Conservation grant funds survey of Deerfield trees

  • South Deerfield center Recorder Staff/Andy Castill—

For the Bulletin
Saturday, October 14, 2017

DEERFIELD — Ecological health is paramount to surveyors from the Franklin Regional Council of Governments, as they take inventory of Deerfield’s public street trees throughout town.

Once collected, inventory data will dictate where local and regional planners should focus conservation efforts, diversifying existing populations and rejuvenating species in decline by planting more trees next year.

The project, a collaboration between the regional council and Deerfield, is paid for by a $20,000 state grant through the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation.

A similar baseline tree inventory was documented elsewhere in Deerfield last year, focusing on Sugarloaf, North, Main, Old Main, and South Main streets.

This time around, planners will survey Gromacki and King Phillip avenues, West Street, Mountain Road, and elsewhere near the village center, through October. In Old Deerfield, surveys will include public roadways including Memorial Street and Albany Road.

“It’s important for us to have a baseline tree inventory to help us plan for future maintenance and planting, and to provide documentation in the aftermath of a destructive storm,” Highway Department Superintendent Kevin Scarborough said. He also noted tree replacement, emergency, and infrastructure grants are easier to come by with documentation.

In past years, tree surveys have been conducted in Greenfield and Montague. Once Deerfield’s inventory is finished, regional ecologists can better understand how the town impacts Franklin County’s natural environment.

“Once we have the inventory data, we will use the U.S. Forest Service’s (digital) suite of tools to quantify ecological and economic benefits, such as removal of atmospheric carbon dioxide and pollution, stormwater reduction, temperature modification, and more,” said Mary Chicoine, a land and natural resources planner at Franklin Regional Council of Governments. Chicoine is leading the project.

While most of the work will be done by professionals, there’s an opportunity for residents to pitch in. Chicoine noted regional planners have met with schools, including Frontier Regional School and Deerfield Academy, trying to get students involved.

For more information on how to help, contact Chicoine at 413-774-3167 ext. 131, or email maryc@frcog.org.

Once the inventory is complete, a detailed map will be created, made available to the public.

The project will wrap up next spring with a volunteer-led tree planting event.

To view maps from the 2016 tree inventory, visit www.frcog.org/publication/deerfield-tree-inventory-2016.