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Preserving and Protecting Trees

City trees are a valuable asset and are assigned a monetary value. To avoid unplanned costs or expenses on trees, consult with an employee from the City's Urban Forestry team prior to start up of the project for Tree Preservation recommendations.

If you or your project damage or remove a City tree, equitable compensation will be applied and charged to the project.

For example, a tree that has been severely damaged may need to be removed. You will be held responsible for both the cost of removal and the asset value of the tree.

The Corporate Tree Management Policy and Tree Reserve Procedure outline roles and responsibilities in preserving and protecting City trees. These documents will also outline when asset value will be charged for tree loss or damages and how the money will be used to grow our urban forest.

The Importance of Tree Protection and Preservation Plans

To prevent damage and potential loss of trees, it is recommended to develop a Tree Protection Plan or a Tree Preservation Plan anytime construction or demolition activities (including site access to the site) occur within 5 meters of a City tree. 

Please reference the below Step-by-Step Guide for best management practices to follow.

Tree preservation and protection is a critical first step in construction and demolition project planning. Plan ahead! Call 311 to speak to an employee from the City's Urban Forestry team to learn more.

Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: Contact the City

Call 311 a minimum of two weeks ahead of your planned start date. An employee from the City's Urban Forestry team will contact you within 5 business days to work through the next steps of getting your Tree Protection or Preservation Plan approved. 

All tree protection must be constructed onsite as per the approved plan prior to construction or demolition beginning.

Administrative fees and costs of any tree maintenance required due to construction or demolition will apply. Your Urban Forestry contact will work with you through the billing process.

Step 2: Develop a Tree Protection or Preservation Plan

Tree Protection Plan

When construction or demolition activities are limited to a temporary crossing or a laydown area within 5 meters of tree(s), a Tree Protection Plan must be approved by an employee from the City's Urban Forestry team. 

Use the Tree Protection Detail document to help develop your Tree Protection Plan.

All plans must be approved by an employee from the City's Urban Forestry team.  

All tree maintenance will be completed by the City. Administrative fees and tree maintenance costs required due to construction or demolition will apply. 

Tree Preservation Plan

When construction or demolition activities occur within 5 meters of a City tree, a Tree Preservation Plan may be required. Tree Preservation Plans will be prepared by an ISA Certified Arborist or a Landscape Architect.

A Tree Preservation Plan must be reviewed and approved by an employee from the City's Urban Forestry team. Any pre-construction or demolition mitigation onsite must be scheduled or in place prior to construction or demolition commencing.

Tree Preservation Plans will include:

  • All documentation must be submitted in accordance to the City's Trees and Construction details.
  • Reference to Development Permit Number or other permit/zoning change request or POSSE number (if applicable).
  • Name, address, and telephone number of the landowner (Include the name, address, and telephone number of the applicant if it is different from the landowner).
  • Name, contact information and certification number of the ISA Certified Arborist writing or approving the plan.
  • The legal site address of the work site and any existing zoning details.
  • Details of any construction or demolition activities that are scheduled to take place; such as type of work to be completed, equipment to be used onsite, details on any soil stockpiling or laydown areas, and projected construction or demolition start and end dates.
  • Your ISA Certified Arborist should provide you a site plan with the following information (including dimensions):
    • Existing site conditions.
    • Identification of City trees within 5 meters of the proposed construction or demolition area footprint (including access points). 
    • Identification of all trees (including private) that may be impacted due to construction or demolition activities or potential changes in drainage.
    • Dimensions and proximity of City trees to proposed construction or demolition.
    • Tree Protection Zone and Tree Protection Plan details.
    • Details of the proposed construction or demolition activities onsite.
    • Any proposed construction or demolition activities that must take place within the Tree Protection Zone of any City trees (include an explanation of why work cannot occur elsewhere)
    • Proposed laydown or stockpile locations.
    • Any property lines.
    • Existing infrastructure, including sidewalks and other hardscape surface if applicable.
    • Site grading and any proposed changes.
    • Any ground excavation details (depth and location).
    • A north arrow and legend.
    • Any access routes and proposed construction or demolition parking and unloading areas.

Some of the items listed above may not apply to your project. When submitting your tree preservation plan, ensure to include all applicable details. If additional information is required, an employee from the City's Urban Forestry team will contact you.

An ISA Certified Arborist should provide you with an inventory, assessment and mitigation plan of ornamental City trees near your site. To find out more about these trees, visit the City of Edmonton Tree Map. Include the following details for each City tree: 

  • Diameter at Breast Height (DBH) measurement (centimetres) 
  • Tree species - common and scientific name (include variety)
  • Tree Height measurement (meters)
  • Crown radius measurement (meters)
  • Any proposed tree relocation or removal. Tree removal will be considered when tree preservation is not possible. All tree removals will require approval from Urban Forestry and are in accordance with the Live Tree Removal Guide
  • Proposed soil mitigation to prevent root damage/impacts 
  • Proposed plan to minimize soil compaction or mitigate the effects of soil compaction
  • Proposed tree care treatments to take place during all phases of construction or demolition (including but not limited to watering, pruning, air spading, root cutting)

An ISA Certified Arborist should also provide you an inventory of City owned natural stand trees (including species, stand condition) and how construction or demolition activities may impact this area. A site map (aerial image preferred) should be submitted with the following information included:

  • Direction of drainage and description of proximity to any waterbodies
  • Erosion and sedimentation measures, if required
  • Environmental sensitivity and connectivity (including unique or rare species/landforms)
  • Any proposed tree relocation or removal. Tree removal will be considered when tree preservation is not possible. All tree removals will require approval from Urban Forestry and are in accordance with the Live Tree Removal Guide
  • Proposed grade changes on or off the construction or demolition site that may impact the natural stand.
  • Proposed soil mitigation to prevent root damage/impacts 
  • Proposed plan to minimize soil compaction or mitigate the effects of soil compaction
  • Proposed tree care treatments to take place during all phases of construction or demolition (including but not limited to planting, watering, pruning, air spading, root cutting)

Please note that the Urban Forestry may request additional details depending on the complexity of construction or demolition activities near natural stand trees.

Step 3: Approval of Tree Protection or Preservation Plan

An employee from the City's Urban Forestry team will notify you when your Tree Protection or Preservation plan is approved.

Ensure all mitigation efforts and tree protections are in place prior to commencing your project and throughout its duration.
 

Step 4: During and Post Construction of Demolition

The approved Tree Protection or Preservation Plan must be onsite at all times during construction or demolition. If your construction or demolition plans change contact the City of Edmonton Urban Forester or call 311.

Ensure Tree Protection or Preservation plan details are being followed during and post construction or demolition to avoid preventable tree damages. Failure to follow Tree Protection or Preservation plans may result in additional tree work and Equitable Compensation costs.

Tips for Successfully working around Trees

  • Plan ahead. Depending on your project’s complexities, it may take more than two weeks to review and approve your Tree Protection or Preservation Plan.
  • Be aware of any required tree maintenance that needs to be scheduled or coordinated by the City.
  • Send in your plan well ahead of your projected construction or demolition date to avoid disruptions.
  • Do not forget about the trees root system. Root protection is just as important as above ground tree protection.
  • When working in hardscape areas, your tree protection and preservation efforts may vary greatly from what you would plan for a boulevard or a tree in an open space. Make sure you have considered your site conditions to develop unique solutions.

For More Information

Telephone

In Edmonton: 311

Outside Edmonton: 780-442-5311

Fax 780-496-4978
Email 311@edmonton.ca

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