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Tree trouble

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News Worthington,Minnesota 56187 http://www.dglobe.com/sites/default/files/styles/square_300/public/fieldimages/4/0711/16-worthington-tree-example.jpg?itok=GRc_wtsL
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Tree trouble
Worthington Minnesota 300 11th Street / P.O. Box 639 56187

WORTHINGTON -- After discussions with representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the city of Worthington will take a closer look at the way its storm-damaged trees are being trimmed around town.

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"We're also going to be coordinating with FEMA representatives to do an analysis of our current trees that have been trimmed and see if we can get some ruling on removals," Worthington City Administrator Craig Clark said. "In our opinion, they meet the threshold for removal."

To be eligible for removal, the tree has to reach a certain amount of damage.

"Fifty percent of crown loss is what we've been told is the standard," Clark said. "If the tree has six main branches, let's say, and three of them are gone, that should be a removal. What they were suggesting is that it has to be more Mohawked down 50 percent. If it was a 30-foot tree, it now has to be 15 feet high generally. That's the other standard, and that's the one they seem to be more receptive to for a removal."

The crown of the tree is the branches and leaves extending from the trunk or the main stems.

Clark and others from the city met with Sarah Wolfe, a Region V representative from FEMA.

"We're going to create a team to go around to look at them," Clark said. "Sarah Wolfe said she would be contacting me to go through and do that evaluation. She initially said it would be after the Wednesday meeting."

The next step in the process of getting federal reimbursement will be a meeting Wednesday for the kick-off.

Before that meeting, the city will remain in contact with an arborist from the University of Minnesota.

"Scott Rosenberg has sort of a developed relationship with him, and Scott was going to call him and try to get him down here," Clark said.

Of course, that will come with a cost to the city. At this time, Clark isn't sure what that pricetag will be.

"I'm presuming that it will be reimbursable," Clark said. "Even if it's not, FEMA is saying we need to get somebody to give us an expert opinion on the long-term viability and if it should be a removal."

The city is hoping to have its cleanup completed by May 31. To do that, citizens are being asked to have the debris to the boulevard by May 28.

Before that deadline, clean-up crews from Ceres Environmental and monitoring crews from True North will meet with FEMA to discuss specific trees.

"On some, in our opinion, that would be candidates for removal, Ceres has said they didn't believe they were," Clark said. "Some of those were placeholders to be on the cautious side. Part of the deal, like they said at the meeting, was they didn't want to cut it down. It's like getting a haircut - you can always take more down, but you can't but it back on type of a deal.

"That's what we'll be discussing as they are moving forward and continuing operation and looking toward the finish off in a little bit of the distance."

Daily Globe Community Content Coordinator Aaron Hagen may be reached at 376-7323.

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