2020 – Planning for a new year and a new decade!

January is a good time to look behind at the successes you enjoyed this year, review the challenges that presented themselves, and plan to work to turn those challenges into successes in the new year.

Strategic planning is a worthwhile goal for any program. Urban Forestry plans, ideally based on a current tree resource inventory, can be quite detailed or basic. Plans help to assure that management is looking ahead to staffing needs and seasonal tree maintenance tasks like pruning or leaf pick-up. Plans can also quite specifically address issues and challenges that might be anticipated within the context of the urban forest over the long run.

Risk management is a very real challenge that urban foresters face. Even well-managed trees eventually age and begin to degrade. Unanticipated storm events can devastate trees, blocking major arterial corridors or damaging infrastructure. Introduced pests and pathogens can make an unwelcome appearance, changing the structure and integrity of trees.

At DNR we are working to assist in community planning efforts to address the eventuality of introduced pests. With the large number of marine and land-based ports of entry in Washington, it is no surprise that we are vulnerable to the introduction of pests and pathogens from other parts of the county and the world. Unfortunately, these pests can strap already lean budgets as communities are challenged to manage the impact to trees and natural areas.  It is good to have a plan in place.

Thanks to our funding partner, the U.S. Forest Service Urban and Community Forestry Program, UCF is looking forward to providing resources to communities interested in planning for the eventuality of an introduced pest. Partnering with the Washington Invasive Species Council, we will be offering workshops to help you work through the newly published Urban Forest Pest Readiness Playbook to develop a preparedness plan for your community. In addition, we will be working with Washington State Department of Agriculture to aggregate tree inventory data to assess areas of vulnerability statewide and develop an accessible tree inventory data collection tool that will assist us and community partners to gather additional data.

It is said that there is no time like the present to begin. The beginning of this new decade is a good time to plan for the next!

Happy New Year!

By Linden J. Lampman, program manager, DNR Urban and Community Forestry Program