Pease Park Conservancy recently announced that it has received over $55,000 in grant funding for new native tree plantings, tree care, and invasive plant removal in the Shoal Creek Greenbelt. Andy Gill, Executive Director of the Conservancy, said that they are very gratified to receive this money from the City’s Urban Forestry Grant Program. “It will be immediately put to good use,” says Gill, “removing invasive plants like ligustrums, chinaberry and bamboo, pruning heritage trees and planting native Bald Cypress trees along Shoal Creek.”
The work will start this winter and will be performed by three different local professional arborist companies: Austin Tree Experts, Bartlett’s Tree Experts, and Texas Heritage Tree Care. The results will be immediately visible to motorists on Lamar Boulevard and users of the Shoal Creek Hike & Bike Trail. The work will be performed from the Gaston Trailhead to West 31st Street and along the east side of Lamar Boulevard near the Optimist Christmas tree lot.
The Urban Forestry Grant Program is funded through fees paid by developers and other citizens for cutting down heritage trees. This money is paid into the fund as mitigation for their removal. It is then made available to non-profits, citizen’s groups, neighborhood associations, and schools who file applications that demonstrate a clear benefit to the urban canopy or trees on public land. The fund is housed at the City Arborist's Office.
This arborist work will build on other recent efforts to better care for the trail and Greenbelt by the Conservancy and others. In February 2015, Shoal Creek Conservancy joined with Pease Park Conservancy, neighbors, and the City Urban Forestry Department to remove a bamboo grove and plant one thousand new tree saplings in the Greenbelt. Happily many of those small trees survived the spring floods and late summer flash drought, and look poised to make it long-term.
Richard Craig, Chairperson of the Pease Park Conservancy, said “This urban forest is deeply appreciated as the treasure it is by thousands of joggers, walkers, bicyclists on the trail and by motorists on Lamar Blvd. each and every day of the year.” He added paraphrasing the poet Robert Frost, “these woods are already lovely, dark and deep and it is our hope that the work made possible by these wonderful grants will make them even more so.”
For more information about the Pease Park Conservancy and these forestry grants, you can contact Andy Gill at 512-777-1632 or email him at andrewgill(AT)peasepark.org