Category: Projects Page 1 of 2

The State of Edgewood’s Street Trees

Most of Edgewood’s 1,621 street trees were judged to be in relatively good condition. However, a vast majority suffer from conflicts with power lines and sidewalks. There is a paucity of young trees on our streets indicating that many older trees will not be replaced. And there is a striking lack of diversity among our public trees. More than fifty-five percent of the trees are comprised of just two invasive and exotic species: Norway Maples (32%) and Callery Pears (24%).  This means that the canopy is highly vulnerable to disease and pests. Whatever their shortcomings, these trees are crucial to the health of our community by providing the following:

  • Carbon Storage: 860.5 tons ($147 thousand)
  • Carbon Sequestration: 19.09 tons ($3.26 thousand/year)
  • Oxygen Production: 50.91 tons/year
  • Avoided Runoff: 224 thousand gallon/year ($2 thousand/year)

These are some of the conclusions of a recent inventory of the trees along our neighborhood’s roadways that was initiated by the Edgewood Waterfront Preservation Association (EWPA).

Edgewood’s street trees

TO ACCESS THE FULL REPORT OF THE EDGEWOOD TREE INVENTORY, CLICK BELOW:

The Inventory Process

In the Fall of 2023, the EWPA recruited eighteen neighborhood volunteers to conduct an inventory of the area’s “public trees”. Funded by an Urban & Community Forestry Grant from the RI Department of Environmental Management, Doug Still of This Old Tree Consulting trained the volunteers in tree identification, measurement, and assessment as well as the use of the Forest Metrix tree inventory software on mobile devices.  For purposes of the 2023 Edgewood tree inventory, “city-owned trees” were defined as being within six feet of the street curb.  Cranston’s Tree Warden, John Skorupski, participated in the training. The inventory results will be provided to the City of Cranston to populate a database to be used by the Tree Warden and Engineering Department to manage existing trees, and will be GIS compatible. The data will also serve as a baseline for future assessment of the growth or decline of Cranston’s tree resource. While this was a pilot project, EWPA hopes that the street tree inventory effort will be extended to all neighborhoods in Cranston in future years. The City has recently applied to the RIDEM for an RI Urban Forests for Rhode Island Technical Assistance grant that would address Cranston’s entire tree canopy, especially its disadvantaged communities. Cranston’s “tree equity” score of 86 (out of 100) is one of the lowest in the State. If accepted, the city would receive funds for assessment, planning, and tree planting.

Doug Still describing the leaf bud patterns of different tree species.

The inventory covered the Cranston neighborhood between the Providence line and the Pawtuxet River, and between Narragansett Bay and Interstate 95.  The area was mapped and divided into 9 different survey zones. The survey did not include trees on private property, at public institutions, or in parks. Each pair of volunteers was assigned a zone of contiguous streets typically requiring a total of approximately 20 – 24 hours to complete. To supplement their tree identification skills, surveyors made use of flora identification applications on their phones.

Doug Still providing training to the volunteers

Lessons Learned from the Inventory Process

The Volunteers all complained of the challenge posed entering the Forest Matrix software data using a small phone screen and strongly recommended using tablets in the future. Some found judging tree condition challenging so that will merit more attention in future trainings. As the inventory crews worked their zones wearing their safety vests, they encountered a range of responses from local inhabitants. Most were very interested and supportive of the project. However, in some cases, suspicions were voiced: What were they doing there? Were they going to cut down the trees? During future inventories in other Cranston neighborhoods, advance public education should be a key component.

Maria Wall and Andrea Klimt measure a maple tree on Glen Avenue

Findings of the Tree Inventory

Edgewood’s street tree canopy lacks diversity. This makes the area’s trees vulnerable to disease and other threats.  For example, Edgewood could lose 48.9% of its trees to the Winter Moth. As a rule, it is recommended that an urban forest should not be made up of more than 10% of a single species, 20% of a single genus, and 30% of single family.  In Edgewood, more than 55% of the trees are comprised of just two invasive and exotic species: Norway Maples (32%) and Callery Pears (24%).  Maples as a family dominate with approximately 45% of Edgewood’s public trees. Forty-seven percent of the neighborhood’s inventoried “leaf area” is made up of invasive species. Despite their shortcomings, the trees have a replacement value of $3.41 million.

