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GreenStep City Best Practices Environmental Management

Urban Forests and Soils
no. 16

Add city tree and plant cover that conserves topsoils and increases community health, wealth, quality of life.
  Best Practice Action 3      [ 1 2 3 4 5 6 ]       [all actions]

Budget for and achieve resilient urban canopy/tree planting goals.

  • The i-Tree Tools are a state-of-the-art, peer-reviewed software suite from the USDA Forest Service that helps communities of all sizes strengthen their urban forest management and advocacy efforts by quantifying the urban forest and the environmental, economic and quality of life services that it provides. I-Tree calculates tree canopy coverage percentages for most Minnesota cities, as does this map of city tree canopy coverage from 2013.
  • Typically forestry goals are included in a city's comprehensive plan, and the city adopts an urban forest management plan that includes a budget for upkeep of a city tree inventory and preservation of soils. A "5-10-15" tree-diversity goal for reducing the risk of catastrophic tree loss due to pests is to have in the city tree canopy no more than 5% of any one species, 10% of any one genus, and 15% of any one family.
  • Protecting and Developing the Urban Tree Canopy: A 135-City Survey (U.S. Conference of Mayors: 2008).
  • Trees grown in a gravel-bed nursery cost less and have better root systems that are more likely to survive transplanting. Learn about Hennepin County's experience.
A minimum number of trees planted by the city each year, OR at least 2-3 trees planted for each city tree lost.
An overall city tree canopy of at least 30% and/or a canopy above 60% for residential areas; use I-Tree for tree inventory of trees on City property or city-wide; include tree replacement money in Pavement Management Program budget.
Have in the city tree canopy no more than 5% of any one species, 10% of any one genus, and 15% of any one family; have an overall city tree canopy of at least 40%, with canopy over parking lots (~50%), canopy over residential (~60% - 75%), canopy over commercial/industrial; use iTree to quantify benefits of your urban canopy.

Golden Valley

Date action report first entered:   12/20/2016
Date of last report update:   12/20/2016
Year action initially completed:   2015
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   No

Implementation details:
Golden Valley has an annual budget for tree planting in parks and public spaces ranging from $10,000 to $30,000 in addition to a budget for tree replacement as part of the Pavement Management Program. The City continues to monitor and inspect trees for disease and pests on public land and makes an effort to replace them with native, resilient species. Annually the City plants between 50-75 trees for both parks and as part of the Emerald Ash Borer replacement program. 5-10 trees are planted as part of other construction projects each year as well. As of 2016, according to EarthDefine Geospatial Data and Services, which uses Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) data to determine percent tree canopy, Golden Valley has an overall city tree canopy of 40.5%.p According to a DNR tree inventory conducted in 2010, Golden Valley has about 21.8 trees per acre in areas maintained by the City.

Outcome measures/metrics:
In 2015, 128 trees were planted in Golden Valley (74 public, 50 residential). 210 trees were removed from public property and 145 diseased trees were condemned on private property. $18,460 was spent on tree planting and initial care, $41,412 was spent on tree maintenance, and $16,500 was spent on removals. The total community forestry expenditures were $273,266.80 (Golden Valley population: 20,371). In 2016, 60 (2”-2.5” balled and burlapped) shade and evergreen trees were planted throughout the parks and other public properties.

For more information contact:
Al Lundstrom (City staff)   |   alundstrom@goldenvalleymn.gov   |   (763)-593-8046

View All Golden Valley Actions


Date action report first entered:   04/30/2015
Date of last report update:   04/30/2015

Implementation details:
The city has achieved an overall tree canopy of at least 30% as well as they are continuing to purchase and utilize native trees. Continual effort to plant more trees is being taken.

