By Kelly Washburn
Cedar City, UT (December 14, 2010) – Santa Clara City, in cooperation with the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands, celebrated the adoption of the Santa Clara City Community Forest Management Plan Wednesday.
Santa Clara City Mayor Rick Rosenberg and Southwest Area Manager Ron Wilson signed into agreement the plan which provides detailed direction for the conservation, future development, and care of Santa Clara’s community forest resource. In a signing ceremony at the Santa Clara City Hall, Southern Utah Urban Forester Kelly Washburn outlined the three-fold mission of the plan centering on resource management and education. The joint effort between the Santa Clara City Parks Department and Utah Division of Forestry, Fire, and State Lands provides detailed recommendations for proper care and management of the community forest resource in order to ensure its health, resilience and to maximize the services it provides.
Santa Clara’s CFMP is the first of its kind in southern Utah but is part of a growing national and statewide effort to increase awareness, support, and strategic planning for the many benefits trees provide in cities and towns. Communities nation-wide have recognized the myriad of economic, social, and environmental benefits trees in urban areas provide including increasing property values, improving air and water quality, and providing energy cost savings. However, trees in public areas require long-term care, which requires funding and support. Washburn points out that “communities are often forced to ask whether trees are worth the price to plant and care for over the long-term.” She added that “strategic planning is necessary for urban forestry programs to maximize success and cost-effectiveness.”
Santa Clara’s CFMP is the culmination of an ongoing collaborative approach to managing natural resources. During the ceremony, Santa Clara City’s Park Supervisor Brad Hays highlighted Santa Clara City’s recent community forestry accomplishments and noted that much of the program’s success is the result of “working together.” In 2008, Santa Clara qualified for the National Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree City USA program which promotes and recognizes urban forest stewardship. In 2009, they conducted a successful tamarisk removal and riparian restoration project in an effort to improve Virgin River water quality, reduce wildfire risk, and promote ecosystem health. 2010 saw the completion of a city-wide GIS based inventory of Santa Clara’s public trees, the establishment of a municipal tree nursery, and a $5,000 grant awarded through the Division of Forestry, Fire, and State Lands to help restore and improve its 20+ year old community arboretum.
KCSG Television- City of Santa Clara Plans for a Greener Future