Thursday, November 03, 2005

DEIS: Parkland concerns; Tree removal

TREE REMOVAL

Draft EIS states:


However, it is expected that the removal of mature trees, which are approximately 40 feet tall, within of Macomb’s Dam Park and John Mullaly Park could result in unavoidable adverse impacts.

...the loss of 373 trees (includes street trees and trees lost from the recreational facilities that would be displaced)...

Although the proposed project would seek to retain mature trees wherever possible, it is expected that the removal of mature trees, which are approximately 40 feet tall, within Macomb’s Dam Park and John Mullaly Park could result in unavoidable adverse impacts. Some of these trees would have to be removed due to the scope of the construction. Although the replacement trees would not achieve comparable size for several decades, the number of replacement trees would be extremely large and equivalent in total mass to the trees that would be lost. The addition of a significantly expanded canopy of trees to the project area and surrounding neighborhoods, in addition to the mature trees that would be retained, would mean that the change would not be significantly adverse.

It would also require the removal of large mature trees that are at the perimeter of the parks as well as a natural feature in the project area—the rock outcropping located at the northeast corner of the Macomb’s Dam Bridge Approach and East 161st Street.

The proposed project would retain approximately 170 trees in the project area but would require the removal of approximately 370 trees.

To minimize potential ecological impacts resulting from removal of large trees, thousands of smaller trees would be planted in the project area, study area and beyond. Nonetheless, the removal of mature trees would constitute an unavoidable adverse impact on visual resources until replacement trees grow to a mature size—a process that could take several decades.

The removed trees, which total a basal area of approximately 584 square feet, would be replaced with trees of a size totaling an equal basal area, or from between 8,356 trees of a 3 ½-inch caliper to 29,248 trees of a 2-inch caliper within the replacement recreational facilities and along streets. These replacement trees would create natural screening and areas of shade for relaxation and passive enjoyment for park visitors and habitat for wildlife. Should there be insufficient space to plant the calculated number of trees within the replacement recreational areas, the remaining replacement trees would be planted as street trees within the vicinity of the project area or as nearly as possible.


Response:

The DEIS makes it clear that the neighborhood will lose a lot of mature trees (373) and that the project has no real way of replacing them. It is a serious thing to cut down an older mature tree that has been growing for decades. It is a connection to the past, which lives on today. It is also a substantial amenity, providing shade and beauty to the urban environment in which we live. Streetscapes and parks are bleak without mature trees.

Replacing a mature tree with a 2 or 3” caliper tree is like turning the clock back 50 years. A lot of us will be either old or dead by the time we get to enjoy these new trees. To say that the “replacement trees would create natural screening and areas of shade for relaxation and passive enjoyment for park visitors and habitat for wildlife” is a huge exaggeration and a distortion of the truth. These replacement trees will not be able to realistically do this for a long time. Small, young trees do not have sufficient canopies to provide a good amount of shade or habitat for wildlife. Furthermore 2 and 3” caliper trees do not always survive after they are planted. Therefore even if the exact number of trees were planted to mitigate the basal area of 584 square feet, within a couple of years, some of those trees will have died and we will be left with 3” caliper stumps as opposed to mature trees.

1 Comments:

At 6:00 PM, Blogger Joyce said...

No one seems to have grasped the fact that these trees also help to provide a natural filter for the pollutants from automobiles and help to alleviate some of the effects of asthma.
Can you really believe that it could take up to 29,000 trees to replace the 300 or so that will be destroyed? How crazy is this?

 

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