12/21/10

Solstice celebration in Glenwood Children's Park



The council ring by Jens Jensen


On Sunday night from 6:00 to 10:00 pm, neighbors celebrated the solstice with a bonfire, music and poetry in Glenwood Children's Park.  The event was organized by the Dudgeon-Monroe Neighborhood Association, with Peter Nause as Chair.

12/10/10

Progress on greenway--Dec. 10, 2010

The greenway construction is almost entirely finished, except for a little cleanup.  It was finished on schedule.

I have been quite impressed that, despite the large size of the equipment used, there has been almost no tree damage above ground level.

Let's go on a  tour down the greenway, starting at Owen Drive, walking down on the right side, and then back on the other side.

This is the access road, seen from Owen Drive.  The tan material is the erosion control mat.  Soil and seeds are underneath.


You can see on the left, a bit of cleanup is needed.


Looking back uphill, past a newly-planted sapling.


Looking downstream, the riprap begins.  Towards the rear, you can see the first "dam," really rather small.


Several planted saplings in the foreground.


It's good that some of the curves in the channel were preserved.


View east from Midvale Blvd.  The saplings here (on right) are a bit larger, to block the view of the street.


Unfortunately, by late Friday afternoon, the street was left very dirty, in violation of specs in the contract for contractors.  Mud left on the streets runs off into the lakes, carrying a lot of phosphorus that "fertilizes" the lakes.

Previously when the street was left dirty, I emailed City inspector Tim Troester, and it was cleaned immediately.  But this time, I didn't notify him--it shows that residents have to be vigilant to get good results.

See all the photos here.

12/1/10

The view from above


A view of our fragile home from the space station.


Water is the source of all life on Earth.  Protect it!

Click on photo to enlarge.
About the photo

11/28/10

Progress on greenway--Nov. 28, 2010


The lower half is finished.  Looking upstream from near Midvale Blvd.

11/16/10

Progress on Greenway--Nov. 16, 2010

Photos & text by Kathleen McElroy  posted Nov. 16, 2010, 7:05 pm.

Hi folks,

I think today we've now seen all the pieces as they are being put together in the reconstruction of the greenway, after the sewer and laterals are replaced. The orange fences are now removed from the properties down here, and they have completed the storm channel alongside our house. The channel includes a little dam, nothing remarkable, kind of a bump in the layer of stone, but enough to slow the water a bit and eventually provide a little waterfall there.

The channel progress is slowed by the fact that they are doing both the tree planting and the erosion-control landscaping as they go. They planted another 7 trees down here today, leveled and stabilized the areas where the soil has been disturbed, mulched the trees, then seeded around them with what sounds like an expensive grass and wildflower mix.

Once seeded, the ground is covered with an erosion mat, to keep the seeds in place especially on the side slopes, to give the seeds a chance to germinate. If it stays warm and we get a bit of rain, we could see some of the seed sprouting already this fall, and beginning to dig their roots into the soil to stabilize the sloping hillsides.













New trees with mulch around--really good sized trees.
Click photos to enlarge.

Seed


 Installing the erosion mat; note that they are working around the tree mulch. They are pinning the erosion mat to the ground over the seeded ground, to give the seeds a chance to sprout where they were seeded.


Unrolling the erosion mat on our side, working around a tree--and finishing the mat on Marsha's side. Riprap channel in between.


Shows the scale of the reseeding and installation of the erosion mat.  In this case, all the soil disturbed during the installation of the lateral has been seeded and matted, and I think we all can expect that.

#     #     #

Both Kathy and I are unable to report on progress for the rest of the week.  If you would like to contribute a report, send me an email with text, including photos as an attachment.  I will try to post them the same evening.  DavidThompson20@aol.com

Progress on greenway--Nov 15, 2010

Story and photos by Kathleen McElroy  Posted Nov. 15, 5:44 pm

After all these many months of waiting and wondering, the installation  of the riprap water channel began today. And as far as I can tell, it is what we were promised: The channel is deep with the sides armoured with good-sized riprap, and there is some kind of ground cloth laid in the channel and up the sides under the stone. The riprap is what we were promised, multi-sized field stone, largely with soft edges and an appealing contour.

11/14/10

How phosphorus escapes from construction sites


When you see mud in the lakes, you know phosphorus is escaping.
 Lake Mendota 7/7/10.

