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Trees in Coulee Dam are assets

Letter to the Editor

 


The town of Coulee Dam has declared by ordinance that it is in the best interest of the public that the trees be maintained and encouraged. The municipal budget supports the maintenance of the trees as directed by the ordinance. Knowing the appraised value of the trees within the urban forest of Coulee Dam gives context to the budgeting, planning, and management of this portion of the infrastructure of the town.

So how is this value determined? The appraised value of the trees in Coulee Dam is based on replacement costs and a process of extending that cost to larger trees. The replacement costs include the costs to purchase the tree, bring it to Coulee Dam and plant the tree. A formula to determine the value of the existing tree considers the size of the original tree, the species, condition and location of the tree. That means if a tree of a specific species with a diameter at breast height (DBH) of 19 inches growing in a planting strip is replaced by a tree of 3-inch caliper (circumference of the trunk of the replacement tree at the nursery), this formula is used to determine the value of th existing tree less the replacement cost of the tree.

The guidelines for this method are distributed by the Council of Tree & Landscape Appraisers Guide for Plant Appraisal, 9th edition, published by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) and accepted by professionals in the landscape industry and the real estate and legal disciplines.

The urban forest of the town is not separate from, but is one part of, the town’s overall infrastructure. Expenses associated with the care and maintenance of these public trees are a part of the annual budget, along with expenses pertaining to the rest of the infrastructure of the town.

Gayle Swagerty

Town Councilperson

Coulee Dam

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