The city of Cedar Rapids is moving forward with a plan to replace the trees destroyed six months ago in the derecho that tore across the city.
Some 70% of public trees were lost in the wake of the storm. The city is partnering with the local nonprofit Trees Forever to draft a reforestation plan to guide replanting efforts for the next decade or more.
City Parks and Recreation Director, Scott Hock says the storm was especially devastating for mature trees. “You notice that the smaller trees, the ones that are six to 12 inches in diameter at about four-and-a-half feet above the ground, we didn’t lose a lot of those. We lost our older, more well-established trees which provided a lot more of the canopy for us,” according to Hock.
Trees Forever spokesperson, Shannon Ramsay, says the plan will depend on the work of dedicated volunteers for years to come. “This plan will engage neighbors, neighborhoods, volunteers,” Ramsey says. “We want a treekeeper in every neighborhood. It’s going to take an army of volunteers…I just want to remind us all, that we are…we’re not just replanting, we are growing.”
The city council approved $500,000 in funding to go along with the agreement. Some replanting has already begun. In the coming months, the city will hold public meetings and recruit volunteer “treekeepers” to help develop and implement the plan.
(By Kate Payne, Iowa Public Radio)