 Studies show that 19% of the phosphorus in our lakes--an important nutrient that causes the growth of toxic algae--comes from construction site erosion.

11/12/10

Progress on greenway--Nov. 12, 2010

The gravel check dam at the bottom of the ravine.
This is what they were working on yesterday, into the darkness.

11/11/10

Advice about care of trees in the ravine

Briana is the Plant Health Care Manager from Stephenson Tree Care, sent by the City to look after the trees during construction.*  She has some tips for residents along the ravine:

Thanks to the workers in the greenway!

Residents are impressed with your work!

Your skill, speed, and courtesy are legendary.

If you would like to order some photos of yourself at work, just let me know.  No charge.

Feel free also to explain what you are doing by making comments at the bottom of a blog entry.

Progress on greenway--Nov.11, 2010


Installing the 2nd lateral from Hillcrest.  The forester (bottom) is making clean cuts on tree roots.

By late afternoon, the sewer had been completed between the first two manholes at the west end.

Two laterals were under construction--feeder pipes from the first two houses at the west end of Hillcrest.

During installation of the first segment of the sewer, sewage was bypassed using a blue hose. As I arrived, workers had disconnected the bypass, and were milking the sewage out of it into the first manhole.

One resident arrived home just in time to observe the installation of his lateral. Apparently, residents haven't been notified by the City when their laterals will be installed.

Briana of Stephenson Tree Care was present, making clean cuts of the roots that had been cut while digging the trenches for the laterals.  Briana explained that the numerous large roots I could see in the excavations were most likely from trees that had been removed.

I was fascinated to hear Briana explain new technology for tree care.  For example, the compression of soil around roots--that occurs when heavy equipment drives near a tree--can be reversed.  An air probe injects air into the soil, inflating the soil to reverse the compression.

Brianna said this is the first job her company has been asked to help with during construction.  Usually, the company is asked to help repair damage to trees after contractors finish.  This sounds like progress in protecting trees.  Residents have been impressed that she spends so much time on-site.

Observers were impressed with the construction work.  There was no evidence of damage to tree trunks.  When the power shovel turned around, it retracted its arm--like a praying mantis--to avoid hitting trees.

The activism of residents along this ravine has helped set a new standard for tree care during construction.  New tree-care rules for contractors were written, the plan was perfected to save as many trees as possible, and  a forester is frequently present.

But residents near construction of the ponds along Old Middleton Rd didn't fare so well.  They lost over 400 trees--quite a few more than the plans called for.  Several trees were damaged.

Ravine neighbors... you spoke up, your voice was heard, and trees were saved.

As of 5:13 pm, it was already dark, but several pieces of heavy equipment were still working.

See all today's photos here.

11/10/10

Progress report on greenway--Nov. 10, 2010

  • As of Tuesday afternoon, tree removal had been completed. One large tree outside the orange fence lower north side) had to be cut, to accommodate a lateral.
  • Work was beginning on the sewage pipes...   They were digging a hole at the west end, to place the first junction for a lateral--a large, circular precast concrete structure.  The lateral to Marsha Siik's house had apparently been completed here.
  • A huge metal bin was being brought down to the hole. It was intended to be a "hopper" for gravel--a convenient place to store materials needed for construction.
The old, main sewage line is cut

Starting work on the main sewage line at the west end of the Greenway.

10/28/10

Progress report on greenway--Oct. 28, 2010

Before today, a thick layer of gravel had been laid on the upper portion, and the gravel entrance pad had been beefed up to regulations.

10/27/10

Progress report on Greenway--Oct. 26, 2010


The haunted construction job.

10/26/10

The dangers of bidding low on erosion control

On the Hillcrest-Upland Greenway project, S&L Underground and Trucking bid only $500 on "storm control."

Either they were completely ignorant that this was a ravine draining half a mile of basin... or they thought: "We'll get the contract, then worry about the details later."

Oops!
Now the time to "worry about the details" has arrived.

10/24/10

Storm demonstrates weakness of City's erosion control plan

Summary: The gravel check dam in the middle of the greenway worked for the most part, although it was over topped.  But the sediment trap below the greenway failed to trap much sediment, because the current inside was too great, and muddy water made an end run around it.

