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Using Inventories for Disaster
Planning & Response
Matthew Lee
Green Infrastructure Center Inc.
mlee@gicinc.org
Tig Tillinghast
Urban Forest Metrix
tig@forestmetrix.com
This project made possible through funding by the National Urban and Community Forestry
Advisory Council (NUCFAC)
GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE CENTER INC.
The price of being unprepared can be
enormous!
Between 2000-2010 FEMA and local
governments spent more than $8 billion in
disaster-generated debris removal costs.
FEMA estimated debris removal operations
account for approximately 27% of disaster
recovery costs (FEMA 325 DMG 2007).
For example, in 2017 the City of Hitchcock, TX
(pop. ~8000) amassed more than $500,000
worth of debris removal costs in only 5 days
post Hurricane Harvey.
Takeaway: the costs associated with
implementing preparedness programs to the
urban forest is minimal in comparison to
damages and lost productivity.
Why Plan?
Link: https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/billions/mapping/freq/1981-2001
GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE CENTER INC.
• Reduce significant disruptions to the economy and
community.
• Reduce damage to property and increase public
safety.
• Reduce tree canopy cover loss
• Improve local, state, and federal information
sharing
• Coordinate response plans
• Identify capacity and areas of need
• Identify critical infrastructure
• And get reimbursed for debris removal and
replacement for lost or damaged trees during
federal major disaster declarations.
Why Plan?
GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE CENTER INC.
• Community Setting
• Storm Preparation
– Tree Canopy Assessment, Public tree inventory, tree
risk assessment, storm mitigation map, and more.
• Storm Response
– Debris diversion and cleanup, hazard tree removal
and pruning.
• Storm Recovery
– Summary of tree loss, planting site inventories,
replacement plan, species selection
Funding Sources Available
- FEMA – 404 Hazard Mitigation Funding, 406 Public
Assistance Grants, Building Resilient Infrastructure and
Communities (BRIC), or Flood Mitigation Assistance.
Forest Storm Mitigation Manual
GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE CENTER INC.
There are many ways you can better prepare
your community’s urban forest for future storms
or events. This includes integrating urban forest
management and planning into emergency
response. Some top ways you can be better
prepared are:
1. Develop pre-positioned (also known as
advanced readiness) contracts.
2. Develop a debris management plan.
3. Conduct a tree inventory and risk assessment
on public trees.
Storm Readiness
GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE CENTER INC.
The goal is to minimize risk through proper mitigation to
critical infrastructure and property.
Example: Niceville, FL
Niceville, FL got lucky and suffered only a glancing pass from
Hurricane Michael (Category 5 storm).
There was some cleanup but nothing severe and the tree
canopy did not suffer extensive losses.
GIC helped the city better prepare for the next major storm.
The city contracted tree maintenance around critical
government facilities about 7 years ago but lacked a public
tree inventory.
GIC collected tree inventory data and flagged some trees in
poor condition for additional risk assessment.
Tree Risk Zones
GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE CENTER INC.
Tree inventories are also great ways to
document maintenance needs for
specific trees and to develop
management plans for optimal tree
health.
It also helps flag trees that may need
mitigation to reduce risk of tree failure
during normal weather and potentially
extreme weather (hurricanes and
tornados would be examples of
abnormally extreme weather).
GIC prioritized tree inventory around
critical community infrastructure first.
City and police fleet
parked
City Hall
Public library
Police station
Fire station
GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE CENTER INC.
Tree Inventory - Niceville
GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE CENTER INC.
GIC’s partial tree inventory did NOT include a limited
visual inspection (Level 1 Tree Risk Assessment);
however some obvious tree defects were recorded.**
37 trees in the inventory were identified as having
poor or dead/dying tree structure and could be at risk
of tree failure.**
29 trees were identified with a defect (girdling roots,
decay, lean, wounding, etc.).**
**Note: This does not mean that other trees inventoried
did not have any defects. They were just not noticed by
the crew during tree inventory data collection.
GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE CENTER INC.
Tree Inventory
GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE CENTER INC.
This data can help support a more targeted
assessment of trees that should be
examined further for risk.
Example conduct a Level 1 Risk Assessment
on certain properties or populations of trees
or conduct a Level 2 Basic Risk Assessment
on trees flagged during the inventory.
This allows the City to potentially mitigate
risk in advance of a severe storm. It also
helps reduce overall liability for the City.
This process helps protect City assets and
maximize resource use.
GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE CENTER INC.
Tree Inventory
1. Right Tree, Right Place!
– Don’t plant back trees that are a wrong fit.
– Avoid invasive trees or are structurally
unsound.
– Make sure high quality stock.
