Archive for Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Survey shows town has variety of tree species

September 17, 2003

It's a fact. Baldwin has a lot of trees.

But Baldwin does have more varieties of trees besides the Hard Maple. In fact, Roger Boyd told the Baldwin City Council that Baldwin has at least 86 species of trees.

"That's quite an impressive diversity when you speculate that most towns have between 30 and 35 different species," Boyd said.

The Baker University biology professor presented the recent city tree survey to the council at Monday's meeting. The survey, which was done by Boyd's dendrology class in the spring of 2003, is the first tree survey to be done in Baldwin.

The survey meets one of the standards for achieving Tree City U.S.A., a designation which the Baldwin City Tree Board has been working toward.

The dendrology class measured all of the 4,355 trees in Grove and West parks and the city's right-of-way -- any tree between the curb and the sidewalk or within 25 feet of the road's edge. Boyd said the survey didn't include any trees in residents' yards or behind houses.

He said the students found that many of the trees, 16 percent, are Hard Maple, also known as Sugar Maple. Other popular trees in Baldwin include Hackberry, Black Walnut, Silver Maple, American Elm and Red Maple.

The survey also showed that while Baldwin has a large number of trees measuring from 1 to 16 inches in diameter, there are also a high number of large trees measuring 32 inches or more in diameter.

He said about 75 percent of Baldwin's trees were in good condition, which means no large defects like large holes in the trunks or dead branches were detected. But since the survey was completed before all of the trees had their leaves, he said that number could be overestimated.

Using a formula from the "Guide for Plant Appraisal," he said the students also determined the top 50 percent of Baldwin's street trees -- Hard Maples, Black Walnuts, Soft Maples, Hackberries, American Elms, Eastern Red Cedar and Red Maples -- have an estimated value of $7.6 million.

Not only will the city tree survey help Baldwin obtain the "Tree City U.S.A." title, Boyd said it could help advocate protection and care of existing trees as well as encourage additional street tree plantings.

"I think a lot of people don't appreciate or realize the values of these trees yet," he said.

In other business, the city council:

  • Discussed increasing the sewer water rate 15 percent -- an average increase of $2 a month -- to fund the debt service on the new wastewater treatment plant.

Utility Director Terry McKinney said the plant project consultant had figured a higher growth rate and lower operating expenses than what Baldwin experienced. Because of the discrepancies, he said, the revenues have not met expenses.

The council will vote on the increase in the city sewer rate from $2.60 to $3.05 per 100 cubic feet at the next council meeting.

  • Approved in a 5-0 vote the addition of stop signs at the intersections of 11th and Elm streets and 10th and Elm streets.
  • Approved in a 5-0 vote to have the city take over the watering responsibilities of the new downtown flower planters at the request of the Baldwin Chamber of Commerce Downtown Beautification Committee.

The city will water the flowers through the remainder of this growing season. The council will revisit the watering issue before the next growing season.

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