Muddy water is a threat to the lake because the fine particles carry  phosphorus to the lake.  (Since phosphorus is insoluble, it has to hitchhike on the surface of tiny particles.)  This nutrient upsets the natural balance of the lake--it can kill fish and create toxic algae blooms.  Once in the lake, phosphorus for the most part stays forever.

Barriers like the sediment trap below catch only a tiny fraction of the phosphorus.  The only really effective way to trap fine particles is to channel them into a vegetated basin or grassy depression--like the median of Midvale just below the sediment trap.   The runoff is already in Midvale Blvd--all it would take would be a few low asphalt ridges to direct it to the depressed, grassy median.

Greenway becomes a foaming torrent

On Saturday evening and Sunday morning (Oct. 23-24), it rained a toral of .52 in.  It had been raining moderately hard for a few hours on Sunday morning when I took the photos.

The ravine in the greenway drains a basin about half a mile long, but the ground was quite dry before the rain.  So today's test of the erosion control plan for the greenway was pretty mild.  The record rainfall for Oct. 24 was 2.49 " in 1991.

Protecting the east end of the greenway was an incomplete layer of gravel on the newly bulldozed road, plus a gravel check dam at the lower end of the road.

East end of greenway--the "geyser" resulted from the pipe being partly choked with gravel and leaves.


This "road" may become a hog wallow in coming days.


The gravel check dam below the road was over topped, becoming a waterfall.


Check dam, looking upstream.


The sediment trap on Midvale Blvd overflows.

Muddy water does an end run around the trap.  From here it flows to all four gutters of Midvale.


During peak flow, the current inside the trap was so fast that fist-sized rocks washed in.  With current like this, you can be sure most smaller particles will be washed out of the "trap."

Is your cup half full or half empty (of sediment)

While I was surveying the damage above, an optimistic Alderman happened by.  Chris Schmidt said, "Look at all the sediment the trap caught."  I replied that I'd found a stormwater inlet downstream completely filled with sediment.  We looked at another one, also clogged.

Pointing to the fist-sized rocks in the trap, I suggested that the small amount of sediment in the trap had probably only settled there when the current had calmed at the end of the storm.

Motorists enjoyed surfing the runoff.


Downstream, the stormwater inlets in the gutters were unprotected.  This one, about the fourth down, was totally filled with sandy sediment.


In the center, behind the big tree, is the perfect spot to receive and filter the muddy water.

The muddy road back in the greenway, after the storm.


Problems ahead: a hog wallow for machinery in the ravine.

See all the photos ...
After the storm     ...we're still adding captions to the photos...

Greenway project delayed by contractor misstep

On Saturday after light rain the day before, I checked the greenway.  I stopped to talk with two workers who were loading heavy equipment onto a transporter.

They worked for Badger State Site Preparation--the subcontractor who will be cutting and removing the trees.  They told me they were removing equipment to another construction site, because S&L Underground and Trucking (the main contractor) had not laid enough gravel down onto the road.  In fact, I could see that the layer of gravel was spotty and thin.

"It's too muddy," they said.  "We won't be able to get the crane level--the controls won't even operate unless it's level.  (And that was before the moderate rain of Sunday morning.)  They would not be returning until at least Wednesday.

The trees couldn't be cut before Oct. 15, because of the danger of spreading oak wilt.  But S&L Underground & Trucking could easily have constructed the road and laid gravel before that.  If they had done that work in a timely fashion, Badger State Site Preparation could have begun work and made some progress before the rains came.  It's going to be hard to lay gravel now that the ground is so muddy.

Delay is a problem because the project (except for plantings) is supposed to be finished by early December, with the soil stabilized for the winter.   Topsoil cannot be spread if it's frozen.  S&L Underground will have to keep stockpiled topsoil unfrozen until it is spread.

S&L violates erosion control and tree protection rules

Out of  3-4 vehicles on the site, one was parked 4 feet from a tree to be saved.  The Badger State men told me that bobcat belonged to S&L Underground.  All the Badger State machines were parked correctly. 


The new tree protection rules require equipment to be parked at least 5 feet from trees.

At the west end of the greenway, there was a pile of soil not protected by a silt fence, as required by the erosion control plan.

10/22/10

Tree protection and erosion control off to a sloppy start

Work was scheduled to start Oct. 4, and be completed (except for plantings) in December.  With a late start, and the vulnerability of the project to wet conditions, the contractor may have to rush.

