Sunday, December 6, 2009

Upcoming Con Ed Pruning - Set Up Action Plan Now!



Larchmont, Harrison, Ossining, White Plains, Pleasantville, Greenburgh and Yonkers

If your town or village is on this list, please have you municipal officials set up an action plan now before Con Ed pruning trucks are idling at your gates. If you want advice about what steps to take, what guidelines to set into place, please consider these action points based upon our experiences in Irvington:
  • Meet with senior Con Ed management to let them know you mean business.
  • Hold a high visibility public rally in support of tree conservation and minimal pruning. Get local media involved from the onset.
  • Get to know your crew supervisor for Asplundh and project supervisor for Con Ed. Ensure the Con Ed supervisor is an experienced, certified arborist.
  • Trust but verify – meet, review & monitor every step of the way, every tree (public or private)!
  • Have a qualified Consulting Arborist on contract and "on-call" for the duration of the project cycle. Have arborist meet and review pruning expectations with Con Ed and contractor on each new street segment.
  • Highlight areas of historic or specimen quality trees for special handling. Meet & review - walk the line - ahead of time, but especially on the day of actual pruning. Insist upon supervision oversight by a senior Con Ed arborist that you are comfortable with.
  • Agree upon and publicly post the complaint resolution process. (Complaints should go to a specific project email address and to local officials such as DPW for tracking & forwarding "up the chain", and not to the generic 1-800-ConEd number.)
  • Have a Contact Escalation list (including Con Ed senior management) and a defined emergency “stop work” process to allow time-out for on-site consultations.
  • Keep the public informed (email, web, cable, clerk's office, police department) as to the daily work schedule, their rights as property owners, escalation contacts to use, etc.
  • Ensure that Con Ed and Aspludth are giving sufficient pre-notification to homeowners for all private tree pruning. There should be at least 24 hours and a contact number to set up a consultation with the Con Ed Notification Forester for the project.
  • Document your assets: take photos before and after pruning. Also try to get a written description from Notification Forester of what tree pruning you have agreed to.
  • Set up volunteer monitoring of line clearing operations. Establish neighborhood watches block by block. Observers should report any unusual, unwanted, un-agreed, or excessive pruning immediately!
  • Report any rude language or behavior by pruning crews. Sure, dealing with public is difficult, especially when it comes to emotional issues such as trees. But the crews must remain civil and professional at all times.
Longer Term Efforts:
  • Start a program of municipal street tree maintenance (eg: annual pruning, tree replacement with appropriate tree species, GPS-based street tree survey.)
  • Plan a public “Re-Leaf” Project to re-plant areas where street trees have been removed.

1 comment:

-mg- said...

updated 12/07/09 with additional guidelines & suggestions.