Ypsilanti City Council met to discuss the city’s natural resource concerns, resolutions, and more on Tuesday, Dec. 7.
The Washtenaw County Conservation District presented a "Community Trees Pilot Project" that they would like to run in the city. Its mission is to assist residents with the conservation, management, and wise use of natural resources.
In 2020, Washtenaw County residents passed a millage, in which funds collected would be invested to preserve the land throughout Washtenaw County. Prior to this, the Washtenaw County Conservation District was supporting itself, running off the revenue of their tree and shrub sales. Now with this steady stream of funding, they are trying to build their programs and outreach to the different communities in Washtenaw County.
“It [The Community Trees Pilot Program] was inspired by a county-wide natural resource assessment survey which is something that we do every five years,” Summer Roberts, Community Forester at Washtenaw County Conservation District, said. “We found that the top three natural resource concerns for residents in Washtenaw County are land use, forests and woodlots, and water quality and temperature.”
Trees are a vital part of a community because of the many benefits they offer, according to The Washtenaw County Conservation District. They provide clean oxygen to breathe, cleaner air and water, and they offer improvements to our mental and physical health.
“Student contactors will use GSI to assess the current distribution of trees in the pilot community and also present some potential priority planting areas, and we’re hoping to get community input to help us figure out how to help us tailor that to each community,” Roberts says. “Some examples include tree canopy, impervious surface, development trends looking into the future, as well as priority planting scenarios that could be based on equity, they could be based on an ecological benefit lens, or it could be ease.”
After the presentation, council members had a chance to address any comments or concerns regarding "Community Trees Pilot Project." Councilmember Steve Wilcoxen shared his views on the project and shared how important this conversation is.
“We get a lot of complaints because a lot of the neighborhoods when they were developed, were planted with maple trees. With recent windstorms, these trees drop a lot of limbs and put a very small portion of our community out of power,” Wilcoxen said. "But that's happening all over the city… and we need to think proactively about how we are going to remove those and also how we are going to replace them. So I think this is a very timely conversation.”
To learn more about the Community Trees Pilot Project and to take the community-specific survey, visit washtenawcd.org.