Work with heavy equipment began on Tuesday, 10/19 (or Wednesday).

...the orange construction fence went up earlier.  It's a special measure to help the contractor limit damage to the fenced area.

A dirt road has been built about a third of the way down from Owen Drive.  The immediate goal is to bring in equipment which will be used to remove the doomed trees. 


A sky platform is in place to get arborists up into the trees. 


A large power shovel, a bobcat, and a bulldozer are parked on the site.

Violations noted after two days of work...

Tree protection


The road hasn't cut much into the soil yet, so not many roots have been disturbed.  However, I did see at least one root over 1/2" diameter (near the parked bulldozer above) that didn't have a clean cut.
  • A bulldozer was parked overnight close to endangered trees outside the fence (above).
  • I didn't see any damage to tree trunks.
  • Supplies (below) were stored close to the three "endangered trees" that are within the orange fence at the east end. That means equipment drove close to deposit the supplies, compacting the soil.

In summary, only minor threats to the trees so far, but there's evidence of initial disregard for the tree protection rules.

Erosion control

You can see the erosion control plan here.  (Click on 3171.pdf)

Five elements of the plan should be in place by now...
  1. Gravel construction entrance 50' long (to prevent tracking out of mud)
  2. Gravel surfacing of the access road.
  3. A gravel check dam below the work area (to stop sediment  and slow erosive force of water)
  4. A sediment trap below the project on Midvale, coupled with stormsewer inlet filters and diversion from the main channel towards the sediment trap.
  5. Stormwater inlet filters on Midvale downstream, to catch sediment that escapes #4, as it surely will.
None of these measures have been completed as of the end of 10/21.  Only #4 has been started--and except for the big concrete "Jersey barriers," the other elements haven't been added, so the sediment trap is still non-functional.

I've stated elsewhere that this erosion control plan is quite inadequate. Here we have a ravine that drains a basin half a mile long.  To see so little progress on a poor plan is-- discouraging, to say the least.  An 80% chance of rain is predicted for tomorrow (10/23), and more rain every day through 10/26, so these 5 deficits must be corrected by the end of today.

Heres a quote from the erosion control permit that the City has to comply with:

"All measures to be installed prior to any other construction.  No disturbance, grading, stockpiles or borrow pits shall be allowed in park area without approval by the parks division prior to construction."*  Signed by Timothy N. Troester.

And another: "I have reviewed and understand Chapter 37 of the Madison General Ordinances regarding erosion control and stormwater management and I shall implement the control plan or checklist for this project as approved by the City."  Signed by Robert F. Phillips, City Engineer.

On the form letter attached to the permit: "A Professional Engineer...shall certify the initial installation and implementation of the measures shown on the approved erosion control plan."  This engineer is John Fahrney.  Does he certify that it wasn't done two days after the start of disturbance to the area?

"Failure to abide by any of these requirements... is considered a violation of the City's Erosion Control Ordinance...and can result in the issuance of Official Notices, citations, and/or referral to the City Attorney for resolution of non-compliance."

This would be humorous, if it weren't so dysfunctional.  The erosion control inspector is going to refer his boss to the City Attorney for "resolution of non-compliance"?

This paperwork seems to be window dressing--like all the forms the banks sign to foreclose a mortgage.   It looks like another example of "robosigning."

Endangered tree #162 remains optimistic, despite the poor start.

#     #     #

*  Note... that when you examine it, this statement is confusing--more evidence of sloppiness in all details of Madison's erosion control.  Always an afterthought.  The reference to "parks" indicates the document hasn't been revised recently and does not really fit the present project.  The document seems to say--and ought to say--that the erosion control measures have to be implemented before the ground is disturbed.

Residents can help protect the endangered trees

"Endangered trees" are the trees within 5 feet of the orange construction fence--on the outside (plus 3 trees inside at the E end).

The City has told us they would take special measures to protect these trees from damage during construction--damage that might cause them to die next summer.  Special measures were written into the contractor's contract--these measures are summarized in a previous article.*

But people who follow public works projects in Madison know things sometimes don't happen as they are supposed to.  Last summer, a settling pond under construction along Old Middleton Rd almost failed during heavy rains.  Terraces for aquatic vegetation along Wingra Creek turned out smaller than designs called for.

So residents along the Greenway will need to watch for activities in the construction area that may harm the trees.

