PRESS RELEASE: Comprehensive Tree Care Legislation Passes Council

Los Angeles - City Council approved legislation introduced by Councilmember Ryu and Councilmember Blumenfield today to secure the long-term health and safety of the City’s urban forest. The motion and Budget & Finance Committee report give nine instructions to the Bureau of Street Services (BSS), including a report on the Bureau’s efforts to restore tree maintenance staff to pre-recession levels, a proposed comprehensive street tree inventory plan, new sidewalk design options that could save street trees from removal, and more.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 

November 27, 2019

Contact for Councilmember Ryu:

Mark Pampanin

mark.pampanin@lacity.org

213.407.7616

Contact for Councilmember Blumenfield:

James Conlon

james.conlon@lacity.org

213.473.5818

 

Comprehensive Tree Care Legislation Passes Council

Motion seeks strategies to protect and grow City’s urban forest

 

Los Angeles - City Council approved legislation introduced by Councilmember Ryu and Councilmember Blumenfield today to secure the long-term health and safety of the City’s urban forest. The motion and Budget & Finance Committee report give nine instructions to the Bureau of Street Services (BSS), including a report on the Bureau’s efforts to restore tree maintenance staff to pre-recession levels, a proposed comprehensive street tree inventory plan, new sidewalk design options that could save street trees from removal, and more.

“If we want our trees to be here tomorrow, we need to prioritize them today,” Councilmember Ryu said. “And if we want a livable Los Angeles, we must value our trees - and the work they do to cool our City, clean our air, and combat climate change. Our trees have been undercut for years by budget shortfalls, drought, and disease. It’s time to start restoring Los Angeles’ urban forest - starting with better tree policy, proactive tree maintenance, and a long-term strategy.”


“Trees in this City have been neglected for far too long,” Councilmember Blumenfield said. “For a large part of the last decade, the Urban Forestry Department’s budget hasn’t bounced back to pre-recession levels. This is one of the very last departments in the City of LA to be so behind the times, and it shows in the state of our urban tree canopies. As member of the Budget and Finance Committee, I have worked to increase the UFD’s budget by millions, allowing them to hire more tree surgeons and increase their capacity to maintain our canopies. But that is not enough. This motion will help LA put trees first, because a strong urban tree canopy is so much more than just beautification. Trees are the lungs of our City, and maintaining them means a brighter future for all Angelenos.”

Councilmembers Ryu and Blumenfield introduced the motion in October 2018, in an effort to create a long-term strategy for tree care in a changing climate, as well as invest in proactive tree maintenance, and sidewalk design that could spare trees from removal. Since that time, the City added $25 million for proactive tree care in its annual budget and hired its first chief forest officer.

The motion and Committee report also instruct BSS to report to Council with a review of the 2 to 1 tree replacement program, with new consideration for a tree’s holistic value, including health, maturity, canopy size, and more. They further instruct BSS to report to Council on the best practices of other cities when it comes to tree maintenance and urban forest management, and to prioritize native trees that would foster a healthy local habitat.

In their motion, Councilmembers Ryu and Blumenfield used numbers from the Los Angeles Canopy Cover Assessment to highlight the importance of developing a City-wide strategy: The City’s estimated tree population is over 10 million, with approximately 700,000 of those trees managed by BSS. As California has battled prolonged droughts, invasive species and departmental budget cuts in recent years, the City’s goal of protecting street trees has been undermined.

A 2015 report from the Bureau of Street Services identified three main issues that have negatively impacted the City’s tree population: Poor age diversification, tree health, and maintenance. In order to address these issues, the motion instructs the BSS to report back with staff requirements needed to improve tree maintenance and care, as well as an analysis of current tree replacement policies.

Read the motion here.

Read the report from the Budget and Finance Committee here.

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Los Angeles City Councilmember David E. Ryu represents the 4th Council District which includes Griffith Park, Sherman Oaks, Toluca Lake, Hollywood, Hollywood Hills, Los Feliz, Silver Lake, Miracle Mile, Hancock Park, Windsor Square, Larchmont and portions of Koreatown and Van Nuys.

Los Angeles City Councilmember Bob Blumenfield represents the 3rd Council District which includes Reseda, Tarzana, Canoga Park, Winnetka and Woodland Hills


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