Presents results of storm damage survey funded by ARRA Grant

John Campanini, technical director, Rhode Island Tree Council (RITree) recently spoke at a day-long workshop on storm damage and cost recovery, titled Storms & Trees: Planning, Response and Cost Recovery. Campanini presented the results of a pre-storm damage survey done in Warren as part of RITree’s Forestry Sustainability Project (FSP), funded by a grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, Division of Forest Environment, RITree, and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service sponsored the workshop, held for municipal employees and arborists at the Rhode Island Shrine Center in Cranston.

The pre-storm assessment survey concluded that it would cost Warren about $3.7 million to mitigate the damage from a major storm, like hurricanes Gloria in 1985 and Bob in 1991. Of the total costs, about $550,000 would go to removing nearly 36,000 cubic yards of wood debris and about $2.5 million toward tree removal. Altogether, it would take employees nearly 46,000 man-hours to complete the cleanup. Members of RITree’s Green Team conducted the survey using the I-Tree Storm inventory software developed by the Forest Service. They also presented at the workshop.

“The survey’s results give Warren a big boost over other cities when it comes to storm response and cost recovery,” says Campanini. “This survey enables Warren to develop a detailed hazard mitigation plan, determine priorities based on tree density, and increase the efficiency and productivity of its public works department. In addition, the survey speeds cost recovery from Federal agencies, like the Emergency Management Agency, who want concrete data when it comes to reimbursing cities and towns.”

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Campanini was one of several speakers at the workshop. Other speakers included Jim Corbin, meteorologist, WLNE ABC, Channel 6; John Parry and David Bloniarz, USDA Forest Service; and Emily Psyh, risk MAP coordinator, Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency. Peter Lockwood, program coordinator of the Urban and Community Forestry program at RIDEM, discussed funding opportunities for municipal tree inventories and pre-storm assessments.

“Many people contributed to setting up the workshop and we believe it was successful from every viewpoint,” says Lockwood. “The speakers provided a lot of timely information. Municipal employees and others interested in the topic walked away with good practical advice that will help them the next time a major storm hits the area.”

The Rhode Island Tree Council is a non-profit, tax-exempt group dedicated to improving the state’s tree resources. Composed of members, professional consultants, and volunteers, the Council administers its programs through its Board of Directors, Advisors, and Trustees. RITree’s mission is to create healthy urban and community forests, which underpin the state’s verdant ecological tapestry, support its vibrant economy, and enrich the lives of residents. Membership is open to all.

For more information about the RITree Council’s Forestry Sustainability Project, contact Jeanne Current, Rhode Island Tree Council, P.O. Box 6144, Providence, RI 02940. Tel: 401-484-2555. Fax: 401-764-5886. E-mail:

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Contact Information:
Jeanne Current
RITree Council / ARRA Project
PO Box 6144
Providence, RI 02940

phone 401.484.2555
fax 401.764.5886