Here's what you can do
  • Identify any "endangered trees" below your property that you want to save.  These are any within 5 feet of the orange fence, or any along the lateral sewer pipe from your house.
  • Make written or photographic notes about any damage (or lack thereof) to your endangered trees before construction begins near the tree.
  • Put a sign (or better, a face) on that tree so workers can see it.  Give it a personality. No paint--nothing permanent, of course.
  • Inspect the tree after every work day.  Report any damage immediately to the City's forrestry representative.  (I'll post name/number when I find out.)  Document the damage with photos yourself, or call me to do it (cell: 692-5467).
  • Include in your inspection any damage to the tree's roots projecting into the construction zone.  Roots inside the work area can be cut, but they are supposed to have clean cuts by the end of the day.
  • Watch for forbidden practices, like gashing trunks or branches, ripping roots out of the ground with heavy equipment, or storing equipment or materials within 5 feet of trees.
  • Try to find out who does the damage--the contractor or MG&E.  Take photos if you can.
  • If rain occurs during the project, take photos of gullies forming during the storm, the muddy runoff going down Midvale, and the damage afterwards.
Construction work is allowed closer than 5 feet to these trees, so they may wind up dead.  But the workers are supposed to exercise care when close to the trees.  So your job--if you think the tree is in danger and the behavior is careless--is to make a case for your views and let officials know.

Keep your conduct friendly and "professional"

We don't want to "harass" City or construction workers.  In reality, City officials cannot monitor everything, so they need our help.  It's fine if the workers see us taking photos--our engagement will help underline the importance of doing this job RIGHT.

The workers and City officials are not our adversaries.  We are all in this together, working for a city that's a better place to live, where plans are followed and projects get done right.  Bring them come coffee or donuts if you can!  It's a hard job!

But like all people who work together in a serious, cooperative way, we need to hold others and ourselves RESPONSIBLE for what happens.

The new tree protection rules look nice on paper, but they are only as good as their enforcement.  I'm afraid that if trees die, MG&E will point fingers at the contractor, and vice versa, and in the end, the City will say they don't really know what happened.  And so no fines will be handed out.   Our job is to document what really happened to the trees.

Neighbors were very concerned during the meetings about the project.  Now it's time to follow through and watch out for those endangered trees!


Remember the Lorax who spoke for the trees.  Your turn to be the Lorax.










*  Thank you, Engineering, for this important detail.

10/21/10

Summary--Required protection for trees during construction

The new tree protections--background

  Residents next to the Greenway have always been most concerned about the loss of trees from the project.  About 63--some quite large--are slated to be cut.  The project was designed to minimize cutting of trees--which means that many large trees not marked for cutting are just a few feet outside the cramped construction zone--just outside the orange fence.

During several meetings, Design Engineer Lisa Coleman assured residents that diligent efforts would be made to protect these "endangered" trees just outside the work area, although she cautioned there were no guarantees all would survive.

Alder Marsha Rummel took the lead in improving protections for trees:

"After the loss of street trees on Spaight Street [two summers ago] due to contractor negligence, I asked City Engineering and Parks staff to improve our practices to protect street trees during... public works projects." The same contractor is now working on our greenway.

"The new specs will inform contractors of our tree preservation practices during preconstruction meetings and require a sign-off to acknowledge that they understand our policies. Penalties will include a fine based on the diameter of the tree damaged due to negligence and the costs of removal, stumping, planting replacement trees, or pruning damaged limbs."

"Standards will be established for how close to a tree a contractor can grade or excavate, when to seek permission of the City Forester to cut roots, and a prohibition on parking equipment within 5’ of any tree to prevent soil compaction."

"Another improvement will be an enhanced letter to property owners that outlines the level of risk on a per tree basis."  Source

Summary of new tree protections

These apply to the "endangered" trees just outside the orange fence, and along where the lateral sewage pipes will be laid.
"It is recognized that grading operations, trenching and root cutting of these trees will need to occur within 5 feet of these trees in order to complete the work, but care must be taken in these areas." Grading, excavation, and trenching near these trees shall be done under the supervision of" an official "forestry representative."

In addition to the endangered trees just outside the fence, there are a few trees to be saved within the orange fence--these are at the east end of the greenway.

The four most common causes of damage to trees detailed below, along with required safeguards...

