One of the ways that the Urban Forestry Restoration Project (UFRP) differs from traditional grant programs is that it doesn’t ask for a cash match; instead, a commitment match is required. That commitment is demonstrated through the development of a three-year maintenance and monitoring plan for each project site.
Maintenance and monitoring plans help communities think about what happens next after the UFRP crews have completed their work. By providing a template and technical assistance, the UFRP helps communities acquire the tools to work as effectively as possible. The goal is ensure that urban trees and forests are healthy, safe so they can provide the benefits and services that are so important to all of us.
Trees are often planted with great fanfare and excitement—then what? Who will water them? Prune them? Mulch them? Remove the stakes? Similarly, once English ivy and Himalayan blackberry have been removed from forested greenspace, how do we keep them out? Who will check for regrowth? How much regrowth should be allowed before action is taken? Who will make the decision and who will do the work? If trees were pruned for structure, when will they next be pruned? Will a pruning cycle be established? When will the trees be inspected and by whom? These are among the questions that a maintenance plan should address.
A key consideration are the resources such as staff, volunteers, funding, and so on, that are available to tackle the various maintenance and aftercare tasks. The UFRP provides a template to help guide the development of the plan, but only the community itself can determine how much can be done, how to go about it, and who should be responsible. Having a plan helps keep energy focused on critical tasks so that scarce resources can be used most efficiently and effectively.
All maintenance plans should include a monitoring component to determine the success—or failure—of current practices. The UFRP template incorporates a monitoring program that sets simple benchmarks and evaluates the site against them on a regular basis and in a consistent fashion. Each community must develop its own benchmarks, taking into consideration the needs of the site and the resources at hand. Annual monitoring helps determine whether ongoing work is effective, and if not, what steps should be taken to revise both short-term care and long-term planning to improve success. Monitoring results are reported to DNR annually for three years to demonstrate continued commitment to the project site.
The application form, three-year plan and annual monitoring report form the basis for adaptive management specific to individual UFRP project sites. These tools are baby steps toward full-stride urban forestry management planning that proactively manages trees rather than reactively dashing from crisis to crisis.
The UFRP maintenance and monitoring plan is designed to help communities
- Determine next steps after the UFRP crews have completed their work.
- Prioritize work to ensure effective use of limited resources.
- Evaluate the impact of maintenance efforts, and revise them as necessary for greater success.
- Justify expenditures through documented results.
- Report site successes to DNR—and the broader community.
Learn more about the Urban Forestry Restoration Project