood Parks, and Coastal Protection Act of 2002. The mission of CalFire's Urban Forestry Program is to lead efforts advancing the development of sustainable urban and community forests in California.
The District's first step in caring for our urban forest is defining our resources. The Fulton-El Camino Recreation and Park District entered into an agreement with the State of California to carry out a Tree Inventory Urban Forestry Grant Project on behalf of the Southgate Recreation & Park District, Arcade Creek Recreation and Park District, and the Arden Manor Recreation and Park District. An Arborist Consultant and Certified Tree Risk Assessor was hired to inventory the trees in all the parks, parkways and landscape corridors of each district.
This project is now finished and each district has a current and complete inventory of all the trees owned and maintained within its boundaries. This inventory notes the location, species, size (3 calculations), drip line environment, structural condition, health, potential for infrastructure conflicts, hazard potential and recommendations for each tree on district owned property, as well as noting empty planting locations.
Southgate Recreation & Park District has taken the first step in better understanding the value of its forest asset, as well as the needs and distribution of its trees. The District is now ready to move forward with an Urban Forest Management Plan which will identify the history of our culturally significant trees, determine reasonable maintenance goals and set a standard maintenance cycle so that we will have healthy trees for years to come.
The District was successful in applying for a second grant from CALFIRE for the development and implementation of an Urban Forest Management Plan. It is the District's goal to draft a plan that represents both the values of our community and the needs of our forest. In order to do this, we need resident and stakeholder input to define community values and priorities associated with forest management tasks. Community participation is critical to help the District proactively manage our forest in a way that is within our budget and reflects what is most important to our community. Look for upcoming outreach information at this site.