– Ensure good form and structure with new
plantings.
2. Funding to Replace and Expand.
– Infrastructure
– Aesthetics
3. Continue ongoing tree risk mitigation and recovery
pruning.
4. Use assessment data to update public tree
inventory.
5. The work is never complete!
Long-Term Storm Recovery
GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE CENTER INC.
How to Make an Inventory “Living”
• We have hundreds of
inventories using our
software
• Many “died” and needed to
be started afresh with us
• This experience as a coroner
of sorts gives us some
insight:
• What made the inventory
stale?
• What factors prevent that?
• How do you set up processes
to give an inventory the best
odds of survival?
• This is harder than it sounds
• It involves people stuff
Most Inventories Designed to Be Dead
Documents
• Spreadsheet or database as product
• Not consulted, so not updated
• After a year, not trusted
Causes of Death
1. People who deal with trees – the would-be updaters –
don’t access the system
1. They don’t have it
2. They are in a different department
3. Culturally, they’re averse to it
4. The system is a pain to use
5. Using the system would help other people/departments, but constitute a hassle
for them in the field
2. After a year, the data itself isn’t trusted
Solutions
• Department paying the field person
has to care
• Something of real value must be
given to the field techs:
• Emergency management?
• Carbon calculation?
• Tree maintenance?
• This should come from their needs
Emergency Management
• Inventory for Planning
• Calculating debris yarding
requirements
• Emergency services route
problems
• Creating maps without a
“GIS person”
• Using that Base Inventory
for Disaster Response Data
Taking
• FEMA compensation
documentation
• Strike Teams interface
Reporting data
Tracking
Trees
Locating
Trees
Arborist
Services
Mapping Proposal
& Work
Order
Managin
g Work
Metrics
&
Monitor
Sales/Closing Show/Sort
2019-9
% $ Closed 0.0% $ Proposed $2,930.00 $ Approved
% $ Closed
Chris 0.0% $ Proposed $87,865.00 $ Approved
% $ Closed
Dan 10.3% $ Proposed $228,987.00 $ Approved $23,695.00
Example: East Providence, RI
AUTI Option
• Free software through
USDA/NUCFAC grant
• Now with Strike Team
capabilities
• Contact to set up free
access:
• tig@forestmetrix.com
Questions?
Matthew Lee
Green Infrastructure Center Inc.
mlee@gicinc.org
Tig Tillinghast
Urban Forest Metrix
tig@forestmetrix.com
This project made possible through funding by the National Urban and
Community Forestry Advisory Council (NUCFAC)

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Disaster Planning for the Urban Forest

  • 1. Using Inventories for Disaster Planning & Response Matthew Lee Green Infrastructure Center Inc. mlee@gicinc.org Tig Tillinghast Urban Forest Metrix tig@forestmetrix.com This project made possible through funding by the National Urban and Community Forestry Advisory Council (NUCFAC)
  • 2. GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE CENTER INC. The price of being unprepared can be enormous! Between 2000-2010 FEMA and local governments spent more than $8 billion in disaster-generated debris removal costs. FEMA estimated debris removal operations account for approximately 27% of disaster recovery costs (FEMA 325 DMG 2007). For example, in 2017 the City of Hitchcock, TX (pop. ~8000) amassed more than $500,000 worth of debris removal costs in only 5 days post Hurricane Harvey. Takeaway: the costs associated with implementing preparedness programs to the urban forest is minimal in comparison to damages and lost productivity. Why Plan? Link: https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/billions/mapping/freq/1981-2001
  • 3. GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE CENTER INC. • Reduce significant disruptions to the economy and community. • Reduce damage to property and increase public safety. • Reduce tree canopy cover loss • Improve local, state, and federal information sharing • Coordinate response plans • Identify capacity and areas of need • Identify critical infrastructure • And get reimbursed for debris removal and replacement for lost or damaged trees during federal major disaster declarations. Why Plan?
