We know that Jacksonville values its trees based on the Emerald Necklace of parks around the city and the fact that organizations like 10,000 Trees and Greenscape of Jacksonville have planted thousands of trees in the city. However, the city had to be sued in 2014 to spend the money collected from development for trees. Now, that case has been resolved. The Times-Union on July 27 (“City Council postpones final vote on term limit referendum,” p. B-6) reports that the city will:
- Hire an urban forest manager and arborist
- Pass stricter tree conservation rules
- Make several changes to better track how the tree conservation money is spent
- Create a tree commission to oversee the health of Jacksonville’s tree canopy
All of these points except for the one addressing financial management should look extremely familiar to the Fernandina Beach City Commission and Community Development Department as well as to the Nassau County Board of County Commissioners, Planning and Zoning Board and Department of Planning and Economic Opportunity. These are measures Amelia Tree Conservancy has been urging the City and County to adopt every year since 2013, and we continue to support these measures. With such dramatic loss of our canopy in our fragile coastal environment, the need has become urgent.
Amelia Tree Conservancy