Urban Forestry plan to help grow tree canopy
The Sarasota County Commission Tuesday approved the preliminary five-year Urban Forestry Strategic Plan, which will be used to create a performance-driven urban forest that integrates green with built infrastructure.
"The urban forest is no longer a simple amenity, but a natural utility", Urban Forestry Division Manager Demetra McBride told the commissioners. Among its numerous applications, the urban forest can reduce air pollution, act as a watershed management tool, and help improve energy conservation. The five-year strategic plan is structured to exploit those significant benefits, and to design and manage the urban canopy so that aesthetics and function are inseparable.
The plan calls for diversifying the urban forest, exploring creative opportunities for creating a canopy and further defines and applies the urban forest as natural infrastructure.
There are three strategies the strategic plan is based on:
- Design, for the most functionally effective and the most fiscall -responsible urban forest;
Program management, for sustained operational excellence; and
- Education and outreach, that promotes consensus and participation in public, government, professional, economic and scholastic circles.
- Commissioner Joseph A. Barbetta lauded the plan saying, "This is finally recognition of how important the tree canopy is to the community."
Among the initiatives in the plan is adding trees to stormwater retention ponds for aesthetic and environmental reasons and offering trees to people who have replaced their septic tanks with a connection to a central sewer under the Phillippi Creek Septic System Replacement Program.
Each initiative is subject to formal board approval and will take time to implement.
The final version of the strategic plan will be brought before the board in a few months for approval.
For more information about the Urban Forestry Strategic Plan, contact the Sarasota County Call Center at 941-861-5000 and ask for the Public Works Facilities Services office.
Demetra McBride, 941-861-0844 or 941-650-9242, firstname.lastname@example.org