Comprehensive Urban Forestry Program for Asheville in 2020

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Welcome to Round Two of Asheville community members voicing our support for an Urban Forester on city staff! Due to last year’s budget exclusion and the buzz of that happening again this year, we are determined to send a strong message to our city leaders that 2020 must be the year our city invests in the long-term health of our community.

In Asheville’s Urban Tree Canopy Study (link below), the census areas with the highest percentage of population below the poverty level also have higher percentages of canopy loss. This is environmental injustice. Asheville’s 2008 tree canopy sequestered 70,749 tons of carbon. The loss of tree canopy between 2008 and 2018 reduced carbon sequestration capacity by 5,896 tons. This amount of carbon is equivalent to approximately 2 million gallons of gasoline. The root systems of trees also help to increase our soil’s water holding capacity. Tree canopy loss in Asheville over the last 10 years has resulted in an average increase of 18,000,000 gallons of stormwater, equivalent to 27 Olympic swimming pools. (Davey Resource Group, 2019)

An Urban Forester on staff would:
Strengthen the City’s position to develop a comprehensive urban forestry program;
Lead the development of an Urban Forest Master Plan to guide the City towards long-term urban forestry goals;
Facilitate consistent inter-departmental cooperation in urban forest-related issues; 
Provide in-house technical expertise to address the complexities of managing an extensive urban forest;
Enable Asheville to develop public-private partnerships related to urban forestry; 
Coordinate a potentially large base of Volunteers. (Asheville Tree Commission Annual Report, 2018)

We are asking that City Council dedicate $300,000 annually for a comprehensive urban forestry program in the City of Asheville beginning with the 2020-21 budget. This would provide full funding for an urban forester, urban forest master plan, and an annual fund for tree planting/other improvements. These essential measures would guide us towards the goal of restoring the urban forest canopy to 50% and are critical steps in adapting to and mitigating the effects of climate change.

**Petition Edited April 18, 2020: Due to the Covid-19 crisis and the effect on our city budget, we are adjusting our expectations and simply asking that the next new position added to Asheville's Development Services Department be an Urban Forester.

Thank you for doing the right thing for Asheville now and for our future generations!

To email Asheville City Council: AshevilleNCCouncil@ashevillenc.gov
To email Asheville City Manager: dcampbell@ashevillenc.gov
To read Asheville’s Urban Tree Canopy Study: https://www.ashevillegreenworks.org/uploads/1/1/3/3/11332507/urban_tree_canopy_study.pdf

We are not asking for donations to this petition.

Please email any questions to: urbanforestalliance@gmail.com

 

 

 



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