April 24, 2008 - Mayor Bob Foster announced today that the National Arbor Day Foundation has named Long Beach a Tree City USA. To mark this special designation and recognize April 25 as Arbor Day, Mayor Foster, and city officials raised the official Tree City USA flag in the Civic Center
"Long Beach is very proud to be named a Tree City USA in recognition for the more than 330,000 trees in city’s parks and urban forest," said Mayor Foster. "Trees provide an aesthetic, environmental and economic benefit to our community, making it one of the best environmental investments we can make for our city."
The National Arbor Day Foundation recognition was given a year after Councilmember Tonia Reyes Uranga suggested that Long Beach create an ongoing community forestry program and seek the designation as a Tree City USA. The city, with special contributions from Public Works, met all four Arbor Day Foundation requirements for a viable tree management plan and program by: a Tree Advisory Committee made of residents representing all nine city council districts and the Mayor was created; passed a city municipal code, a Tree Maintenance policy and is currently establishing an Urban Forest Master Plan; established a Public Works Tree Care budget of $3.7 million; and observed Arbor Day with tree plantings.
"Our quality of life improves each time a tree is planted," said Mike Conway, Director of Public Works. "Trees help buffer noise, filter and clean storm water, reduce energy consumption from their canopies, and can increase property values. Trees also help offset the City's carbon footprint. We are planting 64 new trees for Arbor Day this year and expect to plant a total of about 700 trees by the end of the year, most of which will be funded through the Green Trees for the Golden State grant."
Representatives from the city attending the event included: Mayor Bob Foster; Conway; Mark Christoffels, City Engineer; and Art Cox, Superintendent of the Street Maintenance Division.
For Long Beach residents and property owners, Arbor Day is an excellent opportunity to take stock of the trees on their property and plan for the future or inspect trees and think about planting new trees that may improve the look of the property that will provide wind and heat protection. Residents also can take a trip to a local nursery to see what is available or tour the neighborhood for any public areas where tree planting or tree maintenance might make a real difference to the community.