Friday, April 29, 2011

Casey Trees releases Third Annual Tree Report Card in conjunction with Arbor Day, D.C. falls to a C

Read the 2010 Tree Report Card and those from past years in their entirety.
Each spring in conjunction with Arbor Day, Casey Trees releases its Tree Report Card – the only independent assessment of a city’s trees in the nation. The Tree Report Card rates five individual tree metrics – awareness, coverage, health, planting and protection – to arrive at an overall grade which reflects the quantity and quality of the District’s trees and public and private efforts to expand and sustain them.

For activities occurring in 2010 the overall grade is a C, a decline from the B- given the previous year. 

The lower grade is due in large part to the F assigned to tree protection which measures the effectiveness of the Urban Forest Preservation Act (UFPA) of 2002. The UFPA and its Tree Fund were created to replace large trees that are removed due to development and related activities. Our findings show that the UFPA is not achieving its goals due to poor oversight and use of Tree Fund dollars for purposes unrelated to those stipulated in the UFPA. 

Chief among the issues cited for the failing grade was the redirecting of $539,000 from the Tree Fund to the General Fund in FY11 to offset budget shortfalls and the lack of records to show if 10,000 trees that should have been planted since 2002 are alive or were even planted. Our Tree Report Card recommends that the Gray Administration reevaluate how the UFPA is administered and potentially shift that role to an agency that is better suited to the tasks outlined in the Act.

Read the entire 2010 Tree Report Card in a page-turning publication on our website. 

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