The area’s trees are in relatively good condition.   Two-thirds of the trees were judged to be in either excellent or good condition. However, twenty-five dead trees were found.

The size of Edgewood’s trees does not portend well for the future of the canopy. Tree size was measured by DBH (diameter at breast height).  For replacement purposes, the smallest class of trees (0 – 6 inches DBH) should predominate.  In Edgewood’s case, these young trees constitute only 18% of those inventoried.

Most of Edgewood’s trees suffer from conflicts.  Trees are challenged by utility wires, sidewalk incursion, and other factors.

The majority of the area’s trees do not have sufficient room to grow.  Only Twenty-six percent of Edgewood’s street trees have room to grow properly.  54% of trees are constrained within 4’ by 4’ plots.

If you interested in getting involved in the crucial issue of Cranston’s tree canopy, contact Donna at donna.fieldman@stillhousecove.org

The 2024 Earth Day Stillhouse Cove and Pawtuxet Park Clean Ups!

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Join Us for the Stillhouse Cove Cleanup “Rain Date”: May 4th from 9 – 11 am

RSVP HERE

Spirits not dampened: April 20, the first day of the clean-up, a success! Join us May 4th to continue the work!

Over 40 people turned out for a rainy and productive 2024 clean-up. We will continue the work on May 4 from 9-11 am. Thanks for everyone that turned out!

And 13 Volunteers Showed Up to Pawtuxet Park

Cranston Herald recognizes EWPA Clean Up

https://cranstononline.com/stories/cranston-celebrates-earth-day,248836

OUR NEW OSPREY AIRBnB

We’ve all heard of Rhode Island’s housing shortage.  According to the Rhode Island Audubon Society, it also applies to our local water raptors.  Consequently, the Edgewood Waterfront Preservation Association (EWPA) recently erected a nesting tower in Stillhouse Cove Marsh.  Qualified tenants will be welcomed next Spring. 

EWPA worked with Charles Clarkson from RI Audubon and Wenley Ferguson of Save the Bay to identify the most suitable site in the Marsh. EWPA purchased the materials and volunteer Charlie assembled the platform and post.  We obtained a permit from the RI Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC). And just prior to Thanksgiving, Eddy and Augusto from Contemporary Landscaping dug a hole for the post and erected it during a low tide with strong assistance from EWPA board member Donna and new neighbor John.

Protecting the Cove’s Trees

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The trees in Stillhouse Cove Park that provide us with shade and beauty require constant care and EWPA and its partners have recently performed several critical tasks.

Three Ash trees were treated on 8.12.23 for Emerald Ash Borer.  One tree was already infected, but treatment should help prevent further damage. Damaged parts will need to be pruned to make the damage less noticeable.  Steve and Scott of Northeast Tree made the injections which were paid for by City of Cranston through the funds available to the City Tree Warden John Skorupski.

Schwartz Tree and Landscaping donated services trying to repair several bad pruning cuts performed at some point on these same Ash trees in an effort to limb up low lying branches.

For the first time EWPA invested in mulching around almost all of the trees in the park.  This was done at the recommendation of the RI Tree Council to create a larger ring around the trees to protect their surface roots.  The effort is more than aesthetic mulching:  mulching encourages insect activity and protects the roots from damage from mowing, and it does look nice. Mulch also keeps the soil moist which hydrates the trees and enables the trees to absorb stormwater better than dry compacted soil.

It was observed that several juniper trees that self seeded on the banks under the cottonwood trees were subjected to unauthorized pruning.  The person who did this cut the tops off of the trees and threw the branches into the creeks behind the trees in an effort to hide the branches.  The Cranston Tree Warden has been notified of the unauthorized cutting of native juniper virginiana trees growing on the edges of the salt marsh that are vital to erosion control.  EWPA has a healthy working relationship with City personnel and seeks authorization every time we need to address tree issues that include, but are not limited to, removing invasive trees and seedlings, spraying trees for infestations, and limbing up trees that cause issues for vehicles and pedestrians, etc.

We will also be working on removing invasive white pear trees and Tree of Heaven seedlings at our October cleanup.  Approval from the Tree Warden will be sought in advance.

Assessing the Erosion Threat to Stillhouse Cove Park

Dave Lager, Barbara Rubine, and Wenley Ferguson

On May 17, 2023, Barbara Rubine and Donna Fieldman of the EWPA met with Wenley Ferguson of Save the Bay and Dave Lager, Team Leader at SUMco. The agenda was to assess the damage caused by the historic December 23, 2022 storm tide to the Park’s infrastructure.