Root cutting
  • "Roots shall be cut cleanly by using a saw, ax, lopping shears, chain saw, stump grinder, or other means which will produce a clean cut. The use of a backhoe to cut roots is NOT acceptable.
  • All roots over one-half (1/2) inch in diameter that are damaged shall be cleanly cut immediately in back of the damaged section on the same day of the excavation.
  • The Contractor shall not rip or pull roots out towards the trunk while excavating with a backhoe. If in the opinion of the Forestry representative excavation or trenching as show on the plans cannot be done without unacceptable damage to trees to be protected, the Construction Engineer [John Fahrney, for this project] may request grading or alignment modifications to reduce damage to the tree.
  • Grading, excavation, and trenching near these trees shall be done under the supervision of an official forestry representative. 
  • Exposed roots shall be covered as soon as excavation and installation are complete.
  • Boring under a protected tree may be allowed.
  • The Engineer may elect to terminate lateral installation prior to conflict with tree.
Pruning
  • Trees larger than 10” DBH* will be pruned by City Forestry to an approximate minimum height of fourteen (14) feet above the road wherever construction equipment is expected to invade the tree crown.  (Some limbs less than 14' high can be spared if noted in advance.)
  • Pruning to accommodate construction equipment invading the tree crown shall be done by the Contractor, under supervision by the Forestry representative.
  • All pruning shall be done according to ANSI A300 tree pruning specifications.
Bark abrasions
  • Contractor shall take precautions...not to disfigure, scar, or impair the health of any tree....
  • Contractor shall operate equipment in a manner as to not damage the branches. This may require using smaller equipment... and loading or unloading materials...away from trees....
  • Contractor shall notify City Forestry the same day of any damage to trees....
Soil compaction
  • No equipment or materials will be allowed to be parked on, or be piled on areas within five (5) feet a tree.
  • Construction traffic within 5 feet of a tree will be allowed only where necessary to complete grading, or sanitary sewer operations, at the discretion of the Construction Engineer.If the City Forester or City Engineer determines that a tree has been damaged due to failure to follow these specifications, or negligence of the Contractor or Subcontractor, a fine or liquidated damages shall be assessed to the Contractor or permit holder.  There is a schedule showing fines for each infraction.
Coordination between players is essential

In addition to the contractor, MG&E will be working on power lines, so they, as well as the contractor, have to sign off that they understand the new protections.  They have to work under supervision of the forestry representative.

So the forestry representative is a key player--let us hope he/she is present whenever endangered trees are at risk.

Likewise, the erosion control inspector, Tim Troester, is a key player, because of the vulnerability of this ravine to severe erosion during a big storm.

Success in saving the "endangered trees" depends on all players, including residents, working together.

*  Diameter at breast height

Required tree protection in the greenway during construction

Here are the details--what's legally binding for the contractor of the greenway project--S&L.Underground and Trucking.  There are two relevant documents...
  • Contract 6323 that the contractor signed with the City (#6323).  These reinforce and add to what's in the "Standard Specifications."  (see p. D-4)
  • Standard Specifications for Public Works Projects, which outlines provisions that contractors have to adhere to in all projects.  Tree protections were strengthened for this early 2010 revision of this document. (see p. 46)
The text below is copied verbatim from these documents, except for a few places where I have deleted extraneous material.  I have also deleted sections b, c, d, and e of 107.13 of the Standard Specifications, which the contract says are not relevant to this project.  I have highlighted text I think is particularly important for this project.

In my next posting (above), I'll give a brief summary of all these details.

Tree protection in the contract

“The contractor is advised to review …the Standard Specifications for tree protection, which is new in 2010.”

“The intent of the design is to save as many trees as possible, and to minimize the damage to those trees that remain following construction. Trees that must be removed to complete the work are denoted on the plans with an X--most of these are to be inside the construction fencing (except those requiring removal for lateral installation). A few trees at the Owen Drive end within the construction fencing are to be saved, these trees shall be clearly marked to be saved in the field.

"The project corridor is heavily wooded. Because of the intent to save as many trees as possible, there are numerous trees to be saved that are just outside the construction limits, or adjacent to laterals. In many areas the temporary fencing will need to be placed immediately adjacent to a tree (not >5 feet away) in order to allow adequate space for the work.

