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Boston seeks partner for urban forest plan

The 20-year vision will set citywide goals for canopy protection as well as help to tackle climate change and enhance the quality of life for all Bostonians.

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Boston has a clear strategy in place to protect and expand its tree canopy
Boston has a clear strategy in place to protect and expand its tree canopy

Boston mayor Martin Walsh and the Boston Parks and Recreation Department are looking for a partner to design and develop a vision for the protection and expansion of the city’s tree canopy goals.

 

The 20-year plan will set citywide goals for canopy protection as well as help to tackle climate change and enhance the quality of life for all Bostonians.

 

Major planning effort

 

The request for proposal prioritises a transparent and collaborative planning effort that recognises and supports communities that have been disproportionately exposed to environmental stressors.

 

It aligns with other initiatives such as Climate Ready Boston, Imagine Boston 2030 and Resilient Boston.

 

“As we plan for our city’s future, we’re working to ensure Boston is an equitable, safe city for all residents,” said Walsh. “We know how critical trees are as we fight climate change and improve the quality of life for all residents.

 

He continued: “This urban forest plan is the first of its kind in Boston, and is an opportunity to ensure every neighbourhood has the resources they deserve and need. Boston is committed to strengthening our environmental work, and creating a brighter, greener future for all.”

 

The selected consultant will develop strategies to promote growth, longevity, and protection of Boston’s urban canopy over the next 20 years and create a framework for expansion and modification for projected future conditions including climate change, development, and other factors. Understanding where canopy loss is happening is the first step in addressing these issues through policy, including guidelines for tree canopy protection on public, private, and institutional property.

 

Chris Cook, chief of environment, energy and open space, said the mayor’s FY21 budget provided a clear path forward with new funding for an urban forest plan and the staff to implement it.

“This urban forest plan is the first of its kind in Boston, and is an opportunity to ensure every neighbourhood has the resources they deserve and need”

He added: “The Boston Parks and Recreation Department will continue to care for Boston’s trees, and this plan represents a huge step toward proactive canopy stewardship.”

 

The selected consultant will support a transparent planning process that recognises and supports communities that have been historically under-invested in and disproportionately vulnerable to extreme weather conditions.

 

The planning process will include collaboration with key departments and agencies that have a role in the protection or expansion of tree canopy, as well as engage the broad range of stakeholders whose activities impact urban trees, so that recommendations, priorities, and policies will be shared at inception and carried forward through long-term implementation.

 

As part of the proposal, respondents are asked to describe efforts to identify, contact, and consider small local business enterprises, minority business enterprises, woman business enterprises, and veteran-owned small business enterprises as subcontractors.

 

“In the coming years, our community will face higher temperatures, as well as longer and more intense heat waves,” said Gail Latimore, executive director of the Codman Square Neighbourhood Development Centre. “One way to mitigate this ‘heat island’ effect is to protect and grow our tree canopy. We appreciate the City’s community-driven approach to an equitable urban forest plan.”

 

Heat resilience

 

The project team will closely coordinate the planning process with ongoing planning and implementation led by Climate Ready Boston in the environment department. Ongoing coordination will cohesively integrate the citywide vision for growing a healthy urban forest into other heat resilience strategies.

 

The growth and development of Boston’s urban forest will serve to not only reduce urban heat island effect but also improve the quality of the city’s ecology.

 

In addition to the $500,000 budgeted for the Urban Forest Plan, historic investments in our public spaces this year will also support the hiring of a new arborist and the planting of an additional 1,000 trees, doubling the annual total to 2,000 trees planted per year.

 

Proposals are due by 12pm, 28 October 2020. Respondents can submit digitally via a secure FTP site or via hard copy. Applicants can find out more about the RFP on the Bids and RFPs webpage.

 

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