LETTER: Full Time Forestry Supervisor Key to Protecting Watertown’s Tree Canopy


On behalf of Trees for Watertown, I want to publicly thank our DPW, and in particular Bob DiRico — who is Acting Forestry Supervisor on top of his already-full-time job as Supervisor of Parks and Cemeteries — for the care they’re taking of our town trees during this extended period both without a full-time Forestry Supervisor/Tree Warden and now with reduced DPW staffing because of the pandemic.

As we all know we had a very severe windstorm yesterday. Watertown’s tree canopy took a real beating. Our DPW did a tremendous job responding to this. Bob DiRico and his support team were up until 11:30 last night working on clearing the worst of the damage and already were at it again early this morning.

Thanks to DPW’s commitment, and helpful information that our former Tree Warden Chris Hayward provided before he left Watertown, Watertown will be planting some 50 more badly-needed street trees this Spring. DPW has also purchased a second 200 gallon portable watering tank to help ensure our young street trees stay healthy.

We hugely appreciate the conscientious efforts our DPW are making to maintain our urban forest. However these efforts can only partially fill a critical vacancy at DPW. To reverse the continuing loss of tree canopy in Watertown and ensure a robust, healthy urban forest in future, Watertown needs a full-time professional Forestry Supervisor/Tree Warden.

Successful long term planning to ensure healthy urban canopy decades into the future requires a dedicated professional with the time, knowledge and skills to supervise day-to-day tree planting and maintenance, to select and site trees for long term healthy growth in a changing climate, to maintain a detailed and accurate forestry database, and to engage and collaborate with the many kinds of stakeholders whose support is necessary to achieve that goal.

We urge our Town Council, Town Manager and DPW to keep up the active search to fill this important professional position.

Best regards,
Libby Shaw
President, Trees for Watertown

3 thoughts on “LETTER: Full Time Forestry Supervisor Key to Protecting Watertown’s Tree Canopy

  1. Amen. We desperately need a highly qualified tree warden in place asap Trees clean the air, prevent erosion, soak up water in heavy rains, provide shade and slow down global warming. We need lots more trees.
    I suggest planting one in that little lot the town acquired behind Santander near the entrance to the library parking lot. A big shade tree there would be wonderful to offset all the hot asphalt parking lots around that area. Thanks for posting!

  2. The healthy trees cut down along California Street to accommodate the installation of the Thompson footbridge should be replaced.

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