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.
The Natural Resource Division was only partially staffed last year. With the beginning of the FY20 year, all division staffing is now in place. Retraining on the City's tree inventory database will be the first priority followed by integration of field inventory data collected in EXCEL format. Three ranger reserves have been recruited to assist with the continued tree inventory work. One of the volunteers is a retired urban forester and a certified arborist. Of the 29 parks, tree inventories exit for the following:
Cameron Brown: Tree inventory completed (inside perimeter of the park)
Oaklawn Gardens: Tree inventory completed
Cone Park: Tree inventory completed
Farmington: Tree inventory completed
Farm Park: Partial inventory completed
Germantown Station Park: Tree inventory completed
The priority for tree inventory work during this FY will be focused on street trees in City medians.
The 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.
The 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.
The tree grant that was secured and implemented last spring provided for 31 new tree species in order to advance the Oaklawn Garden to a Level 2 Arboretum. The drought in the mid-south during August and all of September caused 10 of the trees to dye. Staff is working to replace them by the end of the second quarter. A map will be produced after the trees are planted - some in new locations.
The City has high impact on this measure.