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El Cerrito Tree Census Under Way

Read the story below or click here to see it in full as it was published on the Contra Costa Times website.

Published: April 4, 2013


EL CERRITO -- A survey of the city's tree population is nearing completion and residents and city workers will soon have access to a wide variety of useful data about the city's urban forest.

Davey Resource Group, the city's contractor, has inspected 13,109 trees and vacant tree sites out of an estimated 16,250 trees and tree sites along streets and in parks, according to Stephen Pree, the city arborist with the public works department.

The results will be presented at a public meeting to be held at City Hall on May 29.

"We're looking at how many trees are doing well, how many are not doing well, and the benefits they provide," Pree said. "They absorb carbon from the atmosphere, produce oxygen and filter stormwater."

The inventory will identify "how much carbon is being sequestered by a group of trees, a species of trees in a section of town," and preferred tree species will be placed on an approved list, he said.

The survey will also reveal how many trees need to be replaced, removed, pruned or replanted, Pree said.

El Cerrito last did a tree inventory in 2007 that was not as comprehensive as the current project, he said. The city received U.S. Forest Service and CalFire grants that cover 75 percent of the $74,338 cost. The entire project will be completed by the end of the month, Pree said.

El Cerrito has been active in promoting environmental issues by preparing a climate action plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, creating an award-winning recycling center, sidewalk "rain gardens" that filter and cleanse storm runoff and other efforts.

Richmond has also done a tree inventory as part of an Urban Greening Master Plan aimed at expanding parks and other green space within the city.

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