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Street Tree Inventory
Background and Objectives
The Town of Tonawanda has received an Urban and Community Forest grant ($49,697) from the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) to conduct a street tree inventory. 

The Town of Tonawanda has partnered with Buffalo State College, Department of Geography and Planning, to inventory existing trees and potential future planting locations in the public right-of-ways through the Town in the 2015-2016 season.  Utilizing a consultant, Wendel, to guide the process and provide arborist and GIS services and students provided by the College, the Town anticipates inventorying approximately 30,000 trees and 5,000 potential future planting locations. 

The project will provide the Town’s first complete inventory of trees, enabling the Town to plan a response to the EAB infestation and manage natural resources effectively to promote energy savings while maximizing economic benefits.

Project Details
This project focuses on using iPads with Collector for GIS software to obtain GPS locations and other relevant tree data. The database design is intended to host not only the inventory collection but also but used by the Forestry Division of the Highway Department to manage and maintain the urban tree canopy. The data will be automatically saved and stored on GIS server of the college. Once the inventory is complete, the data will be copied to the town’s GIS server for inventory management and analysis

The project will also utilize i-Tree software, free from the US Forest Service to perform various statistical analysis once the inventory is completed.

The Emerald Ash Borer has been documented within the Town. The inventory will provide the Town with a much needed count and condition of ash trees located in the public right-of way. Once identified, Town crews will be able to respond to EAB infestation/damage and reduce liability associated with hazardous trees. The Town of Tonawanda is self-insured for liability. The inventory will identify trees that are hazardous for mitigation, reducing future liability claims, ultimately paid by the taxpayer.

Using the recommended tree benefit calculator and assuming an average deciduous medium leaf tree, 10 inches in diameter, citizens reap $106/year per tree in benefits. With an estimated 30,000 trees in the public right-of-ways, that equates to $3,180,000 in benefits with a potential for $530,000 in benefits from the 5,000+ new planting sites.

The data to be provided as a result of the project includes tree species, diameter at breast height (DBH), crown width, height, condition, required maintenance, planting location evaluations, site condition assessments and utility conflicts.

The project is expected to be completed by the Fall of 2016.

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