The focus of the project activity is on right-of-way and front-of-property trees and planting sites (i.e. in sidewalk pits, lawn strips, or front yards). The first phase will focus on streets bordering the Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI) and The Met School (a local alternative project-based-learning school) and will spread out from there.
The existing canopy cover is relatively low (20%) and lacks species diversity. The most common tree species include callery pear, red maple, Japanese zelkova, and honeylocust. There are many highly disturbed and polluted sites in the neighborhood and residents battle poor air quality (this neighborhood has the 9th highest asthma rates in the country). The 8 census block groups that make it up have a total population of 8,493, with 94% identifying as non-white. The average unemployment rate is 17%, and 69% of the population has a household income that falls below 200% of the poverty line.
Management Goal 1: Increase and enhance canopy cover throughout the project area by involving community stakeholders in tree planting and ensuring newly planted street trees survive--ultimately improving the health environment (heat and air quality) for people who reside, work, and go to school in the project area.
- Plant 30-50 trees in the project area through PNPP’s community-driven Neighborhood Street Tree Planting model in 2021. Plant an additional 30-50/year over the next 2-5 years.
- Identify the most vulnerable sites and develop and implement tree pit protection (hybrid bike-rack/tree pit fences).
Management Goal 2: Decrease stormwater runoff.
- Install strategically placed stormwater curbside bioswale tree pits in the project area, in addition to PNPP’s regular tree pits (5 bioswale tree filter pits in project area).
- Select tree species to plant in the project area that will most effectively capture stormwater, and in particular identify species that will function well in the bioswale filter pits.
- Improve existing and new tree pits to improve stormwater infiltration and soil health.
Management Goal 3: Engage residents, community groups, and institutions within the project area in planning and implementation of tree planting and stewardship activities.
- Involve residents, students, and community groups in organizing and installing trees in a Spring 2021 planting day, as well as in young tree stewardship (e.g., watering, weeding, and pruning). Target: 15 additional residential sites.
- Work in partnerships with local stakeholders in the neighborhood, such as the Met School, to conduct outreach to residents (e.g., flyers, canvassing, local communication channels).
- Recruit and train residents in the project area to become future PNPP ‘Tree Leaders.’
Management Goal 4: Expand on existing program models and pilot new initiatives and practices (e.g., community youth tree watering/jobs training partnerships) that will increase and improve tree canopy while also serving as tools for outreach and education regarding urban forest and link to climate and health, and support the development of the citywide PVD Tree Plan.
- Leverage existing partnerships and form new ones with community and youth groups to water and weed newly planted trees.
- Recruit participants for the Providence Community Tree Keeper program from among residents in the project area (currently one with the lowest level of participation).
- Engage stewards as “ambassadors” to spread the word about caring for and growing our urban forest.
Management Goal 5. Protect existing tree canopy in the project area, and prevent future canopy loss due to extreme weather/heavy winds.
- Conduct risk assessment of all right-of-way trees over 15” DBH in the project area.
- Conduct preventative pruning/tree removal, as determined by risk assessment.
- Monitor health/risk level of existing large trees over 3-7 year period.
- Install windbreak plantings to protect new trees in wind vulnerable sites.
- Identify ash trees in project area for potential replacement or EAB treatment.
Climate Change Impacts
Challenges and Opportunities
Project participants used the Adaptation Workbook to develop several adaptation actions for this project, including:
5.1 Reduce impacts from extreme rainfall and enhance stormwater infiltration and storage.
9.1 Co-design large scale green infrastructure and systems to promote health.
9.2 Provide micro-scale experiences for health promotion and healing.
8.1 Provide nature experiences to ease stress and support mental function.