It is recognized that grading operations, trenching and root cutting of these trees will need to occur within 5 feet of these trees in order to complete the work, but care must be taken in these areas. Grading, excavation, and trenching near these trees shall be done under the supervision of a City of Madison Forestry Representative, or the City’s Arborist Consultant.

Roots shall be cut cleanly by using a saw, ax, lopping shears, chain saw, stump grinder, or other means which will produce a clean cut. Exposed roots shall be covered as soon as excavation and installation are complete. The Contractor shall not rip or pull roots out towards the trunk of a tree while excavating with a backhoe. The use of a backhoe to cut roots is NOT acceptable.” ….

“If in the opinion of the Forestry representative excavation or trenching as show on the plans cannot be done without unacceptable damage to trees to be protected, the Construction Engineer [John Fahrney, for this project] may request grading or alignment modifications to reduce damage to the tree. Additional trees beyond those marked with an X on the plans may only be removed with the permission of the Construction Engineer and the Forestry representative.”

“…Pruning to accommodate construction equipment invading the tree crown shall be done by the Contractor, under supervision by the Forestry representative. All pruning shall be done according to ANSI A300 tree pruning specifications.”

“…No equipment or materials will be allowed to be parked on, or piled on areas within 5 feet of a tree. Construction traffic within 5 feet of a tree will be allowed only where necessary to complete grading, or sanitary sewer operations, at the discretion of the Construction Engineer.”  Source
 
Tree protection in the Standard Specifications
 
"These specifications shall be applicable to all Contractors working in the Public Right of Way, whether by permit, Public Works Contract, Developer Agreement or any other permission to work within the Public Right of Way. However, any Contractor doing work related to an emergency situation as described in Sections 10.05(13)(a) and 10.101(5) of the Madison General Ordinances are not bound by these provisions for those situations only."  ....

"The maintenance and enhancement of the urban forest is a goal of the City of Madison. Preserving and protecting healthy trees is one objective towards achieving this goal. Trees vary in their ability to adapt to altered growing conditions. Mature trees have established systems in the pre-existing physical environment. Disruption of this environment by construction activities interrupts the tree’s physiological processes causing depletion of energy reserves and a decline in vigor, often resulting in the tree’s death.

These tree protection specifications are intended to insure that appropriate practices will be implemented in the construction phase of the project to protect a tree’s structural integrity and future health. Also, these specifications will reduce the likelihood of undesirable consequences that may result from uninformed or careless construction practices adjacent to trees.

The three most common forms of construction damage to trees are:
  • Root cutting
  • Bark abrasions
  • Soil compaction
Damage can be prevented or minimized by following the specifications below and properly educating construction staff with these specifications and use of care when working around trees during the construction process. If the City Forester or City Engineer determines that a tree has been damaged due to failure to follow these specifications, or negligence of the Contractor or Subcontractor, a fine or liquidated damages shall be assessed....

In particularly sensitive areas or areas of dense tree cover, the City Engineer may elect to specify the use of a protective fencing to mark the tree protection zones or zones of no disturbance. Whenever construction fencing is used, a bid item shall be included in the contract, unless specified as incidental.

107.13(a) Underground Utility Excavation & Installation.

The Contractor shall not grade, excavate, or otherwise disturb the area within five (5) feet of any tree as measured from the outside edge of the tree at DBH (Diameter at Breast Height) along the length of the terrace, without prior permission from the City Forestry Representative.

For laterals or utilities that are in close proximity to terrace trees, the situation shall be reviewed on a case by case basis by the Engineer and City Forestry Representative. The contractor shall use construction methods to minimize tree damage as directed by the Engineer. The Engineer may elect to terminate lateral installation prior to conflict with tree (normally terminate at the curb). Most laterals shall have their locations verified and on the plan set in advance of bidding. Laterals that have not had their locations verified, shall be so noted on the plans.

Boring under or within the 5 foot protection zone may be allowable.

All roots over one-half (1/2) inch in diameter that are damaged shall be cleanly cut immediately in back of the damaged section on the same day of the excavation. Cuts may be made with an ax, lopping shears, chainsaw, stump grinder, or other means which will produce a clean cut. Exposed roots should be covered as soon as excavation and installation are complete.


The Contractor shall not rip or pull roots out towards the trunk of a tree while excavating with a backhoe. The use of a backhoe to cut roots is NOT acceptable."

