The Town of Somers received an Urban and Community Forestry (UCF) grant from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. The $35,000 project to conduct a Tree Inventory on approximately 39 miles of Town-streets and develop a Community Forest Management Plan is fully funded through the grant.
The goals of the project are to:
· Better understand and manage our community forest canopy
· Protect our natural resources
· Provide climate resiliency
· Safeguard public infrastructure, assets, and safety
The project is one of 64 projects funded across the state, out of 154 applications. Projects were ranked by cost effectiveness, lasting benefits, use of partnerships, inclusion of outreach and education, and support from local stakeholders.
Certified arborists from SavATree will conduct the tree inventory and develop the management plan, in conjunction with a State DEC Forester, the Town’s Open Space Committee and Tree Board, and the Highway, Parks & Recreation, and Planning Departments.
The Tree Inventory includes tree:
· Species (common and Latin names)
· Crown condition
· Specific defects and observations
· Canopy conflicts with overhead utilities, buildings, vehicles, signs, and pedestrians
· ISA Qualitative Risk rating and residual risk
· Recommendation priority level
· Opportunities for potential tree planting sites
· i-Tree Eco summary of environmental benefits
The Community Forest Management Plan will present the analysis of the Tree Inventory and an overview of the current state of Somers’ urban forest, including ecology, economy, and community.
· Tree health and strategies for maintaining a healthy canopy
· Recommendations for planting sites and species
· Ecosystem services provided by public trees
· Emergency storm response
· Demonstrate how tree care improves community businesses
· Monetize the benefits of local trees with a cost-benefit analysis
· Project annual maintenance needs including priority tree care and removal, routine pruning, and structural pruning cycles
· Plan for care of public assets
· Management public safety through risk assessment
· Community education and engagement
The results of the Tree Inventory and Community Forest Management Plan will be presented to the public at a Town Board Meeting in late fall 2021 or early winter 2022.
The Town is also planning a celebration of trees and our natural resources for spring 2022.