July 10, 2008

City to Take Inventory of Camp Catalpa

By Ronica Shannon, Richmond Register, Ky.

Jul. 10--The city has received a $9,900 grant from the Urban and Community Forestry Grant Program to help restore Camp Catalpa and provide citizens with information highlighting the resources and recreation available therein.

This funding will help complete an urban forest inventory, park management plan and provide public education, said Richmond City Manager David Evans.

"With this vital information, the beginning of a sustainable urban forestry program can be established for Richmond's parks that will maximize the benefits of the trees and tree canopy in the city," according to information the city submitted to the grant program.

The city's goals for the project are: to gain a better understanding of the types, quantities and conditions of the trees and natural resources in the park; develop a GIS mapping record of the forest resources and trees that are a safety risk; develop a comprehensive management plan to address tree maintenance priorities, forest health and threat issues, opportunities for future tree planting to support a diversity of wildlife and ecosystems and water resource protection.

"Camp Catalpa's forest ecosystem supports a variety of native and migratory bird species," according to the project summary. "Other wildlife species benefit from this habitat since there is no hunting allowed, and it has an abundant water supply and a good diversity of native vegetation."

The city will match the grant with $3,000 in monetary funding and $8,500 in in-kind services, according to the grant application.

If awarded the funding, the city immediately will begin work on the project, Evans said.

"It has to be finished by next May, but I know it won't take that long," he said.

The 15-acre park now is used for bird watching, fishing, picnicking and hiking. It also features an 18-hole disc golf course that was funded by the Richmond Parks and Recreation Department.

The funding received to complete the project will help create: the city's first comprehensive urban forest ecosystem enhancement program for Camp Catalpa based on profession and scientific assessments and recommendations; a multi-year plan for properly maintaining and managing the urban forest; and more resources that will help promote tree preservation and urban forestry education to the citizens of Richmond, Evans said.

Earlier this year, the Save Camp Catalpa group led an effort that persuaded the Richmond City Commission to rescind a contract to lease the park to a private developer who planned to turn it into a recreational vehicle park.

The group, along with city government, recently have helped with clean-up efforts at the park.

This project directly supports both the USDA Forest Service's priority performance measures and the Division of Forestry's Urban Forestry Strategic Plan, "Planning For A Greener Kentucky."

Ronica Shannon can be reached at [email protected] or 623-1669, Ext. 234.


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