Elm Heights Neighborhood Urban Forest Management Plan
                              Prepared By Courtney Bonney in associa...
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GIS Project

  1. 1. Elm Heights Neighborhood Urban Forest Management Plan Prepared By Courtney Bonney in association with Amy Countryman, Ted Derheimer, Phil Lincoln, and Mary Ruhter Introduction Tree Canopy Cover and Diversity, Size, and Condition from The 2007 Street Tree Inventory Planting In 2007, The City of Bloomington con- Planting Sites by Optimal Tree Size ducted a thorough inventory of the 250 cities street trees.1 A “street trees” as Tree Canopy Cover defined by the Bloomington City Ordi- An inventory of tree canopy 200 cover bridges the divide be- Number of Planting Spots nance are “trees lying on the real estate owned or controlled by the City” with tween street trees and private the exception of trees lying within park trees. In Elm Heights there 150 interiors. With shapefiles of are only 873 street trees, but Bloomington’s street trees and tree canopy cover is greater 100 Bloomington’s distinct neighborhood than fifty percent. Elm associations a group of Indiana Heights canopy cover was University’s Urban Forestry Manage- digitized from 2007 aerial pho- 50 ment students were charged with de- tography to be compared with veloping a tree management plan for American Forests Urban Tree 0 the Elm Heights Neighborhood Canopy Cover (UTCC) goals. Planting Site Planting Site Planting Site Large Medium Small (highlighted in yellow). The President of the Elm Heights Neighborhood Asso- ciation, Ms. Jenny Southern, expressed Street Tree Diversity & Size In Elm Heights many private trees need to be removed in order to decrease the number of Condition of Street Trees hazard trees. In order to maintain high tree canopy cover levels in Elm Heights trees need interest in creating a plan which would Of Elm Heights streets trees Of the trees surveyed in 2007, 5% were in poor condi- to be planted. Physical observations as well as the street tree inventory indicate that the address issues pertinant to the mem- only one genus is over popu- tion, 24% in fair condition, and 42% in good condition. majority of planting spots are located in tree lawns smaller than 4 feet. With this in mind it bers of the association and improve lated. Maples have been 26% were labeled as dead. Of these only 17% were is doubtful that the City of Bloomington will be able to increase tree canopy cover in the communication with the Bloomington popular as street trees, but marked for removal. Northwest corner of Elm Heights by planting street trees. In order to reach the 25% City Forester, Lee Huss. The difficulty have weak limbs (Silver would lie in discovering what informa- Maple) and are prone to pests canopy cover goals for “urban residential” areas as set by American Forests private land- tion is pertinant to a neighborhood as- such as the Asian Ambrosia owners will need to plant street trees. The Elm Heights Neighborhood Association should, sociation as diverse and large as the Beetle; Creating a more di- however, encourage the planting of trees in the Northwest corner to decrease any pos- Elm Heights neighborhood. verse street tree population sible inequalities among property owners in the entirety of Elm Heights. would mean planting less Maples, Little Leaf Linden, Gingko, Crabapple, and Orna- mental Pears. Secondly, trees must be better managed to in- Rental Properties Location & Demographics crease the number of trees which reach maturity Areas with high numbers of rental proper- Elm Heights Neighborhood is located in ties are more likely to neglect tree canopy downtown Bloomington, Indiana and encom- cover in both size and condition. As a passes approximately 340 acres (Indiana neighborhood association, members can Geological Survey 2008). It is bounded to the use premise liability and hazard trees to north by 3rd Street, to the west by Washing- bring home owners and rental owners to- ton Street, spans eastward nearly to Mitchell gether. Street, and southward to Weatherstone Size Distribution Lane. The neighborhood is one of the most Based on these models of tree size city foresters plan Use this information as well as other established residential areas in Bloomington for the planting of new trees and the maintenance of hazard tree resources to create a hazard and contains Vintage Hill Historic District lo- trees. Benefits of street trees are proportional to tree workshop for rental property owners. cated along 1st Street from Woodlawn DBH; street tree benefits are greater in green areas. Consult with a local arborist to get a day of Avenue to Maxwell Lane.2 On the negative free assessments. In many areas of Elm side, A significant portion of Elm Heights is Heights’ tree canopy cover level is above within the boundary of IU and is very near and beyond the American Forests’ Urban the urban core of Bloomington. On the posi- Tree Canopy Cover (UTCC) Goals of 25 tive side, Elm Heights includes two parks, percent for an urban residential area. Third Street Park and the Northern portion of Sources: Bloomington Tree InveChris Walker, GIS Specialist, IU Bloomington; Bryan Park. Third Street Park is used exten- sively by the Elm Heights Neighborhood. Tree Maintenance and Protection from Hazard Trees The neighborhood association