United States Forest Service grant to help with tree care program and public tree maintenance
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On Thursday, Sept. 14, the United States Forest Service announced that the City of Glenwood Springs was awarded a $600,000 Urban and Community Forestry grant. Funds will be allocated over six years for tree plantings, maintenance, and community education.
“Glenwood Springs has an aging canopy and trees in the city have been through a lot with warmer, drier weather and invasive pests,” said Urban Ecology & Public Spaces Supervisor Heather Listermann. “We know how difficult it can be for residents to afford tree care for large, old trees or to plant a large tree. This grant will expand our ability to provide financial assistance for tree care to the people and trees that need it most and create more equitable access to trees for residents.”
Over the past year, City staff conducted an inventory of right of way trees including species, tree health, socioeconomic benefits, management needs, and other important metrics to determine which areas to focus city efforts. There are 8,529 trees in public spaces and in the public right of way plus many more on private property. Maintenance of trees in the right of way is the responsibility of the adjacent property owner.
The City’s community forestry program budget covers maintenance of trees in parks and public spaces, management (inventory, education, and outreach), and the Tree Care Assistance Project.
Between the grant funds and matching City funds, the City’s community forestry program budget will go from $50,000 in 2023 to a total of $200,000 in 2024; and will gradually increase each year for the next five years, peaking at $300,000 by 2028. Stay tuned for more details on how Glenwood Springs will expand on the community forestry program and for updates on the residential tree care program.
Tree Care Assistance Project
Due to the serious need for tree work to be done in the right of way, City Council approved a one-time reimbursement program to assist residents with tree care expenses. This program is intended to provide limited financial support to treat, prune, and/or remove and replace high risk trees to provide a resilient urban tree canopy for today and future generations.
“Our program targets areas with the highest site suitability based on metrics such as lower existing tree canopies, higher tree hazard ratings, and higher vulnerable population densities. The goals of our community forestry program are to help plant, nurture, and plan to improve the ecological health of our urban environment for generations to come,” added Listermann.
Qualifying property owners can apply for the current right-of-way tree assistance program at cogs.us/TreeCare. The current program is available through December 31, 2023. City staff will be working over the coming months to expand on the existing program with the new grant funds for 2024.
Tree Care Reminders
- Regularly check your trees for signs of invasive pests and illness. Look for egg masses, holes in tree bark, insect-bitten leaves, dieback, or wilting leaves. If you think your tree is suffering from pests or illness, immediately consult a certified arborist and contact the City’s tree hotline at 970-384-6336 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Several invasive pests have been spotted in the Roaring Fork Valley or already are present in Glenwood Springs including emerald ash borer (affects ash trees), lilac ash borer (affects ash trees and lilac shrubs), and ips beetles (affect pine and spruce trees).
- Treatment options are available but are most effective when applied before symptoms are present.
- Prevent the spread of pests and tree illnesses by contracting with an ISA certified arborists. Do-it-yourself (DIY) maintenance can cause harm to healthy trees.
- Go to the City’s gardens and forestry page at cogs.us/Trees for more information about tree maintenance, removal, planting, and right of way permits.