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An Evaluation of Harrisburg Street Trees

BurnsHarrisburgThis project aims to provide useful tools in the form of maps to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s (CBF) tree planting project. The CBF tree planting initiative aims to plant trees throughout Harrisburg to improve stormwater management practices. The Chesapeake Bay has been put on the impaired list and given a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL). The TMDL limits the amount of nutrients like nitrate and phosphate that enter the Bay ecosystem as too much of these nutrients impact the Bay’s functioning. Since Harrisburg is on a major tributary of the Bay, this TMDL will require Harrisburg to start addressing its stormwater management practices. Since trees provide ecosystem services like water retention they can be a crucial part of reducing the nutrients and pollutants running off the streets of Harrisburg into the Susquehanna River, and then into the Bay. Every street tree in Harrisburg was inventoried. As part of the inventory data was collected on the location of the tree, dbh, age, species, condition, and maintenance required. The maps produced for this project used that data to identify priority areas for street tree services. The service areas include dead tree removal, tree planting, crown cleaning, and priority re-inspection. These maps show hotspots in need of these services. The importance of these hotspot maps is that they can be used to organize maintenance crews internally and volunteers coming to the CBF looking for work.

By: Christine Burns

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