The Norris Tree Commission was established in the late 1970s and charged by ordinance with the responsibility to: “develop and administer a written plan for the planting, maintenance, and removal of trees, or other growth, on all municipal lands of any character whatsoever, including all parks, ‘commons’ or any other open space, and the entire right of way of all public highways including state roads, county roads, and city streets with the sole exception of the City of Norris Watershed.”
The major activities of the Norris Tree Commission include managing trees on municipal lands, managing The Honor Tree program, and maintaining the Norris Commons Arboretum. We are also proud to manage and maintain the city’s certification as a Tree City USA (the first in the state) - which includes an annual Arbor Day celebration! To provide goals and long-term guidance for these and related activities, the Tree Commission has developed the Norris Urban Forest Management Plan.
NORRIS URBAN FOREST MANAGEMENT PLAN SUMMARY
The Norris Urban Forest is defined as all the trees that occur within the city limits of Norris, exclusive of the Norris Watershed, Norris Dam State Park, and the Tennessee Valley Authority Norris Dam Reservation. The focus of this plan is on the municipal lands that the Tree Commission is charged with managing. These include the road rights-of-way, maintained city parks and commons, and unmaintained forested city-owned tracts outside of the Norris Watershed. After extensive discussions and consideration of the results of a community attitudes survey, the following vision statement was adopted to guide the development of this plan.
The tree canopy coverage for Norris as a whole is 82 percent. Canopy coverage for city managed lands, excluding the Norris Watershed and Tennessee Valley Authority- and state managed lands, is 53 percent. While canopy coverage is greater than when Norris was founded in 1933, it has decreased in recent decades as commercial, institutional, and residential development expanded in previously forested areas.
Approximately 2,500 trees of 90 different species occur on maintained municipal lands. The 10 most frequently occurring trees comprise 59% of all trees with flowering dogwood the most numerous, followed by eastern red cedar, tulip tree, and white oak. Four species, 2.3% of all trees, are invasive. The health of 79% of trees was rated as good, 16% as fair, and 5% as poor, dead, or dying. The most frequently identified maintenance task is removal of vines, followed by pest and disease treatment, pruning, and removal. The trees on maintained municipal lands have a replacement value of about $4.1 million and provide about $8,100 in annual benefits for air pollutant removal, carbon sequestration and avoided runoff.
The goals for the management of the Norris Urban Forest are threefold:
Operational: Manage the trees on municipal lands in a professional, sustainable, equitable, and safe manner while maintaining the current canopy coverage.
Administrative: Effectively coordinate the activities of the Tree Commission and the Norris Public Works Department and other entities.
Public Awareness and Involvement: Proactively inform the public about proper tree care and the value of trees.