Something must be done to preserve and protect Greenwich’s trees

FI-Letter-to-the-EditorTo the Editor

As “Earth Month” wraps up, we ask your readers to consider the connection between upstream tree removal and problems of flooding, sedimentation and water quality in downstream Binney Park.

Precipitation falling on upstream Havemeyer Park (HP) eventually ends up in downstream Binney Park. One of the crucial services trees perform is to reduce storm water runoff. For years HP residents have been alarmed at the accelerating loss of the neighborhood’s mature trees.

In the run-up to last week’s National Arbor Day, the Tree Committee of the Havemeyer Park Owners Association (HPOA) took stock of its vanishing tree heritage and compiled a map of tree loss since the late 90s, which can be viewed online here:

The map shows that HP has lost 140 mature trees, half of those eliminated in the last three years. Most of the “disappeared” trees were healthy. Given HP’s small lot size, it’s significant that on average one in three homes has lost a major physical asset.

Without a townwide tree protection policy, everyone pays the price of increasing need for flood control measures.

Everyone pays for the recent $100,000 Binney Park sediment study. Does this study consider how HP tree loss upstream has affected property downstream? Isn’t prevention in the long run less costly than treatment of consequences? Isn’t protection of mature trees cheaper than dredging ponds and building storm water management structures?

We’re grateful for the three dozen trees (see the HPOA Tree Map) planted by the town, in partnership with the Greenwich Tree Conservancy. But the town must plant young trees and protect mature trees. It takes years before young trees can perform the equivalent services of mature trees.

Greenwich’s mature trees are part of the town’s historical heritage that we all enjoy, that we must protect for future generations. When will the RTM take action to preserve and protect all trees in Greenwich? When will the RTM place a value on the non-stop services performed by mature trees, which are the backbone of Greenwich’s “green infrastructure”?


Francia Alvarez

The author is a member of the Havemeyer Park Owners Association’s Tree Committee.

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