Our goal is to ensure equitable access to trees and their associated benefits. To do this, we need a location-specific tool to evaluate where trees are most needed. Therefore, we are building a weighted prioritization index for Dane County, which will:
-Identify the communities, neighborhoods or census blocks in the county that could most benefit from increased or better managed tree canopy, based on community characteristics. Community characteristics could include factors such as public health conditions, socioeconomic status, historic or current tree cover, impervious area, conservation opportunities, flood risk, population vulnerability, recent loss of tree cover, or projected heat impacts. This prioritization will include a public opinion survey component to understand how communities value these different factors so we hear directly from residents about what is most important to them.
-Quantify the expected benefits of tree planting and maintenance to those communities related to factors such as flood risk reduction, degrees of cooling during extreme heat events, impacts on air and particulate pollution, impacts on chronic health conditions (such as asthma), wildlife/songbird habitat, expanded recreational opportunities, or cost savings that could result from tree planting or maintenance.
The Dane County Tree Board in collaboration with the State Cartography Office and the Capital Area Regional Planning Commission have begun the process of updating the Heritage Oak Trees to create a 2022 inventory.
Heritage trees were originally inventories in 1976, in 2001 the Dane County Tree Board revisited the trees and added coordinates to the locations. All Heritage Oak's are estimated to be 200 years old or older. White or bur oaks needed a trunk circumference measured at 4.5 feet above ground level of at least 10 feet, and pin, black, and red oaks needed a trunk circumference of 11 feet.