Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s “Vegetation Management Task Force” was charged with making recommendations about dealing with trees along state roads and their impact on power lines/power outages.
The Task Force has now released its final recommendations for what the state, cities and towns, utility companies and property owners can do to improve “the resiliency of roadside trees and forests against future catastrophic weather events while ensuring the reliability of the state’s power grid.”
The Task Force was formed in April 2012 by Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) Commissioner Daniel C. Esty, in response to a recommendation made by Gov. Malloy’s Two Storm Panel, which had been convened to study the state’s response to Tropical Storm Irene and the freak October 2011 Nor’easter.
The Task Force consists of 20 members, each appointed by the DEEP Commissioner for his/her expertise in a field related to roadside trees.
The Task Force was assigned the responsibility of producing specific standards and guidelines regarding management of the trees along Connecticut’s roadsides.
The Final Report, including all recommendations and much more detail, can be found at this link
Information about the Task Force member, meeting summaries and more background info can be found at this link
In a prepared statement released Sept. 4, DEEP Commissioner Esty said, “This Task Force provides thoughtful recommendations for improving the stewardship of Connecticut’s roadside forests and treasured urban forest canopy while enhancing the state’s ability to keep the lights on… We will assess the recommendations of the Task Force to see how they can be applied to help preserve our beautiful roadside forest while protecting our electrical power infrastructure.”
Task Force Chair Eric Hammerling of the Connecticut Forest & Park Association said, “The fact that a group with such diverse perspectives was able to reach consensus on a path forward should carry considerable weight. “
“It’s significant that so many committed people worked together to propose ways to make the roads safer, keep healthy trees along our roads, and reduce the risks of damage from future storms,” Hammerling said. “We sincerely believe that Connecticut’s roadside forests will be better managed if these recommendations are implemented.”
Statewide recommendations include:
- “Right Tree, Right Place” guidelines must be used for planting trees and shrubs in roadside forest areas. Tree selection should be matched to the particular conditions at a given site. This includes, close to utilities (power lines) and roads, planting trees that have short mature heights and progressively taller trees further from roads and wires.
- Roadside forests must be managed to become more storm resistant over time through a combination of tree pruning, removal and “Right Tree, Right Place” planting. The Task Force recognizes the importance of large trees in the current and future roadside forest and the many benefits of tall trees – assuming proper maintenance – should also be considered in all planting decisions.
- Property owners should be made more aware of the stewardship required to properly maintain trees.
- Informational resources about roadside forests should be centralized in a logical place for landowners, municipalities, businesses and others.
Recommendations for city and town government include:
- Develop 5-year roadside management plans that include tree pruning and removal guidelines along public roads… standards for tree planting should include avoiding contact with overhead and underground power and communication lines.
- All municipality tree wardens should be certified as to their qualifications within one year of being appointed to the position.
- All trees planted within the public right-of-way and on municipal property should be reviewed and approved by the town tree warden.
Funding recommendations include:
The state should provide “one-time” funding at the level of $100,000 per town for two years (a total of $16.9 million per year) to assist in tree maintenance and establishing the five-year municipal roadside forest management plans.
The Task Force
(See Task Force website link, above, for full bio’s)
Kim Barbieri – Land Use Enforcement Officer for the City of Torrington, serves on Executive Board for the CT Association of Zoning Enforcement Officials.
Tim Bockus – Director of Public Works for Town of East Hartford, is the town’s tree warden.
Theresa (Teri) Brown – Regulatory Director for AT&T in Connecticut, works with the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) on issues involving utility infrastructure in the public right of way and has been involved with PURA and other state agency storm response and preparedness activities.
Ken Bullard – Line Clearance Arborist at the United Illuminating Company (UI), and is a
Certified Arborist for the International Society of Arboriculture and a Licensed Arborist in the State of Connecticut since 1993.
Chris Donnelly – Urban Forestry Coordinator, Division of Forestry, Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, is a licensed CT Arborist, a certified State of CT Forester and an ISA‐certified Arborist, and is active with the CT Urban Forest Council and with the CT Tree Protective Association.
