What is Urban Forestry and Why is it Important?

According to Leslie Moorman, Executive Director of the North Carolina Urban Forest Council, North Carolina has lost so much of its forested landscape since the 1940’s, that all remaining wooded areas should be considered as urban. She made this observation during her presentation at the RLUAC quarterly meeting conducted on Thursday, February 18, 2016 after defining urban forestry as “any tree, green space, or wooded area within city jurisdictional limit as well as the surrounding area where the urban fringe is moving into the rural landscape”. This significant loss of forest coverage is due to North Carolina’s rapid rate of population growth and urban development. Leslie explained that there are substantial economic, environmental and social/behaviorable benefits of urban forests, including higher residential values, higher retail and commercial occupancy rates, and the willingness of consumers to pay more for goods where tree canopies exist. In addition, trees provide shade which translates into lower cooling costs, lower energy use, blocking solar radiation, and reduction of air temperatures. Trees also clean the air – reducing nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxide, ozone, and particulate matter. Further, trees improve water quality by reducing storm water runoff, reducing peak storm water flows, reducing flooding and improving groundwater recharge. They provide wildlife habitat and biodiversity. Finally, they absorb and deflect urban noise, reduce glare reflection, and slow down vehicular traffic on tree-lined streets. Studies show that outdoor spaces with trees are used more often, they contribute to an increase in social interaction, generate higher levels of social cohesion among neighbors, increase a sense of safety and assist with stronger ties. To protect our remaining wooded areas, Leslie offered several important actions that must be taken now. They include: Planning Efforts - conducting tree inventories and developing urban forest management plans. Forest Management – increase tree plantings, pruning, removal of damaged/dead trees, storm drainage, insect/disease control, tree surgery, and root pruning. Governmental Policy – adopting tree care ordinances, tree protection ordinances, and land use plans / zoning ordinances that include tree and landscaping requirements. For more details, see Leslie’s entire PowerPoint presentation included under the “Meetings” tab at the top of the page.

FAMPO Update

Joel Strickland, Executive Director of FAMPO, met with RLUAC at its quarterly meeting held on November 19th to describe what a Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) does.  He explained that a MPO is a transportation policy making body composed of representatives from local government and transportation agencies with authority and responsibility in metropolitan planning.  They have five core responsibilities including:  1) to establish and manage fair and impartial regional decision making, 2) identify and evaluate alternative transportation improvement options, 3) prepare and maintain a Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP), 4) develop a Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP), and 5) involve the public.  MPO’s are federally mandated and funded.  Federal-Aid highway funding requires a local match.  The Fayetteville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (FAMPO) qualifies as a Transportation Management Area (TMA), which is a metropolitan area with a population of 200,000 or more people.  MPO’s are intended to ensure that existing and future transportation expenditure are based on a continuing, cooperative, and comprehensive planning process.  FAMPO includes a Citizen Advisory Committee, a Technical Coordinating Committee, and a Transportation Policy Board.  Strickland displayed several examples of transportation projects that have been approved and are under construction in the Fayetteville Region.  They include segments of I-295, the Rowan Street Bridge in downtown Fayetteville and the Cape Fear River Trail. For more information please review the attached PowerPoint presentation.

North Carolina’s New Department of Military and Veterans Affairs

At the RLUAC Quarterly Meeting held on November 19th, General (RET) Paul Dordal, North Carolina Military Affairs Commission, explained that the new North Carolina Department of Military and Veterans Affairs was created by the North Carolina General Assembly to include all military and veterans issues. General (RET) Cornell Wilson has been appointed by the Governor to serve as the Department’s first Secretary. The Department currently has two Divisions: a) the Division of Veterans Affairs which is headed by Deputy Secretary Ilario Pantano and b) the Division of Military Affairs, which is still awaiting a Deputy Secretary appointment. The new Department now contains the pre-existing Veterans’ Affairs Commission, the Governor’s Jobs for Veterans Committee, and the North Carolina Military Affairs Commission. Key duties of the new Department include providing a) an active outreach to the U.S. Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security and their associated establishments in North Carolina and b) to enhance the State’s military friendly environment. For more details, please see the attached PowerPoint presentation.

Upcoming Events

RLUAC Quarterly Meeting

Date: Thursday May 16, 2024

Time: 10:30 am

Location: Fort Liberty Traning and Education Center  (4520 Knox St, Fort Liberty, NC 28307)