Loading...
Trees 07-19-2018Ci f July 19, 2018 To: Mayor/Council Candidates From: Daryl Grigsby, Director of Public Works Matt Horn, Deputy Director of Public Works Rob Combs, City Arborist Subject: Response to Questions regarding Tree Ordinance in relation to the Zoning Ordinance Update. The following questions with staff’s responses in italics below each question are provided for your information. 1. Was there consideration of canopy percentages by lot usage type, development/density credits for retention of trees or any other discussion of including planning for urban forest sustainability during the course of the ZPU? The policies related the City’s urban forest canopy coverage in the General Plan and the Climate Action Plan are qualitative and do not provide specific metrics. Provided below is a summary of applicable policies and goals: • GP LUE 4.5.: There should be a nearly continuous tree canopy along sidewalks. Landscape should mitigate harsh micro-climates. • GP LUE 9.5.: The City shall reduce heat effects of urban development by requiring new development to incorporate, as appropriate, features such as reduced hardscape, light or heat reflective roofing, and shade trees. • GP LUE 9.9.: The City shall develop a long term tree planting program to beautify the city, mitigate increased residential density, address die-off, and combat air pollution and global warming. • GP LUE 9.10.: The City shall update the master tree plan and develop recommendations to renew and maintain the urban forest and plant more trees. • GP LUE 10.5.: The City shall protect and maintain clean air, the urban forest, and natural open spaces. 2. What, if any, tools is the City of SLO currently using to quantify coverage and value of canopy? We are looking at “i-tree” as a tool for this. i-Tree is a state-of-the-art, peer-reviewed software suite from the USDA Forest Service that provides urban and rural forestry analysis and benefits assessment tools. The i-Tree tools can help strengthen San Luis Obispo’s Urban forest management and advocacy efforts by quantifying forest structure and the many Social, environmental, and economic benefits that trees provide. See Information Below. Since the initial release of the i-Tree Tools in August 2006, thousands of communities, non-profit organizations, consultants, volunteers and students around the world have used i-Tree to report on individual trees, parcels, neighborhoods, cities, and even entire states. By understanding the local, tangible ecosystem services that trees provide, i-Tree users can link forest management activities with environmental quality and community livability. Whether your interest is a single tree or an entire forest, i-Tree provides baseline data that you can use to demonstrate value and set priorities for more effective decision-making. Developed by USDA Forest Service and numerous cooperators, i-Tree Tools are freely available. The U.S. Forest Service, Davey Tree Expert Company, National Arbor Day Foundation, Society of Municipal Arborists,International Society of Arboriculture, and Casey Trees have entered into a cooperative partnership to further develop, disseminate and provide technical support for the suite. We invite you to explore this site to learn more about how i-Tree can make a difference in your community or forest. The i-Tree suite includes the following forest analysis tools and utility programs. Analysis Tools i-Tree Eco provides a broad picture of the entire urban or rural forest. It is designed to use field data from complete inventories or randomly located plots throughout a community or study area, along with local hourly air pollution and meteorological data to quantify forest structure, environmental effects, and values. i-Tree Landscape is an online tool that allows you to explore geospatial data for an area of interest. It makes use of datasets, such as land cover and U.S. Census data, to provide local information, tree benefits, and planting prioritization by designated management boundaries. Learn more about i-Tree Landscape or Get started. i-Tree Hydro is an application designed to simulate the effects of changes in tree and other land cover characteristics within a watershed on stream flow and water quality. Qualitative scenario modeling in non-watershed areas (county, city, or parcel scale) is also available. i-Tree Design is a simple online tool that provides a platform for assessments of individual or multiple trees at the parcel level. This tool links to Google Maps and allows you to see how tree selection, tree size, and placement around your home affects energy use and other benefits. i-Tree Canopy offers a quick and easy way to produce a statistically valid estimate of land cover types (e.g., tree cover) using aerial images available in Google Maps. The latest version of Canopy also estimates values for air pollution reduction and capturing atmospheric carbon. Canopy can be used by urban forest managers to estimate tree canopy cover, set canopy goals and monitor canopy change over time. Canopy can also be used to estimate inputs for use in i-Tree Hydro and elsewhere where land cover data are needed. i-Tree Species is a web application designed to help urban foresters select the most appropriate tree species based on environmental function and geographic area. i-Tree MyTree is a quick and easy mobile tool allowing you to explore the benefits provided by the trees near you. i-Tree Database is an online system designed for international users outside of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia to submit properly formatted