The Village of Massena (pop. ~10,500) is located in Saint Lawrence County, just south of the Saint Lawrence River. Massena Utility CEO Andy McMahon coordinated the Village of Massena’s effort to secure an EPF grant to fund a tree inventory and tree management plan, both conducted by ArborPro.
What was the scope and nature of the work you were applying for?
Andy McMahon: The Village of Massena and Massena Electric collectively applied for a UCF grant. The UCF grant was to provide a tree inventory of the community and part of the town as well as a strategic plan for all areas surveyed. In the case of both the Village and electric utility, we are small and well-intentioned but not necessarily well versed in trees and tree care. This grant allowed for an arborist to come in and do an assessment of the types of trees we have in our public spaces and ROWs. The arborist gave us this inventory snapshot of our tree population as well as a strategic plan for what to do next.
Getting this grant was incredibly important for us as because Emerald Ash Borer is just arriving near our community. Further, some of our older and poorer neighborhoods are rather barren. Coming up with a workable plan for addressing these deforested neighborhoods we think is important to many aspects of our community.
What was your role in the grant application process?
AM: I brought together the interested local parties and provided much of the rough framework for what we wanted to do and why. I wrote the grant with the help of an outside consultant/grant writer who refined my remarks and put them in the right spot on the application. The Village clerk then worked with me to get the progress reports submitted.
What strengths of your grant proposal were the ones that helped you cinch it?
AM: I think that having a professional grant writer refine our thoughts had to help. However, I think the passion that the community has for improving our urban forest was key. Our community has challenges but we have a desire to improve our urban forest and now we have a road map on how to do it.
What interesting things or surprises came up in the implementation of the grant-funded work?
AM: There were a few newspaper articles noting that this project was coming, and subsequently, well-meaning community feedback on what we should plant and where really bubbled up. It turns out some of the people gave recommendations similar to what our arborist gave and some people gave really bad advice. The important part to me is that the level of interest in the community was really heightened.
I also think the confidence of the Village of Massena Arbor Committee is much higher now that we have this strategic plan. To be able to draw on someone who has expertise in this area and experience with other communities has really empowered us. Not all of the advice was completely new to us but having a professional validate our thoughts has been incredibly valuable.
Anything else you want to share?
AM: Having early newspaper articles about the impending inventory and plan proved very valuable. Getting the community engaged was far more valuable than I thought it would be. The general community involvement was exciting, and as a result I think we will have more buy-in on our long-term implementation plans.
Significant Findings from the Inventory
The July 2018 tree inventory included trees and stumps within Village parks as well as trees, stumps, and vacant sites along public street rights-of-way (ROW). The inventory recorded a total of 2,716 sites, which included 1,763 trees (64.9%), 9 stumps (0.3%), and 944 vacant sites (34.8%). Of the inventoried sites, 2,049 (75.4%) are located along street ROWs and 667 (24.6%) are in Village parks and open spaces.
Analysis of the tree inventory found:
- The five most common species found in Massena are Norway maple (229 trees: 13.0%); crabapple (194 trees: 11.0%); sugar maple (152 trees: 8.6%); Colorado spruce (136 trees: 7.7%); and red maple (125 trees: 7.1%).
- The three most common young trees (under 6” DBH) are crabapple (145 trees); red maple (90 trees); and sugar maple (46 trees).
- The three most common mature trees (over 25” DBH) are silver maple (77 trees); Norway maple (38 trees); and sugar maple (36 trees).
- A total of 66 distinct species of trees were recorded during the inventory.
- 90.6% of Massena’s tree population is in “Fair” or better condition.
- Inventoried trees provide approximately $198,214 in annual environmental benefits.
- Total environmental benefits:
- Energy savings: $85,852/year.
- Stormwater interception: valued at $22,319/year.
- Carbon sequestration: valued at $2,091/year.
- Improved air quality: valued at $15,964/year.
- Improved property value associated with aesthetics: valued at $71,988/year.
- Total replacement cost for all trees is $6,379,093.