will benefit by the improved condition of the tree Trees provide a large number of benefits to a community, but they can also cause serious canopy cover. Both rental property Census block groups, a cluster of census damage. Dead or dying trees provide wildlife habitat, but they also cause power outages, prop- owners and home owners benefit by pre- blocks, were used to subdivide the Elm erty damage, and even death when trees fall unexpectedly. In Indiana, it is a duty for landowners venting future premise liability litigation Heights into areas with which analysis could to protect others from injury caused by trees in their yards. costs, while the neighborhood improves in be performed based on demograghic data. property values and increased participa- Census blocks contain a range of popula- Indiana law bases this decision on the case Valinet v. Eskew, 574 N.E.2d 283 (Ind. 1991). The Indi- tion of rental owners in tree related issues. tions from 600 to 3000 people, optimally ana Supreme Court found that a “possessor of land in an urban area was subject to liability, to 1500. Subsections in the maps provided persons … for physical harm resulting from his failure to exercise reasonable care to prevent an range from 498 people to 2239. Census unreasonable risk of harm arising from the condition of trees on the land near the highway.” The blocks were insufficient in size to view over- court further held that a landowner had a “duty … to perform periodic inspections to be sure that all trends in tree care. the premises do not endanger those using the highway” (Scott 2006).3 Conclusion Despite the overwhelming perception that the street trees in Elm Heights are in disrepair, the data indicates that the City of Bloomington is maintaining its street trees. Over 80% of street Information gathered from both the survey and GIS were used to tailor a manage- trees are not in any danger of encountering wires and the majority of street trees need no main- ment plan toward the needs of the Elm Heights Neighborhood. Elm heights is a Survey Results tenance at all. Survey results indicate that trees are not an issue when it comes to broken side- unique neighborhood association, it is one of the largest neighborhoods and has walks, rather, street crews have gotten behind in fixing aging sidewalks within this neighborhood. Association memebers were surveyed from 26 March 2008 through 7 April 2008 using Lighting was also considered a hazard to be considered. Perhaps the city forester should con- a diverse population; So large that it is difficult to conclude even the tree canopy SurveyMonkey.com. Of the 100 members contacted via e-mail, 33 completed the survey. Of sider training a larger number of trees above the light posts in Elm Heights than are currently cover goals. However it is clear that tree canopy is lacking in the northwest those curveyed 88% were Residential Landowners, 9% were Rental Property Owners, and 3% trained. corner of the neighborhood, an area in which many people come to enjoy the out- were a combination of the two. doors, events, etc (Third Street Park and Bryan Park). This area is a juxtaposition From physical inspection it appears that the majority of hazardous trees are in private yards and of both good and poor traits for the encouragement of the urban forest. Tree therefore not within the city’s jurisdiction. Citizens should inventory their own trees for visible canopy is more easily encouraged near established parks and green spaces; on defects as listed in the table at right and contact a certified arborists for consultation on ques- tionable trees.4 Removal should be done with the necessary precautions and the help of trained the other hand, trees are often neglected on rental properties. In this lies an op- personel. The portunity for the Elm Heights Neighborhood association to focus its efforts in the City of Blooming- Street Trees Under Wires northwest corner and by doing so increase the tree-related benefits (increased ton provides infor- 90 property values, storm water drainage, mation on proper 80 shade, etc.) to the entire neighborhood. pruning and does Hazard liability appears to be a cost to the Percent of all Street Trees 70 not condone the use of “topping.” 60 community, but it may be a boon. In making Rather the city en- 50 available the materials on premise liability courages resi- 40 the neighborhood may increase rental dents to prune 30 owner involvement and thus be able to trees back to a 20 build off of the adjacent parks’ green infra- point at which 10 structure. Through local action, specifi- weak branches connect with a 0 cally neighborhood actions, Bloomington, IN can fully become Tree City, USA. NO YES strong leader branch. 1 Bloomington Street Tree Inventory, 2007. Chris Walker, GIS Specialist, City of Bloomington, Bloomington, IN. 2 Ruhter, Mary et. al., 2008. “Elm Heights Neighborhood Association Street Tree Managment Plan.” Indiana University-Bloomington. Bloomington, IN. 3 Beering, Peter and Scott, Judson, 2006. "Premises Liability and Your Trees." Vine and Branch, Inc. Website. Vine and Branch, Inc. 13pp. <http://www.vineandbranch.net/Premise_liability_4-9-07.pdf> 4 Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, and USDA Forest Service. 1996. “How to Recognize Hazardous Defects in Trees.” USDA Forest Service NA-FR-01-96. 20 pp.