Wednesday May 7, 2014
Mayor Greg Fischer announced that the city has awarded its first comprehensive tree canopy assessment contract to the Davey Resource Group. The project will result in the setting of a new long-term tree goal to achieve 45% tree canopy coverage for Louisville Metro.
“There is a great need to understand and manage our existing tree canopy, and replace and increase it throughout the city,” Fischer said. “Knowing where we are lacking tree canopy – down to the street and address level – will help our efforts exponentially in planting trees we need in the places we need them.”
The tree canopy assessment will provide a baseline of tree canopy cover, as well as prioritize tree planting locations for mitigating the urban heat island effect and for stormwater management. Increasing the city's tree canopy will also relieve heat stress in residential neighborhoods, as well as reduce the rate of smog formation and number of ozone alert days by cooling the city's atmosphere.
The tree canopy assessment will include the following activities:
Ø Use aerial photography and remote imagery to establish a tree canopy baseline that can be used to track canopy gains and losses over time;
Ø Relate the tree canopy to socio-demographic and economic data at the Louisville Metro Council District and Census Tract scales;
Ø Relate the tree canopy to the provision of ecosystem services including trapping and slowing rain water, energy conservation, carbon sequestration, heat island reduction and improvements to air and water quality;
Ø Locate areas of environmental need for tree cover and determine the potential canopy for those locations. These areas shall include neighborhoods in greatest need for reducing heat stress and locations where trees can most optimally reduce flooding;
Ø Provide tree planting timetables and cost estimates to achieve up to 45% canopy coverage.
The Mayor’s goal of planting 10,000 trees was achieved in 2013. To help achieve this goal, the city created the Louisville Metro Tree Advisory Committee, allocated a $250,000 budget for tree planting and employed an Urban Forester. A new goal for 2014 is planting 5,000 trees. Once the canopy assessment is complete, the city will set a significant tree goal that will help it achieve 45% coverage.
Already this year, 1,002 trees have been planted. Community organizations and citizens are encouraged to report trees that they plant as well, on the city’s Tree Tracker, at http://www.louisvilleky.gov/brightside/.
The assessment is expected to be complete in December 2014.