BY JERRY SHAW • 05/24/2023 08:10 AM EST • 05/24/2023 08:10 AM EST
I’ve learned a lot during the past few months about trees and urban forest management. Not because I wanted to, but on Sept. 6, 2022, my wife was almost killed by a falling tree that destroyed her car as she drove south on Leetes Island Road. I’ve written before about this incident in letters to The Sound.
What’s old is Branford has no urban forest management plan.
What’s new, and a surprise to many, is in recognition of storm-induced falling-tree risks, Branford, in a recent Feb. 10, 2023 annex submission to the South Central Regional Council of Governments (SCRCOG), revealed the following: “Tree-related hazards are among the Town’s most significant recurring and widespread issues, particularly the downing of electric and communication lines during hurricane/tropical storm and severe winter storm events.”
No mention of intrepid travelers traversing Branford roads, at risk because of falling storm-weakened roadside trees, some rooted in private property.
No mention of emergency shelter access blocked by storm-driven fallen trees.
Branford does not have a street tree inventory, made possible by LiDAR aerial technology, now promoted by SCRCOG and deployed by New Haven and other Connecticut cities. New Haven’s tree warden has recently conducted a street tree inventory (STI) of 1,987 trees that are poor, very poor, or standing dead.
In the final sentences of the above SCRCOG submission, Branford alludes to the need for some kind of plan, “Conduct a survey and develop an inventory of hazard trees and prepare a long-term maintenance plan for trees owned by the Town.”
Branford needs the plan now — one that includes hazardous private roadside trees —and put in place before serious injury or death occurs.
With global climate change, it’s only going to get worse.