Clear cut at The Cannery! That is essentially what will happen if The Cannery project goes through as currently planned.
The Cannery project design team is proposing to retain fewer than 10 percent of the mature trees and planting in their place 4,000 5-gallon and 15-gallon young trees. Of the trees to be removed, 111 are valley oaks, many of which provide wildlife habitat near the railroad tracks and along the southern and eastern borders of the property.
The trees have been growing and providing habitat and shade without any maintenance since the Hunt-Wesson cannery closed in 1999. For a city that prides itself on being green, the removal of 90 percent of the tree canopy seems ironic.
A number of the oaks proposed for removal are adjacent or within the 5-acre educational farm footprint. Looking around, it is apparent that farmers have incorporated oaks into their operation for years. It is also very disappointing that the project does not creatively incorporate the trees in areas currently proposed for parks, greenbelts, parking and bike trails; instead, it calls for their removal and extensive mitigation with a one-year maintenance period, immediately losing shade and habitat and eventually resulting in long-term costs to the city to provide maintenance.
At the Oct. 22 City Council meeting, council members prudently directed staff to consider a three-year mitigation endowment that allows for greater long-term success of the new trees, consider working in structural soil for a greater success rate and to work into the design existing trees, primarily oaks, but also desirable ornamentals such as deodar cedars.
Davis is known for its ties to the UC Davis campus, public art, extensive bike paths, outstanding schools, volunteerism of its community members and for its expansive urban forest. I am hard-pressed to think of another area of Davis other than the remarkable arboretum or along Putah Creek that has so many large, mature trees. I am urging members of our community to join City Council efforts to preserve and protect this important segment of our urban forest.