St. Tammany, LA (August 3, 2007)- An advisory panel, drafting a plan to “re-tree” public property in St. Tammany Parish, will recommend the creation of a permanent commission to oversee the reforestation of lands denuded by Katrina. With the loss of thousands of trees during and after the storm, “now is the time for the parish to take urban forestry seriously, or we’ll be like Kenner,” said professor Buck Abbey of the LSU School of Landscape Architecture. “We’re hoping they’ll take this issue and roll with it in perpetuity.”
Abbey, who has a weekend home in Mandeville, heads the citizens Landscape and Urban Reforestation Advisory Work Group created by the Parish Council in early 2006 to come up with recovery plan for public lands which lost up to 80 percent of their trees from the storm and its aftermath.
The group is putting the finishing touches on a final report that the panel plans to present to the council next month. The assessment will include a report on the damage done by Katrina to the trees and the “urban canopy” in and around parks, trails, roadways, nature preserves and public facilities.
It will also have a game plan for starting a program- using grants obtained by the parish- to replant public areas with trees, such as live oaks and cypress, which are more resistant to wind damage.
But the major, and most crucial, component of the report, Abbey said, will be the recommendation to establish a parish Tree and Landscape Commission to continue the work started by the advisory group.
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