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Managing Urban Forests During Severe Drought

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Mandy Burgess

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Managing Urban Forests During Severe Drought

  1. 1. SantaBarbaraCA.gov/ParksAndRec PARKS AND RECREATION DEPARTMENT MANAGING URBAN FORESTS DURING SEVERE DROUGHT Partners in Community Forestry Conference November 19, 2015
  2. 2. SantaBarbaraCA.gov/ParksAndRec Learning Objectives • How to develop strategic drought response plans • Policy considerations • Tools to achieve tree management efficiencies • Community outreach methods • Opportunities to raise funds to support tree preservation
  3. 3. SantaBarbaraCA.gov/ParksAndRec
  4. 4. SantaBarbaraCA.gov/ParksAndRec
  5. 5. SantaBarbaraCA.gov/ParksAndRec Santa Barbara’s Urban Forest of the Past Circa 1800
  6. 6. SantaBarbaraCA.gov/ParksAndRec
  7. 7. SantaBarbaraCA.gov/ParksAndRec Species Diversity Introduced Early Photo circa 1900s
  8. 8. SantaBarbaraCA.gov/ParksAndRec Historic Italian Stone Pines
  9. 9. SantaBarbaraCA.gov/ParksAndRec Today’s Urban Forest • 23,000 street trees • 10,000 park trees • Native forests • 456 different species • Trees on private land • Estimated 320,000 trees in urban forest
  10. 10. SantaBarbaraCA.gov/ParksAndRec Benefits of Trees • Shade • Habitat • Air Quality • Water Quality • Color • Neighborhood and street character • Horticulture • Culture & History • Food Source • Property Values • Aesthetics • Recreation • Health & Well-being
  11. 11. SantaBarbaraCA.gov/ParksAndRec Urban Forest Management • Parks and Recreation Department • Forestry Program • 8 staff • Urban Forest Superintendent • Street Tree Supervisor • 6 field staff • Operate on <$1 M budget
  12. 12. SantaBarbaraCA.gov/ParksAndRec Urban Forest Management Plan
  13. 13. SantaBarbaraCA.gov/ParksAndRec Urban Forest Action • “Develop strategies to manage sensitive parkway trees during drought conditions”
  14. 14. SantaBarbaraCA.gov/ParksAndRec MANAGING SANTA BARBARA’S URBAN FOREST DURING A SEVERE DROUGHT
  15. 15. SantaBarbaraCA.gov/ParksAndRec Drought Declarations • Stage I- February 2014 • Voluntary 20% conservation • Stage II- May 2014 • Drought Strategy Plan • Required 20% conservation • Stage III- May 2015 • 2013/2014 4th driest year on record • 25% mandatory water conservation
  16. 16. SantaBarbaraCA.gov/ParksAndRec Strategic Drought Response Plan • Assess the Departments tree assets and resources • Short-term and longer-term impacts of reduced water • Need to protect historic resources • Programmatic changes which could conserve water use • Modifications to irrigation practices
  17. 17. SantaBarbaraCA.gov/ParksAndRec Prioritize what trees get water • Young trees- still establishing root system • Historic trees and Notable specimens • Rare trees • Species drought intolerant • Eucalyptus • Pines • Sycamores, Willows
  18. 18. SantaBarbaraCA.gov/ParksAndRec Actions to conserve water • Postpone new plantings • Change pruning practices • Reduce removal of live tissue • Focus on dead tissue • Monitor trees in historically significant parks • Develop Historic and Specimen Tree Action Plan
  19. 19. SantaBarbaraCA.gov/ParksAndRec Actions to conserve water • Slow watering devices • Gator Bags • Irricades • Mulch to reduce evaporation • Implement water tracking • Water meters installed on trucks and trailer
  20. 20. SantaBarbaraCA.gov/ParksAndRec Historic and Specimen Drought Action Plan
  21. 21. SantaBarbaraCA.gov/ParksAndRec TOOLS TO ACHIEVE TREE MANAGEMENT EFFICIENCIES What do you achieve with the resources you have?
  22. 22. SantaBarbaraCA.gov/ParksAndRec Monitor to Manage • June 2014- Institute aggressive monitoring • Tree watering • Tree maintenance • Installed water meters on truck/trailer
  23. 23. SantaBarbaraCA.gov/ParksAndRec
  24. 24. SantaBarbaraCA.gov/ParksAndRec Results were Shocking • 35 minutes to water young trees • 2+ hours to water mature historic trees Reaction: • Install slow watering devices • Gator bags on young trees • Irricades on historic and mature trees
  25. 25. SantaBarbaraCA.gov/ParksAndRec Time Reduced, More trees watered 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN (min.) Tree Gator Bag Installation Time increase reflects staff reduced use of side sprayer and hose and increase in probe
  26. 26. SantaBarbaraCA.gov/ParksAndRec Time Reduced, More trees watered 0 50 100 150 200 250 JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN (min) Irricade Installation Start watering Stone Pines by hand Average time now 13 min.
  27. 27. SantaBarbaraCA.gov/ParksAndRec COMMUNITY OUTREACH AND RAISING FUNDS
  28. 28. SantaBarbaraCA.gov/ParksAndRec What do you need? • Financial support • Purchase equipment • Perform specialized treatments • Volunteer support • Adopt a street tree • Bucket brigade
  29. 29. SantaBarbaraCA.gov/ParksAndRec Provide Usable Information
  30. 30. SantaBarbaraCA.gov/ParksAndRec THANK YOU! Mandy Burgess Administrative Analyst City of Santa Barbara Parks and Recreation Deptartment aburgess@santabarbaraca.gov 805-564-5436

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