Lacombe has counted and logged city-owned trees as part of its Urban Forest Management Registry.
An arborist spent eight months cataloguing 5,602 city-owned trees of 86 different types. American elm trees were the most common, with 776 trees identified, followed by 642 blue spruce trees and 600 Colorado spruce.
The tree registry was identified as a local need by the Downtown Area Redevelopment Committee, which is aimed at preserving and enhancing the community’s historic core.
It was determined the registry was needed to preserve the long-term life cycle of the downtown trees and to provide a replacement strategy.
City GIS co-ordinator Nicole Shaw said information was gathered on trees’ heights, diameters, size at maturity, health, pruning and maintenance history and their species. Each tree was rated based on a percentage of its being disease or bug-free and data was also collected on the environment in which the tree was growing.
Ratings will be used by the city’s parks department to guide its tree replacement and asset management plans.
The project focused on city-owned trees in boulevards and parks. Trees located in forested areas around Cranna and Elizabeth Lakes will be logged with a “top-down approach” using satellite imagery and other technology.
Interactive maps have been created that allow users to click on a “tree point”and get information on it. A filter widget allows users to select a specific type of tree and find where they are located on a digital map. It also provides information on how many of that type of tree exist.
An urban forestry registry dashboard has also been created that includes information on how many trees and of what species are located in specific parks or other settings.
A request for proposals closed on Tuesday for arborist and landscaping companies to create a tree management plan. It will provide information on when trees should be replaced and where more could be planted.
City chief administrative officer Matthew Goudy said the plan will allow the city to ensure new trees are in place as older trees die so that the city’s tree canopy is maintained without having to spend tens of thousands on planting mature trees.
“It will show how you can approach tree management in a rational way the same way you approach roads management.”
Mayor Grant Creasey said the city’s efforts reflect that the trees are valued and there is a commitment to preserving the urban forest.