With the assistance of consultant Jerry Bond from Urban Forest Analytics LLC, the City of Batavia recently completed their first comprehensive Tree Management Plan. It was funded through Round 12 of the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) Cost-Share Grant program, administered by NYSDEC.
City of Batavia Director of Public Works Matt Worth was Bond’s point person for the Plan creation process. Worth says, “A Plan was put together which consolidated several segmented sets of data and put it into an electronic format which the field supervisors are becoming proficient in managing. The overall Plan provides guiding strategies for increasing the sustainability of Batavia’s urban forest as the City moves through the next 20 years. Many of these strategies were easily implemented, and streamlined our decision making in regards to the City’s urban forest.”
Over the last five years, a number of complementary inventories of Batavia’s public trees have been made. A full inventory of street trees was completed in 2014 by Cornell University’s Student Weekend Arborist Team (SWAT) under the local direction of Fred Cowett and the general oversight of Prof. Nina Bassuk. In October of 2016, Jerry Bond of Urban Forest Analytics LLC conducted a sample inventory to estimate the maintenance needs of a large number of trees left unrated by SWAT, and to confirm the status of the street tree resource more generally. In June of 2016, Bond did a full inventory of the City’s park trees.
HIGHLIGHTS from BATAVIA TREE MANAGEMENT PLAN:
Street Tree Population: 3,623
Park Tree Population: 697
Species Distribution, Streets: About ⅓ are Norway maples, and a full 60% are maples of some kind.
Species Distribution, Parks: About ¼ are silver maples, with a total 45% maples of some kind.
Significance of species distribution: The reliance upon a single genus such as maple (Acer) leaves the City more vulnerable to catastrophic loss due to storms, pests, and other disturbances.
Per i-Tree Streets, when costs are removed, the net annual benefits of the City of Batavia’s urban forest are about $78,800, a benefit-cost ratio of 1.34 for public trees. The total dollar value for carbon sequestration and other forms of pollution mitigation for the City’s canopy as a whole is more than $6 million (see chart below).
Stocking rate (% of available planting sites occupied by a tree) for street trees: 67%
Condition of Street Trees-Ability to Live: Over 90% of the trees were found to be in “Good” condition, with less than 1% determined to be “Poor” or “Dead/Dying.” However, this result of the SWAT inventory excluded over 500 large trees whose condition was deemed to need expert consultation. The short-term estimate indicated that many of those 500 are in “Poor” condition.
Condition of Park Trees: About 50% are in “Good” condition, about 15% “Poor” or “Dead/Dying.” These results imply substantial maintenance needs in the near future.
Emerald Ash Borer Considerations: About 7% of the street trees are ashes (250 trees). Close to 8% of the park trees are ashes (54 trees). Significance: the City will need to develop a response to this threat in the near future (EAB is currently east and west of Batavia).