Outcome measures/metrics:
Native plants are useful to preserve the terrestrial ecosystem of Northern Minnesota. Due to extensive clear cutting in the early 1900's all of Northern Minnesota's old growth forests have disappeared. An active effort to plant and protect native plants will rejuvinate Minnesota's coniferous and deciduous forest.

            view file

For more information contact:
Sam Lautigar (City staff)   |   samlautigar@gilbertmn.org   |   218-748-2214

View All Gilbert Actions


Date action report first entered:   04/27/2016
Date of last report update:   04/27/2016

Implementation details:
Hastings plants nearly 30 trees each year as part of Arbor Day activities. Currently utilizing i-tree to conduct tree inventory for trees on City property.

For more information contact:
Chris Jenkins (City staff)   |   cjenkins@hastingsmn.gov   |   651-480-6176

View All Hastings Actions


Date action report first entered:   05/27/2011

Implementation details:
Completed: We are currently at a tree canopy for 75% for residential areas and continuously budget for this.

View All Kasson Actions


Date action report first entered:   02/19/2013

Implementation details:
The City calculated its overall tree canopy using i-Tree. Per this tool, the City's overall tree canopy is 30%.

            view file

For more information contact:
Travis Brierley (City staff)   |   tbrierley@newportmn.com   |   651-459-5677

View All Newport Actions


Date action report first entered:   02/19/2016
Date of last report update:   02/14/2019
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   No

Implementation details:
The City has a minimum annual budget for replacement trees, which pays for approximately 250 1.5” BB (balled and burlapped). The Parks and Trails chapter of the Comprehensive Plan does not include a tree canopy goal. The City's overall canopy is about 25%. The residential canopy is about 70%.

For more information contact:
Chris Link (City staff)   |   clink@richfieldmn.gov   |   6128619174

View All Richfield Actions

Saint Anthony

Date action report first entered:   05/05/2011

Implementation details:
The City of St. Anthony has a tree budget and regularly adds or replaces boulevard and park trees. The City has at least 75% tree coverage for residential zoning.

For more information contact:
Jay Hartman (City staff)   |   jay.hartman@ci.saint-anthony.mn.us   |   612-782-3314

View All Saint Anthony Actions

Saint Paul

Date action report first entered:   11/19/2014
Date of last report update:   11/19/2014

Implementation details:
In 2010, the University of Minnesota Spatial Analysis Laboratory performed a land cover classification for the City of Saint Paul defining tree canopy, impervious surface, buildings, water, grass and bare soil. Highlights • Tree canopy cover in 2010: 32.5% of the total land area of Saint Paul • 66.2% of Saint Paul is suitable for tree canopy cover The Tree Canopy Study revealed that residential, single-family parcels offer the greatest area for increased canopy cover. As a result, The City has worked with partnering agencies and community volunteers when possible to increase planting on private property, especially is areas with the lowest canopy percentage, e.g., Frogtown. Overall, it is projected that Saint Paul will spend over $700,000 on tree planting in 2014 using various funding sources.

Descriptive links: http://www.stpaul.gov/index.aspx?NID=4581

For more information contact:
Kurt Schultz (City staff)   |   kurt.schultz@ci.stpaul.mn.us   |   651-266-6590

View All Saint Paul Actions


Date action report first entered:   08/19/2015
Date of last report update:   08/19/2015

Implementation details:
In 2015, the city had a tree replacement budget of $1,500 for replacing trees in parks and in the boulevards. In 2016, the budget increases to $3,400. City Ordinance 291 addresses oak wilt, emerald ash borer, and Dutch elm disease.

Descriptive links: http://www.arlingtonmn.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Ordinance-No-291-Tree-Ordinance-Amendment.pdf

For more information contact:
Tony Voigt (City staff)   |   tvoigt@arlingtonmn.com   |   507-964-2378

Shade Tree Commission, Parks Committee

View All Arlington Actions


Date action report first entered:   01/17/2018
Date of last report update:   01/17/2018
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   No

Implementation details:
In preparation for EAB Bloomington has funding budgeted for the removal and replacement of 8000 public ash trees in parks. The activity started in 2013 and will ramp up over the next 11 years. Other activities funded in this budget include the City’s Arbor Day tree sale where residents are allowed to pre-order bare root trees to be planted in their yard. To increase diversity the species of trees made available are adjusted each year.

