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City Department Orders Study on Impact of California’s Multi-Year Drought on Pasadena’s Urban Forest

Published on Friday, September 9, 2022 | 5:27 am
 
Arborists point to the drought’s impact on trees. Dried branches can give way and fall, damaging objects and injuring people.

With the intention of improving street tree care at a time when heat, drought and water scarcity are looming factors, Pasadena’s Public Works Department is commissioning a study on the impact of California’s multi-year historic drought on the City’s urban forest.

Public Works Director Tony Olmos said last week his Department has circulated a Request for Proposal for qualified consultants to prepare a street tree watering and maintenance study and come up with recommendations on how the City could encourage residents and property owners to help mitigate the drought’s impact on the urban forest. 

Results are expected to be submitted in early 2023, according to City documents. 

After a special meeting of the Urban Forest Advisory Committee (UFAC) in July 27, the Public Works Department said the primary focus areas of the study will include an assessment of the City’s current tree watering and establishment practice and of tree mortality data, an assessment of the tree maintenance program, soil sampling analysis in targeted area to determine soil moisture characteristics, and educational campaigns for residents and property owners for proper tree care. 

The results would also include cost analysis and a feasibility study for implementing strategies such as the City taking responsibility to water all trees.

Key milestones in the study will be presented to the UFAC for additional input. The final study and recommendations will be shared with the City Council once completed. 

Public Works has increased the watering frequency of young trees that are showing signs of stress. The Department intends to continue this increased frequency through the rest of summer.

Currently, the Department of Public Works continues a partnership with Pasadena Water and Power in order to distribute tree care information resources through social media channels and in line with PWP’s outreach efforts on water conservation among residents and property owners. 

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