Urban Forestry Commission Supports Tree Removal
May 9 Report of the U City Urban Forestry Commission Meeting:
Rich Wilson, director of public works and parks for University City, presented an outline of the Greenway South proposal from Washington University and Great Rivers Greenway.
Of concern to the Commission is the removal of 55 Sweet Gum trees which would enable the trail to be widened from 8’ to 10’ as required by Great Rivers Greenway.
James Crowe, U.City forester, is in favor of removal of the trees for these (among other) reasons:
- a widening of the path would do irreparable damage to the root systems of the trees on the west side;
- the current soil conditions have prevented these trees from thriving - have, in fact, stunted their growth;
- the trees on the east side have been decimated by the Ameren pruning which will continue every year;
- any carbon sequestering is somewhat mitigated by the numerous times the parks department is called out to blow off flower debris, gumballs and leaves.
Mr. Crowe sees this as an opportunity to replace these declining trees and trees under power lines with healthy more suitable species.
Opposition to the plan was voiced by residents who decry the destruction of trees which they consider to be healthy, shade producing and otherwise environmentally helpful.
Recommendation: decision was postponed for a week.
May 16 Report of the UCity Urban Forestry Commission special session to consider the Greenway South situation.
What follows is the motion the Commission voted upon unanimously.
We support the recommendation of the City Forester to remove trees on the Greenway for the widening of the dual purpose pathway, subject to the following conditions being met:
- The trees on the east side be replaced as and when the need arises;
- The monies for their removal and replacement be placed into the Tree Bank (as defined by Section 12.08.020 of the City Code), provided the Tree Bank is a functioning account out of which the City Forester can take funds and into which the project sponsors can place funds; the money shall be reserved for the express purpose of replacement of trees on the Greenway project;
- The trees on the west side be removed and replaced as part of the plan for the widened path, including but not limited to the specifications laid out by the City Forester;
- The water accumulation issues be addressed in a satisfactory manner by all neighbors and the City; we recommend the use of permeable surfaces and other appropriate green practices;
- No trees will be removed pursuant to the project until binding contracts have been signed.
The recommendation has been passed along to the Parks Commission which will discuss the matter at its meeting on Tuesday, May 29.