Orange County has been selected for a study about beneficially integrating trees into the County’s storm water management programs. Join us at a community meeting on Tuesday, June 13 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. to share your vision for protecting, restoring and increasing Orange County’s tree canopy. The meeting will be held in the Commission Chambers, First Floor, County Administration Center, 201 South Rosalind Ave., Orlando, 32801.
The consultant for the study, Green Infrastructure Center (GIC), will provide some background on the value of trees in helping communities comply with storm water permits, reduce flooding, and meet surface water quality goals. GIC will present maps detailing current tree canopy coverage in unincorporated areas of the County. As contributors to the study, attendees will be asked to provide input on the following concepts:
- perception of current County tree canopy coverage
- specific locations in Orange County that need more tree canopy
- tree-related practices led by citizens or local government that could be implemented but are not currently in place
“Those living and working in unincorporated Orange County have a good perception of the environment around them and what improvements they’d like to see in their neighborhoods,” said Lori Cunniff, deputy director of Orange County’s Community, Environmental and Development Services Department. “They have an investment in what happens in their community and their input is valuable in the planning process.”
Orange County is one of only three municipalities in Florida selected by the Florida Forest Service (FFS) to participate in the study sponsored by the U.S. Forest Service, which covers seven southeastern states. Funding for GIC’s technical assistance is being provided through a grant provided by the FFS.
“This environmental strategy is intended to map, evaluate, protect and restore urban forests to achieve better stormwater management and clean water,” said Louis Shepherd, FFS coordinator of the Urban and Community Forestry Programs.
Orange County is required to contribute by matching the funding awarded by the FFS grant. As part of this match, Orange County is performing a tree inventory and analysis to help quantify the composition, health, and environmental and economic benefits of the urban forest in unincorporated areas. These efforts support a strategy in Orange County’s “Our Home for Life” community sustainability plan that seeks to promote urban forestry and expand tree canopy.