For more information contact:
Steve Gurney (City staff)   |   sgurney@BloomingtonMN.gov   |   952-563-4606

View All Bloomington Actions

Cottage Grove

Date action report first entered:   04/12/2013

Implementation details:
In July 2012, Cottage Grove created a Public Landscape Initiative Program to motivate volunteers and employees within the City to contribute to beautification efforts. Projects are focused on active management of the urban forest, reforestation of highly visable community parks, public lands, and transportation corridors as well as provision of tree planting/landscaping , employee team building, and community volunteer opportunities. These tree planting and landscape goals are recorded and budgeted in our CIP through 2018. The city also recorded all of our boulevard trees in the community via GPS to help inventory, identify condition, size, species and other concerns with tree growth projections, disease monitoring, and tree trimming. This allows to provide a detailed management plan that aids in our budget preparation.

View All Cottage Grove Actions


Date action report first entered:   01/03/2015
Date of last report update:   01/03/2015

Implementation details:
In the Forestry annual budget is a line item allocation for replacing boulevard trees. Boulevard trees are also replaced as part of the street reconstruction projects.

For more information contact:
Anne Norris (City staff)   |   Anne.Norris@crystalmn.gov   |   763-531-1140

View All Crystal Actions

Fergus Falls

Date action report first entered:   01/14/2016
Date of last report update:   01/14/2016

Implementation details:
The City of Fergus Falls has a dedicated forestry budget to remove, plant and monitor all city trees and inspect private trees for disease.

For more information contact:
Len Taylor (City staff)   |   len.taylor@ci.fergus-falls.mn.us   |   218-332-5418

View All Fergus Falls Actions

New Hope

Date action report first entered:   04/01/2015
Date of last report update:   11/19/2018
Action completed after joining GreenStep?   No

Implementation details:
The city has a tree replacement budget of $120,000 for replacing trees in parks and in the boulevards. The City Code also addresses oak wilt, emerald ash borer, and Dutch elm disease.

Descriptive links: https://library.municode.com/mn/new_hope/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=CD_ORD_CH9GEWESA_S9-80OAWIEMASBODUELDI

For more information contact:
Jeff Alger (City staff)   |   jalger@ci.new-hope.mn.us   |   763-531-5119

View All New Hope Actions


Date action report first entered:   10/23/2014
Date of last report update:   10/23/2014

Implementation details:
Chapter 34, Article 3.6 goes into great detail about budgeting for and achieving urban tree canopy planting goals.

Descriptive links: https://www.municode.com/library/mn/northfield/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=PTIINOCO_CH34LADECO_ART3DEST_3.6LASCBUST

For more information contact:
Tim Behrendt (City staff)   |   tim.behrendt@ci.northfield.mn.us   |   507-645-3027

View All Northfield Actions

Red Wing

Date action report first entered:   01/30/2013

Implementation details:
The city does a spring and fall planting every year and looks for spaces in newly developed areas to plant new trees. We also keep record of places that we have had to remove trees so that we make sure to replant in those areas. We received an Emerald Ash Borer grant and are working to reduce the number of Ash trees by replacing them with other varieties throughout the city.

For more information contact:
Paul Drotos (City staff)   |   paul.drotos@ci.red-wing.mn.us   |   651-410-6744

View All Red Wing Actions


Date action report first entered:   09/11/2013

Implementation details:
Rochester has continually assessed their tree canopy. Currently Rochesters tree canopy is at 27% with a total potential of 47%. The percent of water in the city is currently 2.7% while impervious land accounts for 22%

For more information contact:
Jacob Ryg (City staff)   |   jryg@rochestermn.gov   |   507-328-2515

View All Rochester Actions

Saint Louis Park

Date action report first entered:   07/02/2012

Implementation details:
$60000 annual CIP budget item for boulevard and Park tree planting

Outcome measures/metrics:
number of trees planted number of trees survive after 2 years diversity of trees planted throughout Ciyt

Descriptive links: http://www.stlouispark.org/public-works-programs-services/capital-improvement-program.html             view file

For more information contact:
Shannon Pinc (City staff)   |   spinc@stlouispark.org   |   952-924-2191

local tree nurseries; MN DNR

View All Saint Louis Park Actions

Two Harbors

Date action report first entered:   04/07/2015
Date of last report update:   04/21/2015

Implementation details:
The city spends $2 per capita on tree planting and care every year. The majority of that is spent on planting. The city is also working with residents to start a volunteer planting and care program in 2015.