international pollution and weather data, location information, new species information, and other requirements needed for the i-Tree Eco model to process in a new, previously unsupported study area. The submitted information will be vetted by the US Forest Service and integrated into the Eco model as a new international location that would be available for automated processing in future updates of Eco. i-Tree Streets focuses on the benefits provided by a municipality's street trees. It makes use of a sample or complete inventory to quantify and put a dollar value on the street trees' annual environmental and aesthetic benefits. Streets also describes urban forest structure and management needs to help managers plan for the future. i-Tree Vue allows you to make use of the freely available National Land Cover Database (NLCD) satellite-based imagery to assess your community's land cover, including tree canopy, and some of the ecosystem services provided by your current urban forest. The effects of planting scenarios on future benefits can also be modeled. Utility Programs i-Tree Pest Detection Module is a portable, accessible and standardized protocol for observing a tree for possible insect or disease problems. The i-Tree Pest Detection module is currently available within the i-Tree Streets and i-Tree Eco programs. Pest Detection can be adapted to other external tree inventory programs also. i-Tree Storm provides a method for a community to assess widespread storm damage in a simple, credible, and efficient manner immediately after a severe storm. It is adaptable to various community types and sizes and provides information on the time and funds needed to mitigate storm damage. i-Tree System Requirements System requirements for desktop installation and use with hand-held data collection devices. 3. Does the City have established canopy coverage goals or another metric they are working toward/with? The short answer for question #3 is yes, see the goals listed above in Questions 1. The longer answer is that the Climate Action Plan Update will convert those qualitative goals and policies into quantitative ones with specific metrics and development standards. 4. Are you working with silviculture or other methods currently as part of your input in the development planning process? Somewhat as part of the review input, limited to individual conditions of approval and current city policies. I believe we can improve and enhance the care of this valuable resource in the near future. Urban Forest Services is making efforts to address some of those ideals such as our closed loop program, species selection/requirements and cultivation or manipulation of our urban forest and applied forest ecology through maintenance and planting programs, development requirements, management and education. Examples are our Commemorative Grove at Laguna Lake and surrounding regeneration of the Monterey Pines that have been decimated. We have been working on developing an Urban Forest Management Plan with help from Cal-Poly Natural Resources and Environmental Study Students and utilizing other volunteers such as the Downtown Foresters. “Downtown Foresters” San Luis Obispo's Downtown Foresters are volunteers, primarily made up of members of the Downtown Association their families, friends and other recruits. Our motto is "Plant Prune & Protect" This highly motivated group helps to care and lobby for Urban Forest improvements. One of my goals is to expand or create an additional group to help with the care of our entire Urban Forest. “(Closed Loop)” --)>>> For approximately 12 years now the City of San Luis Obispo’s Urban Forest Services division has been a “Closed Loop” green waist recycler and carbon sequestration advocate and provider. All of the green waist we produce from pruning, emergencies or storm damaged park and street trees is utilized in some way. Wood chips are used by Parks Maintenance, Urban Forest Services, Ranger Services and other divisions in our various landscaped and natural areas to keep the sun and wind from drying the soil out, reduce water use, improve percolation of water into the ground, reducing stormwater runoff, weed suppression and the many benefits they provide. When there is a buildup of chips in the yard we advertise and do a citizen woodchip give-away. Sometimes folks grab wood from our jobsites and suitable wood is dropped at the local Lumber Mill on Prado or we allow them to recover it on site. The Wood Turners Association, Cuesta’s Wood Turning classes woodshops and so on... The point is that it is turned into usable lumber for furniture, art and other uses instead of dumping it in the landfill. This lessens the impact on forests and sequesters carbon within the products created. We burn less gas running chain saws and trucking debris to the landfill and we do not pay tipping fees. It saves Urban Forest Services and the city “Time & Money” and is beloved by all who utilize these resources. “Every urban tree destine for the landfill that is utilized for wood products is one saved in the natural forest” 5. [Regarding Tree Ordinance Update] Is there a place online where I can view the current in- process document and provide public comment? Staff is currently developing a draft of possible revisions to the tree ordinance. The draft is not complete, and we are looking to introduce the document in the latter part of the summer to the Tree Committee and finally Council. When this item goes before the Tree Committee, the draft ordinance and staff report will be available on the City’s web site for review prior to each meeting.