The Urban Forestry Division administers the long-term urban forestry policies for the City and conducts plan review for all new development. The Urban Forestry Division is guided by an overall vision to sustain and enhance a livable community with an extensive, thriving urban forest that provides multiple community benefits. The staff attends monthly meetings of the Beautification Committee and is responsible for the annual re certification of the City's "Tree City USA" status as well as the coordination of the annual Arbor Day celebration. Urban Forestry Division also maintains all of the City's street, park, trail, and trees in city-owned right of way, and in Landscape Lighting Districts, oversees the protection of Valley Oak trees and the Street Tree ordinance.
NEW TREES PLANTED AS PART OF CITY’S ARBOR DAY PROGRAM ON THE ST. JOHN’S RIVER TRAIL
Over 150 citizens participated in the annual Arbor Day Celebration program held this past Saturday morning (April 5, 2008) on the St. John’s River Trail, located on the south bank of the river, in northeast Visalia.
As part of a brief formal program, former City Beautification Commissioner Carl Schoettler introduced both City Council member Amy Shuklian and California Department of Forestry & Fire Protection representative David Shy. Shuklian presented the City with a Proclamation recognizing Visalia as a Tree City U.S.A. for the 25th year in a row by the National Arbor Day Foundation. Ranger Unit Forester Shy presented the City with a beautiful Arbor Day Flag. The City’s Arborist David Pendergraft accepted the Proclamation and the flag on behalf of the City’s Parks & Recreation Department.
After the program, local citizens of all ages participated in the planting of 200 Red Bud and Valley Oak 5 gallon trees. The Urban Tree Foundation, led by local tree enthusiast Brian Kempf, provided assistance in the planting effort. Tree planting techniques were also led by the Master Gardener’s of Visalia. The trees were planted just east of McAuliff Street and Golden West High School. The trees will be part of the trail expansion project along the St. John’s Trail which continues to expand to the east towards the County’s Cutler Park.
West Coast Arborists also provided a portable saw mill demonstration emphasizing the use of recycled wood for various wood products.
VALLEY OAK TREE ORDINANCE
The citizens of Visalia are fortunate to live among the largest remaining stand of native Valley Oaks in the Central Valley. These magnificent trees need to be protected during development, so they will survive for the next generation. The City's Valley Oak Ordinance establishes policies for the care, trimming and removal of Valley Oaks. Residents and developers are required to ensure the protection of these magnificent trees and must obtain permission to remove or prune Valley Oaks.
Street trees are a major asset to Visalia's quality of life. Street trees cool and beautify neighbor hoods, reduce air pollution and save energy. In 2000 the City established a partnership with the Urban Tree Foundation to plant over 3,000 trees in the Downtown and along streets and medians. In 2004 the City Council adopted the Street Tree Ordinance which requires all new commercial and residential development to plant street trees.