107.13(f) Bark Abrasions and Limb Damage.

"Contractor shall take precautions during construction not to disfigure, scar, or impair the health of any tree on public or private property.

Pre-construction pruning – Trees larger than 10” DBH will be pruned by City Forestry to an approximate minimum height of fourteen (14) feet above the road wherever construction equipment is expected to invade the tree crown. All pruning shall be done according to ANSI A300 tree pruning specifications. Occasionally a limb may have to remain at a height less than fourteen (14) feet above the roadway. These instances shall be noted during the ‘walk thru’ and the Contractor shall employ methods to protect said limb. Contractor shall operate equipment in a manner as to not damage the branches of a tree. This may require using smaller equipment and loading or unloading materials in a designated space away from trees on the construction site.


Contractor shall notify City Forestry the same day of any damage to trees resulting from construction activities.

107.14(g) Soil Compaction.

No equipment or materials will be allowed to be parked on, driven over, or be piled on areas within five (5) feet a tree. This not only prevents compaction, but also prevents damage to the trunks of trees and branches through scraping of scuffing the bark.

107.14(h) Contractor / Foreperson Acknowledgement.

The Tree Protection Specification and known conflicts and concerns shall be reviewed at the Pre-Construction meeting with the Contractor. This review shall include review of a one page educational informational sheet that details the procedures for avoiding damage to the tree and tree roots. The Contractor’s representative shall sign the acknowledgement prior to start of construction.

Utilities or others working in the Public Right of Way shall be required to sign this acknowledgement on a case by case basis.

107.14(i) Cost Recovery Charges and Liquidated Damages.

The Contractor’s failure to follow the proper safeguards of these specifications shall result in the following cost recovery charges and liquidated damages to be assessed against the Contractor:

Where construction damage occurs causing or resulting in removal of the tree:

1. The costs associated with removing the tree including wood disposal.

2. The costs associated with removing the stump to a depth of at least 24 inches below the ground.

3. The costs associated with replanting a replacement tree that is balled & burlapped and shall have a minimum caliper of three (3) inches. The species and replanting location shall be determined by City Forestry.

4. The value of the existing tree which shall equal $125.00 per trunk diameter inch, measured at 4.5 feet above the ground.

For bark scraping and broken branches:

1. The costs associated with pruning broken branches, including wood disposal.

2. Loss of limb or broken branch larger than three (3) inches in diameter: $150.00 for each occurrence. Breakage of limbs that are less than fourteen (14) feet above the roadway shall be reviewed on a case by case basis.
3. Damage to trunk or bark larger than one square foot in area: $400.00 each area.

For root cutting or excavation within the root protection zone:

1. For mechanical excavation within five (5) feet of a tree, along the length of the terrace or sidewalk side of the tree, including ripping of roots back towards the trunk, without prior permission from City Forestry Representative: $150.00 for each occurrence

2. For mechanical excavation beyond six (6) inches or one (1) foot of the proposed curb installation, as determined by the size of existing tree and terrace width, including ripping of roots back towards the trunk: $150.00 for each occurrence (see Curb excavation and installation specifications).

For Public Works Contracts these charges and liquidated damages shall be assessed as Liquidated Damages. For Private Contracts, Permit work, or others, these charges and liquidated damages shall be assessed as City imposed forfeitures or private contract forfeitures.

10/2/10

Leaves in the Lakes


It's Fall again, and our lakes need your help...

"Depending on where you put them, leaves can fertilize your lawn or flower beds, or promote algae growth as rain washes leaves in the street down storm drains and ditches and into nearby lakes and streams.

Even if the leaves themselves don't move, rain seeping through leaf piles and leaves crushed by car tires makes a rich "nutrient tea" that flows along the curb and into the storm drains. These nutrients then fuel algae growth. Brown leaves in the street this fall make a green lake next summer.

So remember - the lake is as close as your nearest storm drain, and what you do with your leaves really matters. Please show your love of our beautiful Lake Wingra by keeping leaves out of the street. Instead - think of your leaves as a yard asset - not waste.

For great ideas on turning leaves and other yard "wastes" into valuable, useful amendments for your yard and gardens, go to:
http://clean-water.uwex.edu/pubs/pdf/home.managlt.pdf

please ... love your lakes - don't leaf them!"

Thanks to Judi Dilks, Friends of Lake Wingra