Bath tree board seeking grant to survey town trees

by Trish Rudder

The Town of Bath council approved the tree board’s request to apply for a tree survey grant from the West Virginia Division of Forestry, a division of the state’s Department of Commerce.

Tree Board committee member Kate Lehman said at the August 3 council meeting that the grant cost is $12,000 — $4,000 for the professional arborist to do a “on the boots” survey, and $8,000 for a software program that will make the current survey a “moving picture.”

The survey will allow the tree board to assess the trees in a five-acre area and will reflect any changes since the last survey done since 2014-2016.

The areas of the survey are the town street trees and the Olde English Cemetery.

West Virginia Forester, Herb Peddicord will do the assessment, Lehman said.

Peddicord retired as the Chesapeake Bay Forester and runs Erb’n Woods, LLC.

The benefits from the survey includes information that will provide the total number, the variety and the size and age of the trees, their health and overall condition. It will include a professional diagnosis of disease and note the presence and location of an invasive species.

It will better define what trees are on town or on private property.

It would improve the town’s ability to budget for tree removal or trimming of hazardous trees, the treatment of diseased trees and reduce the liability posed by flagging potentially hazardous trees.

It will identify and enhance the protection of large, old trees of greater value in terms if climate change and green stormwater management.

It will provide locations where new trees could be planted and what types would best thrive in these areas or where to plant new trees to improve biological diversity, Lehman said in her presentation.

The grant would be a 50-50% match but no cash payments are required, Lehman said.

Town Recorder Susan Webster said the cost was too high.

“It would be all ‘in-kind’ payments,” Lehman said.

Rebecca MacLeod, vice president of the Warm Springs Watershed Association, said on Monday the $6,000 in-kind payments for the 50% match for the tree survey grant would be provided by the town’s tree board and the Warm Springs Watershed Association.

MacLeod said that past grants from the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, also part of the state’s Commerce Department, required no cash matching.

There would be no worries in meeting the match, Lehman said.

The grant is a one-year grant and must be completed in one year, she said.