The city was able to catalog approximately half of its trees with the aid of grant money received in 2009. Oakley Parks and Landscape Division Manager Len Morrow said this new Urban and Community Forestry Leafing Out Grant will fund the completion of the inventory.
“The City of Oakley will hire reliable, established professional service consultants to provide the project services,” Morrow said. “These services will include a comprehensive urban forest inventory of trees managed and owned by the city and the collection of tree data attributes such as location, specie, health and maintenance recommendations.”
Morrow said the grant funding would also be used to pay for costs associated with the inventory such as updating existing software. The city also plans to host public awareness workshops to educate residents about the importance of tree maintenance.
“Ultimately, the city desires to take the steps to develop a regular tree maintenance program, including establishing a sustainable Urban Forestry Management Plan,” Morrow said.
The news of the grant award comes on the heels of Oakley’s proclamation to honor California Arbor Week, which runs now through March 14. California ReLeaf, a collaborative of more than 75 nonprofit tree-planting groups, established the celebration in honor of famed horticulturist Luther Burbank. California Arbor Week is a time for communities to plant trees and take part in community beautification projects to keep trees in community parks flourishing.
According to ReLeaf, trees do more than add decoration to local parks. Trees clear pollution for the air by absorbing as much as 48 pounds of carbon dioxide per year. A large tree can supply enough oxygen for two people.
Trees also help reduce noise in urban populations and mitigate heat by providing shade, which enhances recreation opportunities. Urban forests also provide habitats for birds, insects, animals and other wildlife that depend on trees.
American Forests reports: “Research has also shown that greener urban areas encourage more healthy social interaction between adults and children, as well as lower levels of graffiti, property crime and violent crime. Tree-shaded sidewalks encourage pedestrian activity – getting people to walk a few blocks rather than drive gives a city a friendlier atmosphere.”