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Springfield’s Department of Public Works is getting ready to conduct an inventory of all the city-owned trees, or trees in the right-of-way. KSMU’s Rebekah Clark headed to downtown Springfield to examine some of those trees.
“As I walk the shady side walk, I notice that some of them are in excellent condition, despite the recent unpredictable weather patterns that have been happening of late. Others, like the one right in front of me, has missing bark, dried out leaves—just overall in bad shape. The Public Works department will be analyzing trees like these—about 25,000 in all—to get a snapshot of the current state of the urban forestry in our area.”
“What we’re doing mainly is the street trees. We’ll have our consultant crew go out to each monitoring route—monitoring routes are all the school zones—and so the whole city is divided up by those school routes, and that’s how we manage where each consultant will be at what time.”
Casey Jo Kellner is the Urban Forester for the Public Works Department, and does this type of project for a living. She says any massive tree inventory like this one is determined by factors like natural disasters and property acquisitions. Since the last tree inventory was conducted in 2001, many of the former tree ratings, which are given to every tree that is examined, will be rendered useless. Population expansion and the ice storm of 2007 both negatively affected the growth of the trees in the city.
“They’ll be basically looking at what kind of group, if it’s an over story or under story tree. The actual condition of the tree itself; primary maintenance needs, secondary maintenance needs. Any tree that is poor or critical, which we could have a number of those due to the 2007 ice storm, will get a risk rating assigned to them.”
They rate each tree because that helps them determine which areas need the most work as far as maintenance and removing trees go.
“One of the benefits of this is where we’re going to be identifying where trees need to come out, and in some locations we’ll also be able to identify where we’re going to put them back into. Also, to see where that current state is, and if our programs that we have right now for planting are going to be able to keep up with where the urban forestry is declining.”
Kellner also mentioned, just to be clear, that this inventory will only be done on city-owned trees. She said the public should not think that the city is invading private trees.
For KSMU News, I’m Rebekah Clark.