Urban Forest Management Plan Released

In January 2017 the Town hired a Consultant, Kilgour & Associates Limited, to produce an Urban Forestry Master Plan for $34,980. Since then, the consultant has conducted a survey and has been working on specifying what it would take to achieve the specified goals. They have now released their Urban Forest Management Plan (UFMP) for public comment.  On 23 July 2018, they plan to make a presentation and submit it to Council. Public comments will be accepted up to 8 August  – see below for details. They would like approval from Council on 13 August. The goals of the plan were spelled out earlier – basically the idea is to provide a guide as to how trees on Public and Private land in Cobourg should be managed. See the link below to the article on “A Community in a Forest”.

Rory Quigley
Rory Quigley

The UFMP “presents a workplan for the next 20 years and an operational plan that details the activities required for integrated, cost-effective and proactive management of the urban forest over the next five years, 2018-2022. The operational plan addresses Town challenges in maintaining and replacing public trees, implements tree maintenance and risk management programs, engages the community in tree planting and care, and proposes approaches that use resources efficiently and achieves more effective management over time.”

Specifically in the immediate term, the workplan specifies:

  • An update to the public tree inventory
  • Enhanced monitoring of management activities and forest health
  • Complete tree health assessment and maintenance duties
  • Implementing the supporting community stewardship program and resourcing strategy (that is, get citizens involved – my words)

Residents are not always clear on what they can do to help. For example, can they remove the dogstrangling vine from along mid-town creek? They need clear direction from the Town on what they can and cannot do. The report includes a program to address this called: A Community Stewardship Program

Overall, the intent of the plan seems to be to proactively care for and expand the forest as opposed to simply reacting to problems.

The consultant concedes that the Town already has:

  • A GIS-based tree inventory
  • Aligned Official Plan policies
  • A tree preservation by-law
  • Urban and landscape design guidelines
  • Master Plans for Town Parks and Heritage
  • An Asset Management Plan currently under development.
  • An existing forestry program for:
    • Emerald Ash Borer management
    • Maintenance of a tree inventory
    • Completion of tree inspections, replacement, maintenance, risk management, and health and safety

The survey results are in Appendix G and consist of a large number of phrases (quotes) with no attempt to summarize or collect responses under a short list of headings.

It’s tempting to look at the Plan as a way to validate work already being done or planned; there do not seem to be a whole lot of new initiatives proposed but instead the plan consolidates and documents what our highly competent arborist Rory Quigley already does and should continue to do.

But the UFMP does produce a 9 point workplan – here’s a summary:

  1. Establish a Tree Planting Plan to increase forest cover on a Neighbourhood Basis and across the Town – Target of 35%
  2. Enhance the Tree Maintenance Program
  3. Proactively Manage Tree Risks
  4. Establish Community Stewardship Program to inform and involve residents and businesses in care and expansion of the urban forest
  5. Implement a Funding Strategy
  6. Regulatory: Update Tree Protection By-Law
  7. Establish a Town Heritage Tree Program to recognize and conserve important cultural heritage landscapes & trees
  8. Clear Governance
  9. Integration with other Town initiatives

And the plan does include some interesting statistics:

  • There are 6,422 active trees documented with the majority located on public lands (but 60% of the total number of trees is estimated to be on private property).
  • Town planted 2,111 trees in 2014 (through grants), 150 in 2015 and 175 in 2016;
  • Dominant species are Maples – approx. 38% of Town trees;
  • Approx. 70% of trees are native species;
  • There are a total of 111 different tree species identified in the public tree inventory;
  • The majority of trees are in Good-Fair condition;
  • Close to 50% of Town trees are <20 cm in diameter; and
  • Approx. 30% of Town trees are less than or equal to 5.0 m in height;
  • Approx.40% of trees are between 5 and 10 m; and
  • Approx. 25% of trees are between 10 and 20 m in height.

Financial

The plan includes the cost of current Forest management activities ($220K in 2017) but does not spell out the cost of implementing any changes.  However, it does include the financial benefit of having trees.