Flooding during the 12-23-2022 storm.
12-23-2023 storm damage to the coir envelopes & logs at the base of the Park.

The conclusion was that there was extensive damage to the the coir envelopes that were installed in 2013 to repair damage from Superstorm Sandy. EWPA hopes to be able to repair the bottom coir envelopes, which must be built in place, and re-secure them with added premade coir logs and new 4×4 stakes. The repair will be challenging since it needs to be done from the top of the bank as no machinery is allowed at the marsh level. EWPA will be researching possible funding sources.

Wenley Ferguson of Save the Bay pointing to the damage.

For more information on recent repairs to the Park banks:

http://stillhousecove.org/we-have-new-coir-logs-thanks-to-ray-and-wenley/

The 2023 Earth Day Salt Marsh and Park Clean Up!

Over 60 neighbors and friends joined the Edgewood Waterfront Preservation Association (EWPA) at Stillhouse Cove Salt Marsh and Park for our Annual Clean Up. Hundreds of pounds of trash and debris was removed including plastics, syringes, and lumber. Thanks to everyone that participated in the clean up.

Spring Clean Up
April 29, 9-11:30 AM

 

MORE 2023 CLEAN UP PHOTOS

CLEANING UP THE CLEAN UP

May Site Committee Work a Big Success: Infiltration Area Seeded!

The Site Committee, including board members and volunteers, spent a productive morning seeding the infiltration area damaged over the winter. 

The infiltration area acts as a natural filter for storm water that flows into the bay. Catching bacteria and other organisms and larger items like trash before the water flows into Stillhouse Cove, this important feature protects the cove from bacterial or other blooms as well as from trash and plastics. 

Thanks to the volunteers and board members that showed up to do this important work.

Interested in volunteering? Join us! 

March 26, 2022
Site Committee Readying for Spring!

The “Site Mangement Committee” first meeting getting ready for Spring. Join us! Volunteer!

October 26, 2021
We have new “coir logs”! Thanks to Ray and Wenley!

Coir logs perform an important function in the cove. Made to control erosion and protect the cove in the event of a significant storm, these “logs” help the cove stay stable and healthy. 

And Ray and Wenley? Ray Mooney and Wenley Ferguson have been supporters of the EWPA for many years, adding expertise and helping out in many ways and lately heling in acquiring and installing coir logs in the cove. 

This spring Ray saw logs posted on a social media site for a price substantially below what we have spent for similar items in the past. Given the Covid-19 situation and the difficulty of transporting them to Rhode Island, we passed on these items this spring.  However, Ray noticed last week that they were still available. He drove to New Hampshire with his trailer and brought 15 logs back.  

Wenley is lending her expertise in how these should be installed to gain the greatest benefit from them. She will advise the landscaping company that will be installing them. 

The work of EWPA couldn’t happen without the assistance of such important friends of EWPA and we thank them for their generous and important efforts. 

Thanks Ray and Wenley!! 

October 23, 2021 Winterberry (and Hydrangeas) on the Move and Nasty Asphalt Out!

Maintaining the park includes keeping a close eye on the plants that are doing well and the ones that need some help. It also means always improving. 

Last year Winterberry were planted in the northern curve of the park. The berries feed the birds throughout early winter and add a nice look to the edge of the park. Several of the plants did quite well while a few seemed to struggle. 

In an effort to give them a better location to thrive, we, led by Nick Cokonis, moved the winterberry to a location a with more sun and less competition for water. Where the Winterberry were removed, they were replaced by a variety of smooth hydrangea called ‘Invincibelle Ruby.’ 

A Better Hydrangea for Pollinators (including Bees!)

“The pollinators love these Hydrangeas” said Nick Cokonis. He continued explaining that the variety of hydrangea chosen to replace the spots where the Winterberry were have reproductive organs and nectar available. Most commercial hydrangea are cultivated to lose the nectar and reproductive organs so they won’t produce nectar or pollen. In these commercial plants, the sterile flowers can be four times the size, making them thirstier. 

Asphalt: The Nasty Gift that Keeps on Giving

The slow release of petroleum from asphalt dumped on the site years ago is the nasty gift that keeps on giving. While preparing beds, the crew took the time to remove as much of the tar that they could find. 

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