“Impressive” data, expertise aid tree canopy study

The Northern Kentucky Urban and Community Forestry Council was awarded a grant from the U.S. Forest Service in December 2013 to develop land classifications and forest canopy data for Kenton, Campbell, and Boone counties. This data will be used to develop tree planting plans for several areas in the region and can be used as models for other communities.

After pursuing a request for proposals process this spring, the Urban Forestry Council awarded a work contract to SavATree Consulting Group which includes the University of Vermont Spatial Analysis Laboratory. Project completion is expected by July 2014.

For its part, the Urban Forestry Council created a GIS and strategic planning committee; an interdisciplinary group of GIS specialists, planners, certified arborists, and others together to help with this project and beyond.

“NKAPC’s Ed Dietrich (planner) and Kyle Snyder (GIS specialist) will play integral roles on the committee; bringing Ed’s planning background, and Kyle’s GIS/forestry background. The motion to form this committee, which was unanimously voted into council that day, couldn't have happened without their support," said Mathew Frantz, ISA, co-chair of the Urban Forestry Council, and chair of the newly-formed GIS and strategic planning committee.

Local data were leveraged in order to keep project costs down and insure success with a rapid turn-around time. LINK-GIS provided LiDAR, imagery, and other data; some federal data such as National Agriculture Imagery Program data will also be used to aid in consistency.

LiDAR is a remote sensing technology that measures distance by illuminating a target with a laser and analyzing the reflected light. LINK-GIS’ LiDAR data provide extremely accurate elevations.

Upon receiving the LINK-GIS data, Jarlath O’Neil-Dunne, director of the University of Vermont’s Spatial Analysis Lab responded, “That is an impressive collection of data you have! We work with a lot of communities and few are up to the standards that you folks are. Thanks for the speedy turn-around. We look forward to adding to your collection of outstanding data.”

This project will provide the NKAPC/LINK-GIS partnership with valuable data such as: forest canopy, seven classifications of land cover data, and an inventory of potential planting areas. Some of the relative information will include canopy height and approximate age of the trees.

This data will be useful in comparisons to past canopy studies (Kenton 1995 and 1999; Campbell 1999) and future ones. Potential planting plans will be valuable for day to day planning as well as for special initiatives like
Taking Root.