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Urban Forest Management Plan



  • City of El CerritoUrban Forest Management PlanMay 2007

    Prepared for:City of El CerritoParks and Recreation DepartmentMonica KortzJerry BradshawBruce King

    Prepared by:Vallier Design Associates, Inc.210 Washington Avenue, Suite GPoint Richmond, California 94801

    MacNair & AssociatesP. O. Box 1150Glen Ellen, California 95442


    7.........Executive Summary

    9.........Introduction 11........Benefi ts of a Successful Urban Forest Creating a Sense of Place Balancing Environmental Impacts Economic Vitality

    17......Elements of a Successful Urban Forest Intelligent Planning and Management Community and Government Commitment Consistent and Suffi cient Funding Excellent Maintenance

    19......Strategies for a Successful Urban Forest Existing Conditions Goals and Strategies

    25......Street Tree Inventory Analysis Findings

    31......Street Tree Recommendations

    33......Appendix 01: Tree Selection & Care Guidelines

    37......Appendix 02: Tree List A 59......Appendix 03: Tree List B

    67......Appendix 04: Tree List C

    73....Appendix 05: Tree List D

    99....Appendix 06: Tree List E

    101....Appendix 07: Tree List F

    109....Appendix 08: Urban Forestry Software

    111....Appendix 09: References

  • 7EXECUTIVE SUMMARYUrban forests grown without foresight or planning can create high maintenance requirements and cost burdens. A well-managed urban forest, however, is economically and environmentally sustainable and a highly-visible source of community pride.

    The informational basis of the Urban Forest Management Plan are two inventories of trees within the City of El Cerrito. In 1991, an inventory of all street trees in the public right-of-way was conducted by Tom Pehrson and Associates. During the winter of 2005, Vallier Design Associates, Inc and MacNair and Associates revisited the trees and tree locations identifi ed in the 1991 inventory; gathering updated data for each. In 2003, Vallier Design Associates, Inc. conducted an inventory of all trees, landscape plants and turf grass areas in the Citys public recreation facilities.

    The plans, used in tandem, gave us a snapshot of existing conditions in the urban forest and are a baseline from which to form conclusions and develop an action plan for a successful urban forest. Both the Street Tree Inventory and the Landscape Management Plan conclude that the primary cause of loss of trees, and declining health in existing trees, is a lack of consistent, high-quality maintenance. Many of El Cerritos street trees are suffering from chronic drought stress and severe pruning.

    This plan outlines the social, environmental, and economic benefi ts that a vital urban forest is expected to provide and establishes these benefi ts as the standard of performance for the City of El Cerritos urban forest.

    In order to meet this standard the Citys urban forestry effort must provide: intelligent planning and management, community and government commitment, consistent funding, and excellent maintenance

    Specifi cally, the City of El Cerrito must:

    Support the urban forestry effort, both fi nancially and politically, at all levels of City government by providing consistent funding and enacting urban forestry ordinances.

    Provide excellent, consistent maintenance to new and existing urban forest trees.

    While this plan details practical goals and action strategies for developing an extensive, healthy urban forest, the fundamental key to success of El Cerritos urban forest depends upon a city-wide commitment to proper careappropriate species selection, adequate irrigation, and professional pruningof the existing urban forest.

    Urban Forestry Ordinances:

    Require a minimum of 50% canopy cover at maturity in new and renovated parking lots.

    Require selection of tree species from the Citys approved tree list and in accordance with the Urban Forest Management Plan guidelines.

    Require the installation of automatic, regular irrigation in all planting areas.

    Require the installation of structural soil around planting areas located in hardscape areas.

    Require permanent maintenance by commercial developers and at least a 1-year maintenance period for street trees by residential developers. Maintenance includes pest control, pruning and fertilization.

    Develop and adopt a Heritage Tree Ordinance


  • 9INTRODUCTIONEl Cerritos urban forest development process began with the 2003 City of El Cerrito Landscape Management Plan, which identifi ed four steps to take to develop an effective and sustainable urban forest in El Cerrito.

