At tonight’s Council worksession, the City Council will discuss ways to enhance tree canopy in College Park.
As a result of the utility line clearance work in 2016, the Mayor and Council, Tree and Landscape Board (TLB) and Committee for a Better Environment (CBE) became concerned about the perceived loss of tree canopy throughout the City. The Mayor and Council requested further investigation into a Tree Canopy Assessment.
Staff obtained City’s tree canopy data from the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning using data from a Prince George’s County survey completed in 2014, which depicted the change in tree canopy coverage from a 2009 survey.
These surveys are performed by the National Agriculture Imagery Program (NAIP) and are performed on a 5-year cycle. Staff looked strictly at the residential neighborhood areas of the City, where the City has responsibility, and found that 42% of the pervious area had tree canopy. According to staff, the majority of the City’s potential tree canopy area located on private property and much of the tree canopy loss in the City was located on private property.
The Council approved funding in the current budget for tree planting on private property. The TLB has approved guidelines for the Tree Canopy Enhancement Program to incentivize this process. The program could further include public education and engagement, tree protection measures and permitted removal requirements, as well as replanting requirements associated with permitted tree removals for private property.
Staff is recommending to approve the Tree Canopy Enhancement Program guidelines funded in the FY 17 budget and also to approve funding request in FY 18 budget for a Citywide comprehensive Urban Tree Canopy (UTC) Assessment, and Tree Canopy Enhancement Program (TCEP) to incentivize tree planting on private property.