City of Lincoln
2007 Media Releases
Mayor Coleen J. Seng today announced that the City of Lincoln and Lincoln Electric System (LES) will implement the National Arbor Day Foundation’s "The Right Tree in the Right Place" program to replace street trees on City rights of way that conflict with overhead power lines. Mayor Seng made the announcement at the City’s Arbor Day celebration at Woods Park.
"This program will reduce the City’s tree trimming costs and damage to trees while increasing the reliability of electric service," said Mayor Seng. "‘The Right Tree in the Right Place’ campaign emphasizes the need for everyone – the City, contractors, nurseries and homeowners – to consider what is in the best interests of the tree, the home and the utility company. Homeowners will not be assessed any costs and will not be responsible for maintenance."
"The Right Tree in the Right Place" program encourages research; the planning and planting of appropriate trees to cool homes and reduce winter winds; and appropriate placement to avoid conflicts with electric lines. Under the program, the City and LES will equally share costs in purchasing replacement street trees that are planted on City rights of way beneath power lines. The maximum growth height will be 15 to 20 feet, ensuring that the trees do not grow into power lines.
"Trees cause many power outages every year and they can be a fire threat, so choosing the right trees to plant near power lines is critical," said LES CEO Terry Bundy. "This cooperative effort between LES and the City will improve the health and aesthetics of Lincoln’s urban forest and reduce maintenance costs."
City Forester Steve Schwab said Lincoln has more than 121,000 trees on City property and an estimated 250,000 trees on private property. He said that Lincoln’s public tree infrastructure provides both environmental and monetary benefits that currently total nearly $70 million dollars. In addition to reducing tree maintenance costs, Schwab said that planting the right types of trees beneath power lines will result in healthier trees and will allow for a greater variety of trees to be planted.
Trees that conflict with overhead lines will first be lowered by LES so they can be removed safely. The Forestry Division of the City Parks and Recreation Department will schedule crews to remove the trees and handle planting and long-term maintenance of the replacement trees.
Other national partners in the National Arbor Day Foundation’s &quto;The Right Tree in the Right Place" campaign are the Society of Municipal Arborists and the Utility Arborist Association.
The National Arbor Day Foundation recently designated Lincoln as a "Tree City USA" for the 30th year. The Foundation also has designated LES as a "Tree Line USA" utility for two years, which requires LES to take part in tree planting and public education. Lincoln is one of only 66 communities nationwide to earn both designations. The City also was recognized for its high level of municipal tree care with a Tree City USA Growth Award for the 16th consecutive year.
Information about utility friendly trees and shrubs are available on the LES Web site at www.les.com. In addition, LES has worked with local nurseries who can assist customers to identify appropriate trees and shrubs for their yards. For more information on the City’s tree program, visit the City’s Web site at lincoln.ne.gov (keyword: trees).