  • 4. GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE CENTER INC. • Community Setting • Storm Preparation – Tree Canopy Assessment, Public tree inventory, tree risk assessment, storm mitigation map, and more. • Storm Response – Debris diversion and cleanup, hazard tree removal and pruning. • Storm Recovery – Summary of tree loss, planting site inventories, replacement plan, species selection Funding Sources Available - FEMA – 404 Hazard Mitigation Funding, 406 Public Assistance Grants, Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC), or Flood Mitigation Assistance. Forest Storm Mitigation Manual
  • 5. GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE CENTER INC. There are many ways you can better prepare your community’s urban forest for future storms or events. This includes integrating urban forest management and planning into emergency response. Some top ways you can be better prepared are: 1. Develop pre-positioned (also known as advanced readiness) contracts. 2. Develop a debris management plan. 3. Conduct a tree inventory and risk assessment on public trees. Storm Readiness
  • 6. GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE CENTER INC. The goal is to minimize risk through proper mitigation to critical infrastructure and property. Example: Niceville, FL Niceville, FL got lucky and suffered only a glancing pass from Hurricane Michael (Category 5 storm). There was some cleanup but nothing severe and the tree canopy did not suffer extensive losses. GIC helped the city better prepare for the next major storm. The city contracted tree maintenance around critical government facilities about 7 years ago but lacked a public tree inventory. GIC collected tree inventory data and flagged some trees in poor condition for additional risk assessment. Tree Risk Zones
  • 7. GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE CENTER INC. Tree inventories are also great ways to document maintenance needs for specific trees and to develop management plans for optimal tree health. It also helps flag trees that may need mitigation to reduce risk of tree failure during normal weather and potentially extreme weather (hurricanes and tornados would be examples of abnormally extreme weather). GIC prioritized tree inventory around critical community infrastructure first. City and police fleet parked City Hall Public library Police station Fire station GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE CENTER INC. Tree Inventory - Niceville
  • 8. GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE CENTER INC. GIC’s partial tree inventory did NOT include a limited visual inspection (Level 1 Tree Risk Assessment); however some obvious tree defects were recorded.** 37 trees in the inventory were identified as having poor or dead/dying tree structure and could be at risk of tree failure.** 29 trees were identified with a defect (girdling roots, decay, lean, wounding, etc.).** **Note: This does not mean that other trees inventoried did not have any defects. They were just not noticed by the crew during tree inventory data collection. GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE CENTER INC. Tree Inventory
  • 9. GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE CENTER INC. This data can help support a more targeted assessment of trees that should be examined further for risk. Example conduct a Level 1 Risk Assessment on certain properties or populations of trees or conduct a Level 2 Basic Risk Assessment on trees flagged during the inventory. This allows the City to potentially mitigate risk in advance of a severe storm. It also helps reduce overall liability for the City. This process helps protect City assets and maximize resource use. GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE CENTER INC. Tree Inventory
  • 10. 1. Right Tree, Right Place! – Don’t plant back trees that are a wrong fit. – Avoid invasive trees or are structurally unsound. – Make sure high quality stock. – Ensure good form and structure with new plantings. 2. Funding to Replace and Expand. – Infrastructure – Aesthetics 3. Continue ongoing tree risk mitigation and recovery pruning. 4. Use assessment data to update public tree inventory. 5. The work is never complete! Long-Term Storm Recovery GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE CENTER INC.
  • 11. How to Make an Inventory “Living” • We have hundreds of inventories using our software • Many “died” and needed to be started afresh with us • This experience as a coroner of sorts gives us some insight: • What made the inventory stale? • What factors prevent that? • How do you set up processes to give an inventory the best odds of survival? • This is harder than it sounds • It involves people stuff
  • 12. Most Inventories Designed to Be Dead Documents • Spreadsheet or database as product • Not consulted, so not updated • After a year, not trusted Causes of Death 1. People who deal with trees – the would-be updaters – don’t access the system 1. They don’t have it 2. They are in a different department 3. Culturally, they’re averse to it 4. The system is a pain to use 5. Using the system would help other people/departments, but constitute a hassle for them in the field 2. After a year, the data itself isn’t trusted
  • 13. Solutions • Department paying the field person has to care • Something of real value must be given to the field techs: • Emergency management? • Carbon calculation? • Tree maintenance? • This should come from their needs
  • 14. Emergency Management • Inventory for Planning • Calculating debris yarding requirements • Emergency services route problems • Creating maps without a “GIS person” • Using that Base Inventory for Disaster Response Data Taking • FEMA compensation documentation • Strike Teams interface
  • 15. Reporting data Tracking Trees Locating Trees Arborist Services Mapping Proposal & Work Order Managin g Work Metrics & Monitor Sales/Closing Show/Sort 2019-9 % $ Closed 0.0% $ Proposed $2,930.00 $ Approved % $ Closed Chris 0.0% $ Proposed $87,865.00 $ Approved % $ Closed Dan 10.3% $ Proposed $228,987.00 $ Approved $23,695.00
  • 17. AUTI Option • Free software through USDA/NUCFAC grant • Now with Strike Team capabilities • Contact to set up free access: • tig@forestmetrix.com
  • 18. Questions? Matthew Lee Green Infrastructure Center Inc. mlee@gicinc.org Tig Tillinghast Urban Forest Metrix tig@forestmetrix.com This project made possible through funding by the National Urban and Community Forestry Advisory Council (NUCFAC)