The Arbor Day Foundation recently recognized Sugar Land as a 2015 Tree City USA community; the fifth consecutive year the city has received the prestigious distinction.
Four standards are considered for Tree City USA recognition, including an established tree board or department, a tree-care ordinance, a community forestry program with annual expenditures of at least $2 per capita and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation.
“Everyone benefits when elected officials, volunteers and committed citizens in communities like Sugar Land make smart investments in urban forests,” said Matt Harris, chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation. “Trees bring shade to our homes and beauty to our neighborhoods, along with numerous economic, social and environmental benefits.”
Sugar Land’s commitment to an extensive, healthy tree system can been seen in a number of projects, including the following:
The City recently annexed 754 acres of mostly inaccessible forest and wetlands north of Sugar Land Regional Airport, adding thousands of new trees to Sugar Land’s canopy.
The Sugar Land Parks Department partnered with 30 Santrol employees last year to plant about 75 tree saplings in Sugar Land Memorial Park. The Burr Oaks, Bald Cypress and Cedar Elms were part of a reforestation project.
Sugar Land previously received gold level Scenic City Certification in part for the City’s extensive tree-planting program and its preservation/expansion of trees and green spaces.
Sugar Land’s streetscape policy ensures that major roadways incorporate landscaping, including trees that not only screen large buildings but also expand the City’s canopy to provide valuable shade and wildlife habitats.
In observance of Arbor Day, the City annually hosts tree planting activities, such as Keep Sugar Land Beautiful’s annual Trees Across Sugar Land event. Past events have resulted in thousands of new saplings in Memorial Park.
Sugar Land has engaged a professional arborist to assist with the preservation of the City’s canopy along public right of ways.
This project is intended to preserve a canopy system that has become overly dense and threatens the health of the entire system.
Thinning the canopy will preserve Sugar Land’s tree system and is consistent with other preservation efforts throughout the City.
Sugar Land partners with CenterPoint Energy in the “Right Tree for the Right Place” program. The City created an innovative and unique opportunity to create an arbor trail at Sugar Land Memorial Park demonstrating trees that grow well in Sugar Land and are able to grow to their full potential without conflicting with overhead utilities. Volunteers help plant trees and learn the importance of planting in the correct locations.
The Tree City USA program is sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation in cooperation with the National Association of State Foresters and the U.S. Forest Service.