City Manager's Updates

Monthly updates from El Cerrito City Manager Karen Pinkos.

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Apr 14

Tree Program Update: 2014

Posted on April 14, 2014 at 11:56 AM by Suzanne Iarla

On March 4, 2014, Environmental Programs Manager and City Arborist Stephen Prée made a presentation to the City Council regarding the City’s Tree Program, in conjunction with the Council’s adoption of the Arbor Week Proclamation. The following is a supplement to that presentation and is meant to serve as a complete update on the Tree Program to date.

The activities undertaken via El Cerrito’s Tree Program are guided by the 2007 El Cerrito Urban Forestry Management Plan, and in recent years have included the following:

October 2012 Council appointed Tree Committee began meeting monthly.

March 2013 Coordinated an Arbor Day event with the El Cerrito Garden Club and the Portola Middle School 7th grade science class to plant 12 native Oak trees in Cerrito Vista Park as succession plantings to the declining Pine trees.

Spring 2013 Successful completion of the grant funded 2013 US Forest Service/Cal Fire Tree Inventory of 10,315 City trees, 3978 vacant street tree planting sites and a canopy assessment of over 19,000 trees in the Hillside Natural Area. Also acquired software with this grant to track maintenance of City trees and service requests.

June 2013 Conducted a public meeting on the State of the City Trees in El Cerrito; there were 80 residents in attendance. The program included findings from the Tree Inventory that noted City street trees provide annual benefits of $55.79 per capita in air quality improvements, stormwater interception, CO2 reduction and aesthetic contributions to the social and economic health of the community. Based on estimated expenditures, for every $1 spent on street trees the residents receive $4.28 in benefits.

Fall 2013 In collaboration with City staff, the Tree Committee applied for and was awarded a California Urban Forest Council Invest from the Ground Up Community Tree planting grant to plant 27 street trees on Avila, El Dorado and Carlson streets. The Tree Committee and Public Works staff collaborated with neighbors to plant vacant street tree sites on February 15, 2014

November 2013 Negotiated and Council approved a new Tree Pruning and Removal Agreement designed to address the most critical work identified in the tree inventory and to begin a “grid pruning” approach that carries out preventative pruning on every street tree in a pruning zone with projected completion of all City Street trees in the next 4 to 7 years, pending future budget allocations.

Street pruning activities for this fiscal year (FY2014) are expected to conclude in April after having pruned or removed the most critical trees in the City (as identified in the 2013 Tree Inventory), and completing grid pruning activities for approximately 50% in tree pruning Zone 1 (which is one of four current annual tree pruning zones). Staff had originally anticipated that Agreement would achieve pruning 70% of Zone 1 pruning in FY2014; however, this has not been the case due to the need for more work pruning the most critical trees in many areas.

Spring 2014 Awarded an Invest from the Ground Up community outreach grant to survey the El Cerrito business community regarding business interests in City trees. The Tree Committee and Invest from the Ground up staff, in cooperation with the El Cerrito Chamber of Commerce and the El Cerrito Garden Club, developed an online survey  to determine the overall perceptions of the business community regarding City trees. The aforementioned collaborators are producing an informational brochure in response to the survey to be distributed to the El Cerrito business community. The brochure will elaborate on the benefits of street trees, maintenance procedures, and pruning responsibilities and how to request service, and is scheduled for delivery to El Cerrito businesses in April and May 2014. Link:

March 2014 Commemorated Arbor Week by coordinating a tree planting event in cooperation with the El Cerrito Garden Club, the Tree Committee and Portola Middle School to celebrate the future by planting succession trees in Cerrito Vista Park.

For more information about the El Cerrito’s Tree Program, please contact Stephen Prée at  510-559-7685.

Tag(s): trees, tree