Facing Cutbacks, Chico Focuses on Maintaining Urban Forest

Chico, CA (July 11, 2013) – In the past month, Chico lost a four-worker tree crew due to budget cuts, and its urban forest manager. While the city expects to replace the urban forest manager, there’s concern that the city’s trees are in danger of being neglected without tree crews for tree maintenance, watering, and pruning. While the city allots $100,000 for tree work, it’s estimated that at least $300,000 is needed to maintain the city’s urban forest. The nearly 35,000 city trees provide an economic benefit of $3.1 million annually based on i-Tree analysis.

Chico, CA DowntownAccording to a recent article, Scott Gregory, a local field biologist and certified arborist who assisted with a street-tree inventory, expects to see more limbs dropping on streets and cars, more dead street trees, fewer trees replaced, as well as the loss of expertise to select the right tree for the right place when trees are replaced.

The City, however, says that it’s moving forward with its Urban Forest Management Plan, and will stay on top of tree pruning and issues around trees and public safety. And while the City acknowledges it will have to do less, they hope to be able to do what is needed until city budgets improve.

Visit the City’s street-trees page for a link to a draft of the city’s Urban Forest Management Plan, which is still in process.

Read more on Chico’s urban “Canopy Challenge” and the need for tree diversity and sustainable choices for the City’s changing urban tree canopy.

Source: “Maintaining the Urban Forest,” Chico News & Review