Healthy Tree Removals No Longer Reported

Last summer (2022) we discovered a programming error in the City-issued quarterly tree reports which double-counted tree removals whenever additional trees were added to a Plan Review (construction) permit in a quarter following the quarter the initial permit was issued*.  Also, we found undercounting for trees removed for infrastructure purposes.  We confirmed that these programming errors have affected all prior quarterly reports.

It’s been ten months since those programming errors were reported to the Arborist Division and the errors have not been corrected. Rather, the Arborist Division has stopped reporting on permitted healthy tree removal, so our healthy tree removal trend line report now looks like this (click on image to enlarge):

2023 healthy tree trend line qtrs 1-3

Please note that up until the beginning of FY 2023 we did receive quarterly reports for healthy tree removals, but these numbers are likely all incorrect due to the unfixed programming errors.  Therefore, we cannot confirm that any of the green columns in the chart above are correct.

Failing to produce this quarterly report means that Section 158-103(f) of the Tree Ordinance is not being upheld.

That section reads:

"The city arborist shall prepare a quarterly report to be presented to the tree conservation commission. The report shall include the total number and DBH of trees removed and/or the total number and DBH of trees replanted during the preceding quarter in each of the following categories: maximum recompense per acre, dead/dying/diseased/hazardous removal, landscaping permit, silvicultural removal, buildable area removal, parking lots, illegal removal, off-site planting, or any other permit or penalty category not listed. The report shall also include acreage, total number of trees, and total DBH for any newly created conservation easements or newly created parklands."

To comply with the Tree Ordinance, the Arborist Division must fix the programming errors and rerun all the quarterly reports from 2014 to the present day. Until it does so, we have no accurate read on our loss of healthy trees due to permitted tree removals.

*According to Section 158-101 (h) of the Tree Ordinance, additional trees may be added to a final approval provided there is not more than a 10% increase in either the total number or the total DBH of the trees permitted for removal or destruction.  When these trees are added in a quarter subsequent to the quarter in which the permit was initially issued, all of the trees in the permit are counted in that subsequent quarterly report rather than just the additional trees permitted.

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