Texas Takes Trinity River by the Horns

Texas Takes Trinity River by the Horns:

Within the city limits of Dallas, Texas, there is an eleven mile stretch of land named the Trinity River Corridor. An urban hardwood forest to rival New York’s Central Park in size, this gem of real estate is the site where years of visions, funding and plans have recently gone under way.

The Trinity River Vision Authority (TRVA) is the organization responsible for the implementation of the Trinity River Vision (TRV) – a master plan for the Trinity River in Fort Worth, Texas.” Alongside the TRVA, Viridian Energy has made its entry into the entire state of Texas, providing potential green energy services to over 25 million residents. Hand in hand with the TRV, Viridian has already contributed severall hundred volunteer hours to, “remove a total of 2,050 pounds of invasive plants, trash and debris from the Dallas Floodway along Cedar Creek and the Santé Fe Trestle Trail.”

The TRV encompasses a program that will create, “new recreational amenities, improved infrastructure, environmental enhancements and event programming,” as well as a new urban waterfront neighborhood re-named Panther Island. As stated on the TRVA website, responsibility to the urban forestry is a large part of the project goals, including flood control, ecosystem restoration, and sustainability.

The website further elaborates,“While previous channelization and levee construction has provided a measure of flood protection to Fort Worth’s central city, it left much of the Trinity River a broad, straight trapezoidal vessel with little environmental character.”

Since April of 2015, the TRV was given the approval to seek federal funding by way of the Army Corps of Engineers. The Dallas Morning News reported on this huge hurdle overcome, reporting a, “$572 million comprehensive plan that would enhance flood protection, provide a reliever road for downtown highways and create recreational amenities along the river’s path.”

With the collaboration of companies and government with the great city of Dallas, the Trinity River Project is a large, but successful example of urban planning that touches on and addresses essential parts of revitalizing an urban area. For the future of the environment, a key factor in this project is that the redevelopment and redesign can and will continue to respect and successfully coexist with nature.

image courtesy of Jeremy Monin . Dallas skyline with Trinity River

iTree Systems Get Smart in Urban Forestry

iTree Systems Get Smart in Urban Forestry:

Think back to a time that you forgot to water one of your houseplants. Now think about the time and energy it takes to remember and organize the maintenance of an entire community’s forest, that is, every tree. Since the USDA Forest Service introduced this suite of technology in 2006, iTree has been making it possible for communities and their supporting infrastructure to get smart with their urban landscaping efforts, and make the most of their valuable resources, the trees.

“Whether it be a residential home with a single tree or a larger area, such as a neighborhood, city or county, with a large population of trees…” the suite of technologies offered by iTree help build accuracy in inventory of trees, as well as an analysis and benefits over the course of the tree’s lifetimes. This accurate snapshot of the urban canopy not only gives the information needed to know how best to maintain the forestry, but it also helps quantify the value in investing into the quality of a community’s urban forestry, both in dollars and scientifically. One of the best parts, is this technology is available to download for free.

“When an i-Tree project is completed, reports are provided to inform users how neighborhood trees contribute to carbon sequestration, building energy savings (through shading and/or blocking wind), air quality improvements, and stormwater interception, “ as stated on the USDA webpage.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has been successful in implementing the iTree software for nineteen communities thus far.Tracy Salisbury, urban forestry coordinator for the Natural Resources Department in the northeast region said, “Our goal was to use i-Tree to create fact sheets so that decision-makers — mayors and city councilors — can see the value of their trees…We want to show them the value in a new light.”

As the program further develops, partnerships have been made with the Forest Service, Davey Tree Expert Company, National Arbor Day Foundation, Society of Municipal Arborists, International Society of Arboriculture, and Casey Trees to provide technical support.

Including iTree Hydro, which is still in the beta stage, iTree system boasts a total of six applications also including i-Tree Eco, i-Tree Streets, i-Tree Vue, i-Tree Canopy and i-Tree Design.

University of Queensland’s Global Change Institute

University of Queensland’s Global Change Institute building sets new standard for cutting-edge, sustainable building technology


Delhi Continues Efforts to Save the Ridge

Delhi Continues Efforts to Save the Ridge:

In Delhi, India, there’s been a recent re-emergence of a pro-active urban forestry culture, and for good reason. Boasting a population of over 16 million residents, Delhi is a growing capital city. Composed of a “series of low hills extending in two branches to cradle the city, the Ridge…serves many valuable ecological functions, protecting Delhi from the dust of nearby Rajasthan, lowering the ambient temperature, cleaning the air, sheltering flora and fauna, and – perhaps most importantly – filtering and preserving groundwater in a parched city.”

Historically, efforts to protect and preserve the lush dense forest cover have ebbed and flowed in public consciousness, beginning in 1979 with the founding of Kalpavriksh. “In 1992, Kalpavriksh joined with several other organizations to form the Joint NGO Forum to Save the Ridge, which included major groups like the WWF (World Wildlife Fund). The Forum helped mobilize school and neighborhood organizations, and publicized the cause…”

Within the past several years, a new generation have taken a foothold in the Save the Ridge” movement  to protect their valuable “green lung”, and the efforts are notable, but the struggle against developments, and governmental loopholes is real.

A plan developed by the Delhi forestry department stated, “There is a need for a young and passionate forestry consultant to study the soil and weather conditions, select plant species and monitor the restoration work. The department needs a technical expert for electronically mapping forest land and encroachment.”

Since then, the department has set up a conservation Education Centre to develop awareness and educate on the rich biodiversity of the Delhi Ridge. In order to conserve more areas of the ridge, the Delhi Govt in association with the DDA has developed the 692 acre Aravalli Biodiversity Park.

With 40% of the original forest footprint destroyed, more assertive, and effective action plans must be taken. Kalpavriksh’s present efforts include, “…working with the Delhi Government to streamline the tree helpline, to activate the tree authority and to suggest measures that can make the Delhi Preservation of Trees Act more meaningful.”

2015 Urban Forestry Efforts Grow Strong in New York State

 2015 Urban Forestry Efforts Grow Strong in New York State:

New York state wastes no time in establishing its plans to continue urban forestry planning and projects for 2015. Close to $930,000 in urban forestry grants have been recently awarded to communities across the state thus far, as announced by Commissioner Joe Martens for the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), by press release January 14th.

These funds will allow 40 communities within the state enhance their urban forestry, as well as safeguard the quality of air, water and natural resources. These local communities are given opportunities on an annual basis to apply for grants, which are then reviewed and awarded by the USDA Forest Service and the NYS DEC Urban Forestry Program.

Once awarded by the DEC, the funds are allocated to Arbor day events, community run forestry programs, and educational opportunities. Technical assistance is also offered to these communities through the local DEC urban foresters and ReLeaf volunteers.

“Urban forestry programs are vital to creating a vibrant environment that provides clean air, clean water, energy savings, robust habitats and a high quality of life for New Yorkers,” Martens said.

Especially in highly concentrated urban areas like New York, there are additional stressors like pollutants, limited root space, and improper pruning that can inhibit the flourishing of the community forests. By actively managing these factors, we protect these valuable resources and preserve the resulting benefits.

In February 2015, The NYS Urban Forestry Council will host a forestry awareness day in Albany, New York. (https://www.nysurbanforestrycouncil.com/calendar.asp)

The goal of this organized effort is to provide a chance to collaborate with and educate state legislators about key issues in urban and community forestry efforts, including the development of local tree inventory, management plans, and the establishment of Tree Boards across communities and neighborhoods.

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