The award from the Urban and Community Forestry Grant Program grant afforded the opportunity for the City of West Palm Beach to build upon its 27-year Tree City USA certification
WEST PALM BEACH, FLA. (January 16, 2019) --
In 2018, the City of West Palm Beach was the proud recipient of an Urban and Community Forestry Grant which was utilized to develop an overall Urban Tree Management Plan (UTMP) for the City. Funding for this project was provided by the USDA Forest Service through the Florida Forest Service’s Urban and Community Forestry Grant Program. With a goal to increase tree canopy, the City sought to develop a document to direct the care of urban trees and promote a healthy and sustainable urban forest into the future. The City’s trees require regular maintenance to remain safe, healthy, and functional. They are also an asset which contributes to achieving the City’s goals of reducing greenhouse gases, decreasing storm water runoff, creating attractive public spaces for residents and visitors, as well as improving mobility and connectivity by making for a more walkable and bikeable city.
The City’s tree care program is an effort by the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, the City’s Parks and Recreation Department, and the Planning and Zoning Department, as well as several other entities, to plan, maintain, and preserve the urban forest within the City of West Palm Beach. With a mission to “protect and expand West Palm Beach’s urban forest through planting, conservation, and education,” the City’s program is making strides in how it handles trees, so that they may be shared with future generations.
The award from the Urban and Community Forestry Grant Program grant afforded the opportunity for the City of West Palm Beach to build upon its 27-year Tree City USA
certification by evaluating the status and organization of the City’s urban tree management program and clearly identifying tree care goals from several different City departments. The document outlines expectations for tree care from City staff and summarizes objectives for improving, protecting, and growing the urban forest into the future. The document reviews how departments manage the City’s trees, how to evaluate the health of the urban forest, and how to further improve and care for the urban forest. As a complement to the plan, the City also assessed tree inventory software on City property and selected a program for future use to assist in maintaining reliable information regarding tree health.
The development of the Urban Tree Management Plan is specifically beneficial to the City’s urban tree management program as recommendations focus on appropriate monitoring techniques and methods of caring for the urban forest with subjects ranging from planting and protection to pruning and fertilization. The plan even touches on managing the urban forest relative to weather events. The UTMP also identifies issues for resolution within the City’s current urban tree management program and offers suggestions to resolve such issues. When implemented, these recommendations will make for a more robust and effective tree care program.
For information regarding the City of West Palm Beach’s tree program, please visit www.wpb.org/Departments/Sustainability
or call the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability at 561-804-4994.