Tree Benefit Estimates for the Town of Cobourg’s Urban Forest

Removed Annually Tonnes Canadian$
Carbon Monoxide CO 0.61 $71
Nitrogen Dioxide NO2 3.69 $123
Ozone O3 36.73 $6,426
Particulate Matter – fine PM2.5 1.78 $13,283
Particulate Matter – coarse PM10 12.3 $4,665
Sulphur Dioxide SO2 2.32 $21
Carbon Dioxide Sequestered Annually CO2 7,478 $329,572
Total Value of “Pollutants” Removal

$354,164

Carbon Dioxide Stored in Trees CO2 188,557 $8,309,561

The idea of an Urban Forest is generally popular and more so because there are not multi-million dollar projects involved. So although I don’t expect it to be an election issue, it would be helpful to the Town and Rory in particular if you could read the 93 page report (plus its 87 pages of Appendices) and let him know what you think about it (if anything!)  (The presentation might be easier reading). I’d guess he’d want to hear from you even if you just say that it looks good.

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Bill Thompson

How about an update on the Emerald Ash Borer disaster that is taking place all over Ontario.?
I have my white ash trees treated every two years at great personsl expense,but I don’t hear //read anything about the town’s progress (?):on this issue.
I know that ESB traps have been placed in tne trailer park as well as Victoria Park white ash trees being treated but otherwise no public information re results/progress.
I understand that budget funds allotted to fight this ongoing disaster to our white ash trees were reduced during this term.
Does that mean that it is considered unpreventable and inevitable ?

Durka

We got a letter in the mail regarding the towns ash trees on our street. They will removing and replacing our trees although they haven’t as of yet. I believe trees over a certain diameter are considered for treatment.

I would hope in your case, but this is just a theory, that between all the infected ones chopped down and the healthy ones being treated that the population borer will die off and your trees will go on thriving.

Bill Thompson

So it appears that the Borer is already here in Cobourg.
Thanks for letting me know as I don’t recall any information from the town being publicised.

Walter L. Luedtke

It is true that the Parks Department reduced its request for the “Special Project Emerald Ash” from $25,000 to $20,000 for 2018.
Project Emerald Ash funds education and removal of infected trees.
Replacement of infected trees is part of the tree planting programme which is going strong at $50,000.
https://www.cobourgblog.com/assets/2018/2018-Budget-Operating.pdf
Council responded to this plea:
“Why We Need to Augment budget 2017 to $40,000 a year for More Trees'”
https://cobourg.civicweb.net/document/92947
More facts, less mud please.

Bill Thompson

And how long have you known that fact ? Today ?
I didn’t realize that we already had infected trees and where /how many ?
It costs us almost $35K consultancy fees (of course) to confirm what Rory already has identified and is working on?

Walter L. Luedtke

Here is a bit more on the EAB tree removal programme done by the County, Bill.
Seems to be pro-active.
http://www.northumberlandcounty.ca/en/departments_countyadministration_countyforest/emerald-ash-borer.asp
I have 2 ash trees myself.

Durka

Wonderful initiative I just feel like people are unaware of the boulevard tree planting program. Perhaps the town could mail out pamphlets to each home and business letting them know they plant boulevard trees at no cost. Get people engaged by listing the trees available to be planted and let them decide what they would like planted on their property.

Dubious

More trees are a good idea but “at no cost”? Does the tree fairy provide the trees and labour to plant them? I suspect that you meant that the trees are funded from property taxes and that we all pay.

Bill Thompson

I believe boulevards which are town property are the responsibility of the town and they manage what gets planted or not.

Durka

You can request a boulevard tree in front of your home. The town will scope out the spot and plant one if it doesn’t interfere with utilities, etc. As mentioned, many people do not know this, yourself included, we would likely have many more trees if people knew this.

As for dubious, as soon as I hit the send button I knew someone such as yourself would jump all over the “at no cost” comment. Yes I know our property taxes cover a portion.

Walter L. Luedtke

Way to go, Rory!!!
Tree-hugger extra-ordinary!
And Mother Nature knows and cherishes her own!

Dubious

For someone who constantly extolls the virtues of town staff your posting seems somewhat negative. What do you feel that Rory has or hasn’t done to your satisfaction?