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  • Forestry
  • Emerald Ash Borer
  • Urban Forest Strategic Plan
  • TreeOpp
  • Branching Out
  • Resources - Forestry
  • Contact Forestry

Urban Forest Strategic Plan

The Urban Forest Strategic Plan is a long-term plan for trees on public and private property that is being developed by combining technical studies with community input.

Upcoming Events

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In response to recent and potential impacts to Boulder’s urban tree canopy including, but not limited to, the current Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) infestation, climate change, and individual severe weather events such as the 2002 drought and extreme temperature fluctuations, Boulder’s Parks and Recreation Department will complete a broader scope Urban Forest Strategic Plan. The plan will capitalize on the recently completed public tree inventory and make recommendations for urban tree management for city parks and street rights-of-way. The Urban Forest Strategic Plan (UFSP) will also allow for a more comprehensive community-wide discussion of the following topics:

  • Establishment of a baseline figure for urban tree canopy and long term canopy goals;
  • Tree diversification goals;
  • Urban heat island mitigation;
  • Prioritization of tree planting activities;
  • Pesticide use guidelines for public trees;
  • Appropriate pesticide use guidelines for private property owners treating public street trees;
  • Placement and selection of tree species that are compatible with optimizing rooftop solar capture capacity; and
  • Public outreach and education regarding the benefits of the urban canopy.

Open House March 10, 2018

Tree Speak 2018. Saturday, March 10th from 1-3pm @ Upslope Brewing Flatirons.

We have so much to share with you about the Boulder Urban Forestry Strategic Plan. We have come a long way in the last year and the biggest thing we’ve learned is that WE NEED YOUR HELP to take care of Boulder’s tree canopy. Join us for a fun afternoon at Upslope Brewing Flatirons.  

Public Open House March 9, 2017

Thank you to those who could join us for the public open house on March 9, 2017. We had great community turnout and received a lot of feedback. For those of you who were unable to make it or just wanted a little more time to digest the information, the presentation information is provided below. Please feel free to share this with friends and neighbors who might be interested. Online feedback was collected through March 31. All of the feedback from the open house and online comments will be combined to inform the next step of the process.

Branching Out Boulder

Branching Out Boulder is an initiative to get the community involved in the development of the Urban Forest Strategic Plan (UFSP). Please visit the Branching Out Boulder page for information about how to get involved to share your voice in the planning process.

Status and Potential Next Steps   

Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) Long Term Strategy (On-Going)

In September 2013, City of Boulder Parks and Recreation Department Forestry staff discovered an EAB infestation within the city. The inter-agency delimitation survey found EAB within several neighborhoods in central Boulder. Subsequent detection efforts by Forestry staff also found EAB at low levels outside the original detection area. Forestry staff consulted with leading EAB experts from across the United States and Canada to develop the initial emergency EAB response. An Interdepartmental EAB Strategic Group was formed and developed the long term strategy for EAB including public education/outreach, tree planting, ash tree removals, limited pesticide applications, release of biocontrols, collaborative research projects and a broader scope Urban Forest Strategic Plan.

Public Tree Inventory (Completed)

The first step towards an Urban Forest Strategic Plan was to identify the existing public tree resource. In winter 2014 -2015, Forestry staff contracted with Davey Resource Group to update the public tree inventory. The data was imported into tree inventory and asset management software to track not only EAB related maintenance moving forward, but all tree maintenance for public trees in city parks and in street rights-of-way.

Urban Forest Resource Analysis (Completed)

In fall 2015, Forestry staff contracted with Davey Resource Group to analyze Boulder’s urban forest resources. The analysis pdf describes the current structural characteristics of Boulder’s community urban forest resource, using established tree sampling, numerical modeling, and statistical methods to provide a general accounting of the benefits. The analysis provides a “snapshot” of this resource at its current population, structure, and condition. The analysis provides baseline data to better understand the current status of the urban forest population and is a starting point for determining new maintenance and management policies and procedures, as well as future budgetary needs. 

Urban Tree Canopy Assessment (Completed)

Mapping of land cover within Boulder’s current city boundary is complete. The comprehensive map identifies the location and extent of tree canopy as well as impervious surfaces, water, and other pervious areas like turf, low-growing vegetation, and bare soil. To further understand the relationship of tree canopy and the community, the land cover map was used in conjunction with other existing data layers to assess the following:

  • Overall canopy cover
  • Canopy potential
  • Canopy cover by land use, parks, and maintenance districts
  • Forest fragmentation (connectivity of canopy cover)
  • Carbon storage
  • Annual benefits to air quality, stormwater runoff reduction, and carbon sequestration
  • Priority planting sites for further reducing and managing stormwater runoff. 

Plan Development (in Progress)

The plan will be developed based on technical assessments combined with extensive community outreach including public meetings, focus groups and several technical workgroups sessions comprised of community members and field experts.

Council Action

Third Quarter 2017  – City Council agenda item to review and seek public input and council approval for the Urban Forest Strategic Plan.

Staff Contact

Kathleen Alexander, City Forester, at 303-441-3406 or Yvette Bowden, Parks and Recreation Director at 303-441-7215.

More Information

For more information on the Parks and Recreation Forestry Services and Programs, please visit and

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