2015-07-15 / News

New tree assets discovered

by Kate Lehman

A 2015 study performed by the Cacapon Institute has revealed new information; the Town of Bath has previously unknown assets worth almost $20,000 in annual benefits.

This information was determined as the result of a volunteer led tree survey in Greenway Cemetery that was analyzed by the Cacapon Institute.

Funds for this study were provided by a Demonstration City grant under a program sponsored by the West Virginia Division of Forestry. As always, the funds from this grant could only be used for very specific purposes, and are not available to pay for the routine upkeep and maintenance of the cemetery for tasks such as mowing or replacing failed equipment.

The monetary value of trees are calculated from several factors. Those people living in close proximity to Greenway Cemetery save a total of $8,798.00 a year in energy savings. The shade provided by trees means lower air conditioning costs in the summer. Heating costs in the winter are reduced as the trees provide wind breaks.

Those persons living in the floodplain of Warm Springs Run – which includes much of the Town of Bath – save a total of $2,310.00 a year in terms of reduced stormwater runoff. Less stormwater runoff helps to diminish the potential severity of flooding.

Everyone benefits from the aesthetic value of the trees to the tune of $8,788.00 a year. Cacapon Institute determined the value of these trees using a database, filtering by type and age.

These figures do not take into account the value of the 5- acre path of woods located to the south of the maintenance shed. This is the largest contiguous forest patch within the Town’s boundaries.

Frank Rodgers, author of this document, makes the following forest management recommendations. Old growth trees should be preserved wherever possible. Hazardous trees should be removed as soon as funds are available, especially trees that present a danger to those visiting the cemetery. A plan should be established for planting more trees throughout the cemetery.

Where possible, the landscaping plan established in the old cemetery should be duplicated elsewhere. New plantings should be a diverse mix of species; in the event that problems arise such as those that destroyed this country’s Dutch elm and American chestnut trees, entire areas in the cemetery will not be decimated.

On a semi-annual basis, newly rooted “volunteer” trees growing too close to headstones should be removed before they become large enough to disturb the stones. Dramatic and noteworthy trees were found in the general area of the cemeteries’ boundaries; trees that establish the boundary should be marked, and neighbors made aware that these trees may not be removed without express permission of the Management and Maintenance Corporation and the Tree Board.

Anyone interested in seeing the full results of the tree inventory or the forest management plan should contact the Town of Bath at 304-258- 1102 or Kate Lehman, Tree Board member at 304-279- 0717.

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