Residents invited to share input on roadside trees

The State Vegetation Management Task Force has set up two listening sessions Aug. 13 about draft findings and recommendations of the task force regarding roadside trees and the dangers they present during bad storms. The first session will be from 4 to 6 p.m.; the second will be from 7 to 9 p.m.

The listening sessions will be held in the Phoenix Auditorium at the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), 79 Elm Street, Hartford. The purpose of the listening sessions is to provide an opportunity for public input into the task force’s final report.

The task force is chaired by Eric Hammerling of the Connecticut Forest and Park Association. Hammerling will present an overview of the task force process and the draft recommendations at the start of each listening session.

Following the presentation, the public will be given time to provide commentary and suggestions. The draft recommendations will be available on the DEEP forestry webpage (www.ct.gov/deep/forestry) on or before 5 p.m. on Aug. 6. Information on the task force webpage may be found by going to the forestry webpage and following this link at the top of the page.

Information about the task force, membership and meeting summaries is included on this webpage. Comments and suggestions will be accepted through Aug. 14 by email at DEEP.Forestry@ct.gov or via regular mail at State Vegetation Management Task Force, c/o Division of Forestry, Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, 79 Elm Street, Hartford, CT 06106.

All comments must be emailed or postmarked by Aug. 14. The task force was convened by DEEP Commissioner Daniel C. Esty at the recommendation of Gov. Malloy’s Two Storm Panel, which in turn was formed in response to Tropical Storm Irene and the October nor’easter.

The final report of the task force is due at the end of August, on the anniversary of Tropical Storm Irene. During Irene, residents saw roadside trees fall, often taking power lines with them and knocking out power for days, even weeks in some areas. The trees also caused road blockages, making it difficult for emergency vehicles to get around the city.

The task force consists of 20 individuals, each selected by the DEEP commissioner for their expertise in a field related to roadside trees. The task force has been assigned the responsibility of producing specific standards and guidelines regarding management of the trees along Connecticut’s roadsides.

Free parking for the public is available after 3 p.m. at the State Office Building Lot on Capitol Avenue. For more information or more details, residents may call the DEEP Division of Forestry at 860-424-3630 or email the division at the email address provided above. People who have knowledge of trees, and those with information to share about their experiences during last year’s storms, may want to weigh in on the conversation.

Surely, people will want to pay attention to the decisions this task force makes because during storms, those decisions may impact their homes, property and ability to cope with storms.

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