    1. Inventory and assess the existing urban forest.2. Establish goals and policies for the development

    and maintenance of an socially, environmentally and economically successful urban forest.

    3. Enact and enforce ordinances in support of the urban forest goals and policies.

    4. Create a capital improvement plan for the implementation of the urban forest goals and policies.

    The fi rst step was accomplished through the 2003 Landscape Management Plan, and the 2005 Street Tree Inventory, both prepared by Vallier Design Associates, Inc. The Landscape Management Plan is an inventory and assessment of landscape materials, including trees, in all City-owned recreation sites including parks, public stairways, and the Ohlone Greenway. The Street Tree Inventory provides a full inventory of the street trees on City right-of-ways as well as a practical discussion of the arboricultural conditions present in the street tree forest.

    Together the Landscape Management Plan and the Street Tree Inventory provide a baseline description of the conditions found in the Citys existing urban forest. With this baseline information as a foundation, the Urban Forest Management Plan accomplishes the second step. This plan discusses the signifi cant benefi ts that can be provided to a community by a thriving urban forest and the conditions necessary for the urban forest to thrive. The Urban Forest Management Plan then provides the goals and actions necessary to reach this standard from El Cerritos existing urban forest conditions. Meeting these goals will require a coordinated city-wide effort, including the enforcement of ordinances and the creation of a capital improvement plan in support of the urban forestry effort. G

    The Urban Forest Management Plan:

    describes the benefi ts a successful urban forest can provide

    outlines the elements necessary for an urban forest to provide those benefi ts.

    provides the goals and strategies necessary for El Cerritos urban forest to reach this standard of performance.

  • 11

    BENEFITS OF A SUCCESSFUL URBAN FORESTAn urban forest is the collection of trees growing within an urban area. Nation-wide, city offi cials and residents are increasingly recognizing that urban forests are a vital component of community health. While urban forests planted without foresight or planning create high maintenance requirements and heavy cost burdens, a well-managed urban forest will be economically and environmentally sustainable and a highly visible source of community pride. Well-maintained urban forests provide social, environmental and economic benefi ts.

    Creating a Sense of PlaceCity dwellers need strong connections to the natural world, a legible urban structure, and a sense of investment in the public life of the community in order to overcome the geographic disorientation and social isolation that have resulted from the last centurys rapid increases in urban densifi cation and sprawl. A extensive, healthy, thoughtfully developed urban forest is a subtle and powerful force in addressing these issues.

    An extensive and healthy urban forest provides color, texture, and seasonal changes that soften hard urban edges, create a rich aesthetic experience, and establish connections to natural cycles.

    A legible city is easily understood by a stranger and navigable without constant conscious attention by a resident. Urban design theory holds that

    The social benefi ts of an urban forest include:

    Connection to the natural world

    Improved city legibility

    A sense of community

    navigation through a city is made possible by a mental map built upon visual cuesa mental map that is not a grid of street names and cardinal directions but rather a series of interconnected experiences generated by memorable districts and distinct connections within the urban fabric. The urban forest is a powerful tool for establishing a citys organizational legibility. The successful urban

    forest will, by systematic placement of distinctive street tree species and distinctive species combinations, identify gateways, paths-of-travel, districts, and destinationsorienting travelers within the city framework and engendering a sense of ease.

    An urban forest is fundamentally different from a natural or rural forest in that it requires constant human care

    for its survival. With intelligent planning, an urban forest can be designed to invite the necessary care. When a community plants trees to create identifi able and loved social placeswhether at the large scale of a

    neighborhood or the intimate scale of a sidewalk cafpeople become invested in these places. Not only does this commitment further the survival and success of the urban forest, it also generates a larger sense of community and community identity as residents and city offi cials work together to maintain and develop the urban forest.

    Urban forests also improve community health and safety:

    Trees in high-density neighborhoods lower fear-levels, contribute to less violent an


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