On Thursday, April 5, the Watsonville Parks and Recreation Commission met and approved the Urban Greening Street Tree Planting Plan. The commission also approved the Urban Greening Landscape Guidelines. These plans describe the existing conditions of the city, the value of trees, the proposed priority implementation projects, the framework to guide planting designs and the next steps for City Council approval and funding. You can give further input to this plan on April 24 when the Plan goes to the city council for approval.
Citywide, Watsonville only has 7.8 percent tree canopy coverage. This includes street trees and trees on private property. It is estimated that approximately an additional 46,600 trees are needed to have a canopy cover of 40 percent. Why trees? To my pleasant surprise I learned that trees help to:
-increase home value -decrease crime
-calm traffic -reduce global warming
-improve air quality -absorb storm water
-reduce energy use -create urban habitat
Trees are valuable to promote a healthy city environment.
Three meetings were held to get input from the community as the plan was being developed. The meetings were held October 16, 2011, November 2, 2011 and November 16, 2011. From these meetings it was agreed that the streets that needed to serve as models for street-tree planting were the following:
-Freedom Boulevard -East Lake Avenue
-Martinelli Street -Upper Main Street
-Clifford Avenue -Bockius Street
The two organizing principals that will guide the planting of trees on these streets and citywide are sustainability principles (protect wetlands and river, conserve water, preserve and create habitat) and design principles (improve safety, protect buildings and infrastructure, and make Watsonville more beautiful).
If the Watsonville City Council gives approval to this Plan on April 24 short-term tree planting could begin with the participation of private property owners. The City would also immediately begin applying for grant funding. We need your input to make this endeavor work. Please attend the April 24 Watsonville City Council meeting to give your input. For any questions, contact Bob Geyer, Assistant Director of Public Works and Utilities, (831) 768-3100.