To the editor:
One common effect of extreme weather is flooding. Homes, businesses, streets and infrastructure all flood. It’s expensive, inconvenient, even deadly in some cases. As we look for ways to deal with more fierce and frequent storms, our No. 1 ally is right at hand – our trees.
The trees that grace our communities are among the best weapons for mitigating storm hazards, including flooding, and in fighting the climate change that brings extreme weather.
There is a direct connection between the number and health of our trees and flood control. Think of recent heavy rains and the deluge of water they brought. Trees are our best defense.
American Forests, a respected conservation organization, found that a mature tree can absorb 36 percent of the rainfall it comes in contact with. Forests capture rain in their canopies and on the forest floor. Tree roots prevent erosion and soil degradation. All of these factors reduce storm water runoff and flooding.
Of course, trees can become hazardous in storms. The way to mitigate this, however, is not with the wholesale destruction of thousands of trees, as we’ve seen with the utilities and the state Department of Transportation. The priority should be to remove the dead and dying trees that pose the most risk.
Instead, healthy trees are being removed from our forests, state parks, towns, neighborhoods, and along our roads and highways by the Department of Transportation, developers, local public works departments and the electric utilities.
The South Central Regional Council of Governments is currently updating our region’s hazard mitigation plan. Residents are encouraged to tell their town leaders, state legislators, governor and electric utilities that retaining healthy trees is a top priority.
To learn more about how you can help, contact Hamden Alliance for Trees at firstname.lastname@example.org
Diane HoffmanHamden Alliance for Trees