Mark Goetz – Senior Information Management Specialist with Burns & McDonnell, has worked for the cities of Milford and Hartford (assisted on Vegetation Management projects including Milford’s Volunteer Tree Inventory Project and Hartford’s Urban Forest Effects (UFORE) Project), and with regional planning agencies (Northeastern Connecticut Council of Governments and Greater Bridgeport Regional Council), and co-chaired the Brooklyn Conservation Commission.
David Goodson – Manager of Vegetation Management at Northeast Utilities (NU) responsible for the distribution line clearance programs at CL&P, Western Mass Electric Co. and Public Service of New Hampshire, and is a past president of the Connecticut Tree Protective Association and the New England Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture, and currently represents the Utility Arborist Association on the American National Standards Institute Z133.1 Tree Care Industry Safety Committee.
James G. Govoni – President of the Tree Wardens Association of CT, employed since 1981 by the Town of Windsor (currently is Municipal Forester and Tree Warden), and is a member of the CT Tree Protective Association.
Eric Hammerling – (Task Force Chair) Executive Director of the Connecticut Forest & Park Association (CFPA) and is the lead advocate for CFPA at the state legislature, serves on the Steering Committees for the Connecticut Land Conservation Council, Connecticut State Parks Centennial Committee and the Working Lands Alliance.
Jane Harris – CT licensed arborist and Chair of the Middletown Urban Forestry Commission, President of the Rockfall Foundation (an environmental and educational foundation serving Middlesex County).
Mary Hogue – member of the Fairfield Forestry Committee and Fairfield League of Women Voters (worked with a consortium of tree conservation and League of Women Voters groups in Fairfield County on a forum entitled ‘Power Struggle: Balancing the Needs of People, Power and Trees” in February, is a Master Gardener and has been involved for many years with the Connecticut Audubon Society.
John Jasinski – employed by the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) since 1998, previously worked for 21 years as an electrical engineer and analyst in several departments at The United Illuminating Company in New Haven.
Leslie Kane – Director of the Audubon Center at Bent of the River, a unit of Audubon CT, oversees the education, public policy and conservation programs at the 700‐acre nature center and sanctuary, is Town of Southbury Deputy Tree Warden, and serves on the Board of Directors of the Southbury Land Trust.
Kevin J. Kelly – Director of Operations for the Town of Colchester Public Works Department, is a certified Tree Warden, serves on the Executive Board of Directors for the Connecticut Tree Wardens Association.
William DeVane Logue (Task Force facilitator) – a mediator, facilitator, consensus builder, trainer and consultant since 1986, is past chair of the Connecticut Bar Association Alternative Dispute Resolution Section and Co‐Chair of the Standing Committee on Dispute Resolution in the Courts, teaches negotiation and mediation representation at Quinnipiac Law School.
JoAnn Messina – Executive Director of the Greenwich Tree Conservancy (GTC) a non‐profit organization created in 2007 to preserve and enhance the tree and forest resources of Greenwich to benefit the community, (co‐chaired a regional committee of League of Women Voters and tree organization leaders on forum entitled, “Power Struggle: Balancing the Needs of People, Power and Trees.”
John Mitchell – Manager of System Maintenance at United Illuminating Company (UI).
John Parry – Urban Forestry Specialist with the USDA Forest Service in Durham, New Hampshire, providing assistance to state forestry agencies, municipalities and other organizations in New England and New York.
Karl Reichle – Superintendent of Operations for South Windsor, also Tree Warden for South Windsor since 1985, and Past President of the Tree Wardens Association of Connecticut.
R. Bruce Villwock – Transportation Landscape Designer III for the CT Department of Transportation where has been employed for 16 years, is a licensed arborist, certified tree warden, certified as a supervisory pesticide applicator, is a Board Member of the Tree Wardens Association of Connecticut, serves on the state’s Scenic Roads Advisory Committee.
Jeffrey S. Ward, Ph.D. – Chief Scientist‐Department of Forestry and Horticulture at The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, has been secretary CT Tree Protection Examination Board since 1998, is on the Executive Committee of the CT Urban Forest Council, an advisor to Audubon CT and the CT Endangered Species Committee, a past president of CT Tree Protective Association, and Forest Science Coordinator for the New England Society of American Foresters.
Posted September 12, 2012, based on a press release from the DEEP.
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