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January 28, 2009 > Milpitas is a Tree City

Milpitas is a Tree City

By Meenu Gupta
Photos By Courtesy of Carol Randisi

Milpitas meets the standards of Tree City USA and has a viable tree management plan and program. Tree City USA is a program sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation to provide national recognition for urban and community forestry programs. The program requires that applicants submit for annual certification.

The City of Milpitas has applied for and received certification as a Tree City USA since 2000. In order to become certified, the applicant needs to meet four standards established by The National Arbor Day Foundation and the National Association of State Foresters. It must have a tree board or department. Secondly, it must pass a tree care ordinance. It must have a forestry program with an annual budget of at least $2 per capita and finally, it must hold an observance of Arbor Day and approve a Proclamation.

The City of Milpitas Public Works Department is responsible for the care and management of the city's 12,000 street trees. This satisfies the first standard. "We also have a Tree Maintenance and Protection ordinance in the city's Municipal Code which satisfies the second standard," said Carol Randisi, Senior Maintenance Supervisor. "The annual budget for tree care activities is approximately $350,000 and for our population of 65,000 the city spends over $5 per capita on an annual workplan to address species diversity, planting, hazardous trees, insect and disease problems as well as regular pruning and watering. This satisfies the third standard."

Annually, the City of Milpitas celebrates Arbor Day with a proclamation from the City Council and a tree planting event in which volunteers can participate in the planting of trees in city parks. "Our community forest is the 12,000 city street trees in residential neighborhoods, along sidewalks and in median strips throughout the city," said Randisi.

In the Public Works Department there is a city street tree crew with maintenance workers, many of which are arborists, who maintain the city street trees. "They have an annual budget and workplan. The tree ordinance is in the Municipal Code, Title X, Chapter 2, Tree Maintenance and Protection. The budget that I mentioned above is in the Public Works Department, in the annual operating budget of the Tree & Landscape Section," she added.

Preference is sometimes given to Tree City USA communities over other communities when allocations of grant money are made for trees or forestry programs. Urban forests help maintain an environmentally friendly and healthy community.

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