City Trees

July/August 2015

City Trees is a premier publication focused on urban + community forestry. In each issue, you’ll learn how to best manage the trees in your community and more!

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Page 19 of 39

Partners Updates State Coordinators Urban Forest Strike Teams by Paul Revell, Urban & Community Forestry Coordinator, Virginia Department of Forestry Photos Courtesy Urban Forest Strike Teams In 2003, Hurricane Isabel cut a devastating path across Virginia, leaving lots of damaged trees in its wake. Several of the Tidewater cities were hit hard. Further inland, the state capitol of Richmond lost more than 10,000 public trees. Between 2002 and 2005, North Carolina and South Carolina suffered several hurricanes that also caused tremendous tree damage and loss. Urban foresters were frustrated that there was no way to adequately respond to these disasters in order to qualify for FEMA reimbursement. Even communities with established urban forestry programs lacked the staff or a methodology to document tree damage in a timely manner, given all the other clean-up activities that were taking place. Similarly, state forestry agencies lacked a method for assisting communities from an urban forestry perspective. Then, in 2005, Hurricane Katrina caused widespread tree damage in the Gulf States. One of the trage- dies of Hurricane Katrina was that contractors destroyed thousands of healthy trees in the aftermath of the storm. The Urban Forestry Coordinators of Virginia and North Carolina, Paul Revell and Leslie Moorman, decided that some sort of urban response capability needed to be developed by state agencies in advance of the next disaster. They consulted the U. S. Forest Service for assistance. Dudley Hartel, a technology trans- fer specialist with the Southern Research Station, was eager to help. He had assisted several com- munities after Hurricane Katrina and was ready to use his experi- ence to develop a storm response methodology. Hartel and colleague Eric Kuehler, a fellow technology transfer spe- cialist, developed the first training program for state agency person- nel; it was held in Kinston, North Carolina in August 2007. Hartel and Kuehler developed a methodology that used FEMA criteria for recording reimbursable tree damage and that accurately mapped, using GPS, the location of each damaged tree. Trees were marked with paint that specified either pruning or removal. Arboricultural standards were used to evaluate the relative risk of each tree. Tree data was record- ed on drop-down menus in a GPS data recorder and transferred to maps and tables each day that could be presented to FEMA and local officials. Participants in the training were required to be ISA Certified Arborists. Response to communities experiencing storm damage would be at the request of the affected communities, encouraged by the state urban forestry coordinator. Large storm events would call for a deployment of a Task specialists inspect crown damage on large willow oak. 20 City Trees

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