The ecosystem integrity and habitat biodiversity objective is focused on sustaining natural systems, their functions and values. The City’s approach to restore and sustain health, productivity and biological diversity of ecosystems is based on science, collaboration and strong management practices. Strategic actions protect the City’s streamside buffers along adjacent rivers and lakes to promote ecosystem integrity. Sustaining the natural functions of wetlands for habitat biodiversity is accomplished through compliance with state statutes and local ordinances. A comprehensive urban forestry program and a commitment to use native plants restores habitat integrity.
Tree canopy coverage ratio
The preservation and protection of Germantown’s public urban forest is a commitment to managing trees as important green infrastructure assets. Performing tree inventories and measuring the tree canopy ratio annually is a management practice to determine gains and losses in the overall tree inventory on public lands.
FY18 3rd Quarter: The Department held another successful Arbor Day event with over 600 under-story trees given away to residents. The Natural Resources Manager position was filled. Now that the Natural Resources Division is fully staffed with the Manager and Ranger Naturalist, both will be focused on tree inventory collection and ramping up the use of volunteers. On-line training using the "TreePlotter" tree inventory data base program was continued. Tree inventory collection efforts also continued at the Oaklawn Garden Arboretum. Staff participated in the West Tennessee Forestry Council meetings.
ImpactThe City has moderate impact on this measure.
City’s invasive plant inventory
Without management and removal, invasive plants negatively affect the ecological balance of the natural landscape. Many public parks, forests and open spaces in Shelby County and Germantown have been infested with invasive plants, especially Chinese privet. Invasive plants “crowd out” the regeneration and growth of trees and native plants. A systematic plan for removal and management of invasive plants is imperative to the long-term health of public lands.
Large stands of invasive plant materials must be identified, inventoried and prioritized for removal in order to protect and sustain a healthy ecosystem. This effort will be coordinated by the new Natural Resource manager. A reduction in invasive plants will be measured annually.
ImpactThe City has a moderate impact on this measure.
Oaklawn Gardens, the City’s newest public park, has been selected for an arboretum designation. The park site meets the National Arbor Day Foundation criteria. The arboretum will enhance the economic, environmental, and aesthetic value of ornamental and landscape trees and plants through long-term conservation of these resources, research, public education and garden exhibits.
With the Level I Arboretum designation for Oaklawn Garden completed last year, staff continued to work on acquiring the Level II designation for this site. Approximately 20 additional tree species are needed to achieve the next designation. Work on tree identification and plotting for these trees started during this spring season as trees were budding. Staff is working with the Tennessee Nature Conservancy to identify several more tree species that could be earmarked for the "If Trees Could Sing" tree educational program.
Staff continued using the tree inventory database, "Tree Plotter", to record all the trees listed on the Arboretum registry at Oaklawn. This process will be completed early in the fourth quarter.
ImpactThe City has high impact on this measure.