WEST NEWBURY — A newly formed Tree Committee aims to preserve and protect “significant and remarkable” trees in town, according to its mission statement recently adopted by selectmen.
The five-member committee was the brainchild of Fred Chanania, who was asked to shepherd the effort by the Open Space Committee in January.
Establishing a group to identify and protect the trees lining West Newbury’s scenic byways was first suggested as a way to preserve the town’s rural character in the open space and recreation plan.
It noted that while the Department of Public Works has removed diseased trees, there is no mechanism in place to replace those trees or to access the condition of remaining trees.
Chanania, who will serve as the new committee’s first chair, identified four goals, including creating and maintaining a database of inventory; educating the public on how to protect the town forests in ways that are in line with Green Community standards and that lessen the impact of necessary tree removal; advocating for healthy, scenic, and diverse forests in town; and preserving the “aesthetic, cultural and historic values” of significant and remarkable trees for future generations.
To achieve these goals, among the committee’s initial objectives will be the creation of a website detailing the panel’s mission, goals, activities, and other related information.
Chanania envisions the committee working closely with the DPW and to provide the tree warden with technical assistance and advice when needed.
Groups such as selectmen, the town manager, Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals, Conservation Commission and Open Space Committee may also rely on the committee for information and advice. The panel would also be a resource for homeowners seeking education and information on preserving and protecting their trees.
“Essentially, we’re a clearing house for information more than anything else,” Chanania said.
In addition to an annually approved budget, the committee will research outside funding and grants to help support its mission.
Along with Chanania, committee members will, when possible, have a scientific or civic background, expertise, or demonstrated interest in trees and their preservation.
Members will serve three-year terms with the tree warden serving as a nonvoting member. Selectmen are the appointing authority and the Tree Committee will report to the board at least annually.