Trees along the Huron River protect it from polluted runoff and shade it from the hot sun.

HRWC has been participating in creating the City of Ann Arbor’s  first Urban and Community Forest Management Plan for the last two years.

The plan set goals for increasing the size and maintaining the health of the city’s “urban forest,” which refers to all the trees growing in the city, from the forests in Black Pond Woods and Bird Hills Park, to the trees growing along the street, to the trees growing in residents’ back yards.

Besides the more obvious benefits the city’s trees give its citizens (Ann Arbor is known as “the tree city” after all), the trees and other natural features in Ann Arbor “soak up rain and runoff, stop erosion, and shade the streams and the river as they flow through the city,” says HRWC’s watershed ecologist Kris Olsson, who represents HRWC on the advisory committee overseeing the plan.  “Maintaining a healthy urban forest will keep Ann Arbor a great place to live as well as provide the city with $4.6 million in benefits, including stormwater management.

Draft recommendations for the plan are ready for public comment and input. Citizens can comment using the online survey and through the City of Ann Arbor’s new moderated town forum, A2 Open City Hall.  The deadline for feedback is November 5, 2012.

For more details on the planning process and the benefits of the urban forest, see the city’s urban and community forest management plan web site.