Saturday, January 31, 2009
7 points about the looming Leucadia 101 tree removal
The following was posted by Kevin C. in the comments section of this blog:
1. The three sets of opinions by the aborists were not fully consistent. There were a number of important differences in the recommendations.
2. Now, I have to admit I don't know what the arborists were asked to do. You can't tell by their analysis (or lack there of). Were they asked to do a risk assessment? Were they asked to do establish a health prognosis? Where they asked, "do you think we should cut those trees down? or, How can we save those trees? Actually, it is pretty clear they weren't asked the last question.
3. Sure, the justification looks good on the surface, but when you look closely at the reports they are pretty thin on providing justification for the immediate removal of the trees. There is no real risk assessment, no structural analysis, or real biological analysis which explained why the trees needed to come down NOW. I don't doubt that such an analysis could result in a conclusion that some of the trees should come down promptly, but I remain highly suspicious for many of the trees.
4.Why do each of these trees have to come down now? You won't find the answers in the reports. [The trees are a the number one asset on 101 and their great size makes L101 fairly unique. The city should make sure that question was addressed. ] That was worth repeating.
5. We have two reports. That doesn't mean that we have two reports that are good enough. The fact that the reports say we should cut down a tree simply because it has some dead canopy should make you want to see a complete analysis of the trees' prognosis.
6. Why do you say the trees are at the rear of their "life-cycles"? What is the evidence? I don't even think the tree trimmer made that claim.
7. How was the outside arborist selected? Did the city hire him or did L101 hire him? He seems to be a bit of a self-promoter and some sort of reinvented landscaper/broker. I don't know that he brings engineering skills or perspective or biological skills or perspective. That is probably fine for most of the things he works on, but if he is not producing an analysis and instead he is just creating straight practitioner's opinion, we should keep that in mind.
click image for large view
The report calls for 8 trees to be cut down, however the new word around town is that 16 Hwy101 trees will be cut down in February.
*I would like to add a point about the perceived danger of old growth Eucalyptus trees. At the last city goal setting meeting Jim Bond talked at length about how branches from Eucs will "go off like a gun" and fall without warning. This is true but, those branches are easy to spot in advance. If the city had any kind of regular maintenance schedule for the 101 trees fear of falling branches would not be an issue.
Also, Leucadia 101 has been the scene of many car accidents, including fatalities. Yet the city is slow to respond to addressing traffic safety on the 101. Why fear of trees? The city might tell us, "The Streetscape will solve traffic safety issues and we will replant trees during the Streetscape." The problem is that the Streetscape timeline is in limbo.