Palo Alto community members who would like to stake a claim in the state of the city's tree canopy have been solicited to participate in a survey of values and concerns about Palo Alto's trees.
The survey is conducted by the Department of Planning and Community Environment, which is creating an Urban Forest Master Plan to maintain and enhance the canopy.
"Our vision for Palo Alto trees is being developed through the survey in collaboration with the Palo Alto community," Public Works arborist Eric Krebs said.
The results of the brief survey, which closes Feb. 1, will guide recommendations set to be discussed at a City Council Study Session on Feb. 7. Results will be considered as the city develops a Master Plan, funded by Cal Fire monies granted to Palo Alto prior to the controversial 2009 tree cuttings on California Avenue.
"We got the grant before that happened, but it did heighten the need for this," Director of Planning and Community Environment Curtis Williams said.
When written, procedures for canopy maintenance and interdepartmental collaboration will take into account the questions and concerns community members express in the survey, city officials said.
"We want to develop an ongoing index of trees in Palo Alto and a way to continue to monitor the health of the urban forest. We want to ensure that we have policies and procedures for when we must take trees into account," Williams said of the Master Plan.
The survey and the Master Plan it informs will mainly be concerned with trees on city property, Williams said.
"As a city, we need to have a public process and defined policies so that city departments can look to a particular policy when there are conflicts with other projects," Williams said.
However, private tree maintenance may also be part of any plan's purview.
"Since the urban forest includes private and public trees, public opinion will be key in the development of the plan," Krebs said.