For more information contact:
Josh Bergstad (City staff)   |   jbergstad@ardc.org   |   218-834-8803

View All Two Harbors Actions


Date action report first entered:   02/14/2014

Implementation details:
Replace any trees lost in storms or construction with new trees.

Outcome measures/metrics:
Keep Warren trees healthly and continuely replaced as trees are taken out or lost to storm damage or old age.

Descriptive links: Keep tree being replaced in Warren

For more information contact:
Shannon Mortenson (City staff)   |   shannonm@warrenminnesota.com   |   218-745-5343

City Utility department and city park and recreation board

View All Warren Actions


Date action report first entered:   04/27/2013

Implementation details:
The city has a standing line item in the budget each year for tree planting and maintenance. In 2013, the city planned for and budgeted funds to plant 500 trees. In 2009, the City of Woodbury received a Community Conservation Assistance Grant through the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ Metro Greenways Program. The purpose of the grant was to conduct an Urban Tree Canopy assessment, in order to determine the current tree cover across the city. The Urban Tree Canopy (UTC) is the layer of leaves, branches, and stems of trees that cover the ground when viewed from above. The most important finding of the UTC assessment was the percent tree canopy cover for the City of Woodbury. The city currently has a canopy cover of approximately 22%. The 70% of the city that is developed to its ultimate condition has a canopy of 23%. There is a significant range in the canopy among neighborhoods. Neighborhoods, depending on age and development practices at the time of development, have a canopy cover anywhere between 10% and 50%. Based on the results of the UTC, the city set goals for increasing UTC, developed an implementation plan for achieving the goals, and has established a monitoring program to track progress. Based on research identifying the benefits of trees in the urban landscape, Woodbury has adopted the goal of increasing the UTC in the city’s 2030 Comprehensive Plan. These benefits include improved water and air quality, reduced heating and cooling costs, and increased property values.

For more information contact:
Jennifer McLoughlin (City staff)   |   jmcloughlin@ci.woodbury.mn.us   |   651-714-3522

View All Woodbury Actions

Eagan pending

Date action report first entered:   04/05/2011

Implementation details:
Eagan has a green space ordinance, which includes pervious/impervious requirements as well as tree mitigation policies, but no requirements pertaining to canopies per se. The City is likely close to meeting these percentage requirements, but nothing documented at this time. The Citys GIS staff is currently working with Dakota County to determine if any GIS technology would allow us to determine our tree canopy percentages.

For more information contact:
Greg Hove (City staff)   |   ghove@cityofeagan.com   |   651/675-5319

View All Eagan Actions

Lexington pending

Date action report first entered:   08/19/2015
Date of last report update:   09/28/2015

Implementation details:

Descriptive links: BP 16 ACTION 5

For more information contact:
Peggy McNamara (City staff)   |   pmlexington@comcast.net   |   763-784-2792

View All Lexington Actions

Saint Cloud pending

Date action report first entered:   05/27/2011

Implementation details:
The City is currently engaged in a tree canopy study to determine the species composition and percent of canopy. The canopy study is part of an ongoing Community Preparedness Project with the University of Minnesota

For more information contact:
Liz Kramer (City staff)   |   elizabeth.kramer@ci.stcloud.mn.us   |   320-255-7226

View All Saint Cloud Actions

pending means a star rating has not yet been assigned to this city

greenstep advisor
Valerie McClannahan, Community Forestry Coordinator, MN Department of Natural Resources: 651-259-5283, valerie.mcclannahan@state.mn.us, http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/forestry/urban