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City Tree Inventory to Begin in El Cerrito

You may see tree specialists wearing yellow safety vests as they inspect more than 16,000 city-owned trees, beginning next week.

Starting the week of Feb. 25, four tree inventory specialists from Davey Resources Group will be inspecting more than 16,000 city-owned trees along El Cerrito streets and in city parks, according to a city press release. The specialists will be wearing yellow safety vests and carrying electronic instruments.

The City of El Cerrito has contracted with Davey Resources Group for a municipal tree inventory as part of an urban forestry management plan adopted by the city in 2007, the release says. The information collected by the tree specialists will be used to evaluate tree maintenance needs, count vacant tree sites and quantify the environmental and economic value of the trees.

The Municipal Tree Inventory project includes:

1. A physical inventory of an estimated 16,250 city trees and vacant tree sites that will update the condition of the trees since the last inventory in 2007.

2. An economic analysis of El Cerrito’s urban forest that includes descriptive resource benefits, quantified environmental values and a report on the composition and condition of our urban forest

3. Tree management software featuring work planning, work orders, budget reporting capabilities and general urban forest management

4. Public access to general and specific information on El Cerrito’s urban forest and individual trees including environmental qualities and value assessment.

The city received a tree inventory grant from the U.S. Forest Service and the California Department of Forestry & Fire Protection (CalFire) to conduct the survey. The grant will cover 75 percent of the $74,338 cost of the project.

In the spring, the city will host a public meeting that will includepresentation of the inventory findings, a dis0lay of the Tree Keeper software and a question and answer session.

For general information about the tree inventory process, visit http://www.davey.com/services/urban-forestry/tree-inventory.aspx

For questions about the tree inventory in El Cerrito or to request notification of the date of the community meeting, call the Public Works Department at 510-215-4369.

Borris Batanov February 21, 2013 at 07:50 PM
Great example of federal waste.
Eric Bordax February 22, 2013 at 03:45 AM
Down with the trees!
Kathy A. February 22, 2013 at 10:08 PM
This is a useful project. The city has responsibility for street trees and trees in park areas, including the large Hillside Nature Area. The modest federal investment is very helpful to the city; but I expect is also helpful to larger-scale studies. Trees add quality of life and provide habitat, as well as acting as air purifiers. (Somebody here is a better scientist than me -- jump on in.) We depend on their shade; we love their shapes; and trees help prevent erosion. But we have a few regional concerns. One is that the eucalyptus we see in abundance -- many were planted around EC as windbreaks for the quarry operations -- are growing elderly. These trees have shallow roots, and the large ones are prone to fall over in heavy storms. Eucalyptus is also non-native, and crowds out native species. The wood is extremely heavy -- it cost a fortune to remove a 120 foot eucalyptus from our yard -- and it is not suitable for many other uses. When a grove of eucalyptus was removed from Angel Island some years ago, and scrap was burned, my son had a terrible allergy attack; the smoke is noxious, even at a distance. During the Oakland Hills fire, the eucalyptus went up like fireworks and sped that deadly mess; there is a lot of oil in the wood. Another local problem is pine beetles, which have killed a lot of mature local trees. A dead tree is a fire and safety hazard.
Kathy A. February 22, 2013 at 10:21 PM
We had 3 large and gorgeous Monterey pines removed from our yard over the years, because they were dying of beetle infestation. These are native trees, but once infested, they are goners. So, we are going to lose more of the trees that are part of our landscape -- and good riddance to the eucalyptus. But in the open areas and parks especially, we need to think about and plant the trees of the future -- hopefully oaks and other local species that traditionally thrive in our area. There are some other considerations for street trees. We don't particularly want trees that shed a lot on the sidewalk, or grow too huge. We have to be careful about sidewalks buckling because of root growth; of overhead power lines; of limbs that might break in a storm.
Peter Loubal February 23, 2013 at 06:14 PM
The report should include a Chapter on the most beautiful, interesting and oldest trees in El Cerrito, with a map. To be published in the City's brochure. As to Monterey pines and beetles: Many, if not most, of the controversial trees at Canyon Trail Park have survived. Is it ten years now. At the time, the City Council agreed to gradually replace them, in a way that would satisfy both "view seekers" and "tree huggers." It didn't happen. Also, these trees were tagged and tracked by UC botanists, studying their survival rates in our micro-climate. Any conclusions?

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