The Town of Amherst has kicked-off its street tree inventory, thanks to efforts by volunteer citizens, boards, and Town staff. Funding for the project was acquired by the Office of Conservation & Development through a grant from the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). A much-anticipated project, the inventory will use $15,000 from DCR’s Urban & Community Forestry Grant program to assess and inventory an estimated 3,100 trees within street rights-of-way beginning with the area in and around the Town Center.
The Davey Resource Group, a consulting firm from Ohio, was selected to conduct the inventory, which will include information about each tree–its species, size, condition, and potential maintenance needs. Davey Resource Group will also train local volunteers in inventory methods to ensure that the inventory can be expanded and continuously updated. The information provided by the inventory will help guide both public projects—sewer line replacement, sidewalk improvements—and private development that might impact public street trees. All of the data gathered during the inventory will be linked with Amherst’s GIS (computer mapping) system and will be available to the public. The inventory will help the Amherst’s Tree Warden, Department of Public Works, and Office of Conservation and Development develop an urban forestry management plan for the community. The goal is to eventually inventory all street trees in Amherst and develop a comprehensive strategy for re-establishing Amherst’s shrinking tree canopy along public roads and in public spaces. That includes removing hazard trees, anticipating future planting needs, enhancing the ability of various Town departments to work cooperatively on projects involving street trees, and increasing public awareness about the value of this part of Amherst’s “green infrastructure.”