Under the tax-exempt fiscal sponsorship of the Butte Environmental Council, Chico Tree Advocates (CTA) is a group of concerned citizens with four goals to address the current situation in which we find our urban forest:
1. Putting together a group of volunteers who want to monitor our urban forest and plant trees.
2. Contact the City Council to and urge them to properly fund an adequate tree crew.
3. Amend the Draft Urban Forest Management Plan with some enforceable performance criteria and get it adopted.
4. Encourage citizens to check the agendas on-line and attend Bidwell Park & Playground Commission; Architectural Review or Planning Commission meetings when trees are on the Agenda, and advocate for trees.
Call your City Councilors to support:
City Tree Division Staffing Proposal to Council 5/8/16
Chico Tree Advocates would like to bring the following concerns to the City Council’s attention.
A recent report from our Tree Division that it had over 1000 outstanding tree service requests and about 600 requests pending initial assessment, (a total of 1600 requests currently unaddressed), and before the layoffs, in 2013/2014, normal was about 200.
After several years of minimal maintenance and pruning, many more trees are now gravely in need of maintenance, and additionally our urban forest has now reached an age where many more trees than normal need maintenance. Our current staffing levels in our Tree Division are simply not adequate to address this incoming volume.
We are concerned that the City may not be aware of the liability it faces, for these potentially dangerous outstanding service requests. It was a Butte County Tree Maintenance Supervisor's experience, that several times he had to appear in court to defend the County against claims for damage by fallen branches. The county prevailed in these cases because they had a regular "preventive maintenance program" and had done what was deemed "reasonable and prudent". Under the current staffing levels the City of Chico would likely pay damages in similar litigation.
Therefore for this fiscal budget we propose:
Expedite hiring a City Urban Forester - $130,000.00
these funds to come out of the exiting Tree Division contractual budget.
And then in addition to the balance of the contractual budget:
Hire 1 more new senior Tree Crew leader weighted cost - $88,000.00
Hire 2 new Tree Maintenance Workers weighted cost $78,000 ea - $156,000.00
Hire 2 new hourly tree employees $16.78 per hr x 35hrs per week x 24 wks $14,095 ea - $28,190.00
Total new budget request - $272,190.00 in addition to the $130,000.00 for the City Urban Forester.
The City could then have two Tree Crews of three people each for six months.
This would bring the Tree Division up to seven full timers, where historically there have been eleven.
CTA Update 11/22/14
CTA had a good Armistice Day tree planting event. There were four of us who traded in a lazy holiday, for a little digging and planting. What fun! We planted three more Ash trees just south of Parkview Elementary School in the front yards of some very grateful property owners. In the same neighborhood where we planted five other Ash trees on Arbor Day. Prompted by things we forgot, we developed a check list of twenty seven things to remember next time.
In addition to planting we have received a donation of eight small saplings that we are caring for and have transplanted into larger pots while we are locating new homes for them. We are working with several home owners that want trees, to help them decide location, species and to complete the paperwork process with the City. We recently got approval from the City to plant two more Maple trees! So we are stoked about that.
If you know of a spot that needs a City street tree, or if you have a place on private property visible from the street that needs a tree, let us know.
We have had educational meetings with local tree experts Wes Dempsey, professor emeritus of biology and Kristina Schierenbeck, PhD, Biology, to improve our understanding of local arboreal issues. We’ve attended and spoke in defense of our urban forest at Bidwell Park & Playground Commission and City Council meetings. And our defense of trees was successful on at least two occasions!
We are now receiving phone calls and e mails from concerned citizens when they have tree issues and it is fun to provide them with data and direction to help resolve their problems.
Our City Community Grant Program fund raising campaign could have used a couple of more volunteers, but we still managed to raise $2530.00 in private donations which was matched by the City to the tune of $2326.00, for a total of $4,856.00 to buy more saplings! We came in sixth out of the ten groups that participated, in most funds raised in the City Program.
From an urban forest point of view and with just a little study we were disappointed with the modesty of some of the goals and statements in Chico’s Draft Urban Forest Management Plan, (UFMP). So we developed twenty nine proposed amendments to the UFMP and we will continue to work for their inclusion in the final document.
If you like cleaner air, more healthful air, protection from harmful ultra violet rays, energy savings, mitigation of climate change, we need you. Our urban forest is not only a gift, it is also a covenant. Let’s not be the generation that was too busy to take care of this rare and precious gift that is our urban forest.
Or send your tax-deductible check (made out to “BEC/CTA”) to the Butte Environmental Council, 116 W. 2nd Street, Suite 3, Chico, CA 95928
For more information about Chico Tree Advocates, please contact Charles by email or call 343-3152.
CTA meets 4pm on the second Tuesday of each month at the Chico Peace and Justice Center, 526 Broadway in Chico. All are welcome to attend.