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.
City’s non-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 Natural Resource manager. A reduction in invasive plants will be measured annually.
FY23 1st Quarter: Areas around the Youth Education Pond and Wolf River Nature Area were identified. Plants inventoried included chinese privet and japanese stilt grass.
FY23 2nd Quarter: The City's arborist located and identified invasive species at all parks including Oaklawn, Germantown Station, the Germantown Greenway and Landsdowne. An action plan will be developed during the 3rd quarter to begin the removal.
FY23 3rd Quarter: During the month of March, a volunteer group removed invasive privet from the trailhead at Wolf River and Kimbrough. In addition, staff completed the natural resource audits at thirteen parks which includes invasive species, erosion, wildlife and tree health conditions.
FY23 4th Quarter: Staff has begun plotting the trees around the lacrosse fields at Johnson Road Park to inventory. The north side along the field is complete.
The City has a moderate impact on this measure.
Tree canopy coverage ratio on public land
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.
FY23 1st Quarter:
A periodic inspection of the identified trees on the greenway arboretum was performed, observing for necessary pruning and signage. In addition, staff is propagating seedlings for future plantings at Oaklawn Park.
FY23 2nd Quarter: The City Arborist completed the park tree inventory which includes 29 parks. In addition, two trees were planted at Oaklawn Gardens, one at Forgey Park and three at the Farmington Trailhead.
FY23 3rd Quarter: The Germantown Parks and Recreation Department gave away over 1,000 dogwood, witch hazel and elderberry trees at the Germantown Arbor Day Tree giveaway. In addition, the City Arborist planted several maple trees in several of the parks.
FY23 4th Quarter: The canopy coverage on public lands has seen a small decrease due to recent storms. However, at the same time, 30 trees have been planted this quarter in various parks which includes the Farm Park, Oaklawn, McVay, and Johnson Road Park.
FY24 1st Quarter: Three hazard trees were removed within parks, along with 6 invasive Bradford Pears in the medians. No trees worthy of retention have been removed unless by natural causes. There were 5 known trees that fell as a result of storm(s) that occurred during this period.
25 new trees were planted at Oaklawn in preparation of the arboretum recertification and the planned upgrade to a level III. This gives a net gain of 11 trees to the City's overall tree canopy.
The City has moderate impact on this measure.