The City of Fernandina Beach Tree Ordinance is dedicated to:
- No net loss of trees.
- Placing structures and all impervious surfaces in such a way as to protect the survivability and substantial growth of the healthiest trees on a property.
- Maintaining the diversity of tree species native to Amelia Island.
- Protecting and maintaining the existing mature growth native trees important to the City’s tree canopy.
- Preserving, enhancing and restoring the unique aesthetic character of the City.
- Preserving, enhancing and restoring the natural environment through the protection and establishment of native trees and existing natural systems for the enjoyment of present and future populations.
Penalties specific to the violation of tree permit requirements are found in Section 11.08.04 of the Land Development Code: Specific Penalties for Violation of Tree Protection Requirements, LDC 11.08.04
In 2009, the City completed an inventory of a portion of the City's street and public space trees. This project was partially funded through a $15,000 grant from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The following findings about the City's urban forest resulted from the completion of this project:
- The inventory contains 7,000 trees, and covers most of the City’s streets and public open space north of Sadler Road. Of the 7,000 trees inventoried, 67% were street trees and 33% were public space trees.
- In general, the condition of the City’s public trees is good (73.4%), but is not as diverse as it should be according to ISA (International Society of Arboriculture) standards.
- The ISA recommends that no more than 10% of the forest be composed of a single species. The tree inventory shows that 28% of the City’s public trees are live oaks, 19% are sabal palms, and 12% are laurel oaks. It is recommended that future plantings be selected to increase diversity in order to lessen vulnerability to pests and diseases.
- The inventory does not contain trees on private property, which make up a majority of the City’s trees. Using 2008 aerial photos of the City, it was estimated that the overall tree canopy coverage for the entire City is 37%.
- Trees are not just aesthetically pleasing, they also provide environmental benefits such as storm water management and increased air quality. The study used i-Tree software to quantify the dollar value of the annual environmental and aesthetic benefits of the 7,000 trees contained in the inventory, and that value is $56,637,455.
- The management plan is currently used by multiple departments, such as Streets and Parks & Recreation, to better care for the City’s existing public space trees by helping to identify hazard trees and to identify and prioritize maintenance tasks, such as pruning. Better planning for the future urban forest is also possible through the plan’s recommendations regarding better tree selection for planting spaces and for the replacement of trees that have been removed.
2014 Arbor Day Tree Planting at Waterfront Petanque Courts
The City's 2014 Arbor Day celebration and tree planting ceremony was held on Sunday, April 27 at the Waterfront Petanque Courts . In partnership with the Petanque Club, Amelia Tree Conservancy, and NuVision Landscape Management, the City planted five palm trees to surround the petanque play area. A pot luck lunch and petanque games were held to commemorate the event followed by the 1st Treasured Tree Trolley Tour.
Tree City USA
The City of Fernandina Beach has been named a Tree City USA® Community for 2014 by the Arbor Day Foundation. This is the 12th year that the City has received this designation. Fernandina Beach also received the Tree City USA® designation in the following years: 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 2005, 2007-2014.
The Benefits of Trees
Trees provide many benefits to the community. They can help reduce energy costs, they may add value to your home, they provide food for wildlife, they can improve water quality and reduce stormwater runoff, and they make commercial areas more attractive to customers. If you want to learn more about the benefits of trees, click on the links below:
Do you want to read more about the benefits of street trees? Please read 22 Benefits of Urban Street Trees written by Dan Burden, Partner and Senior Urban Designer - Glatting Jackson Kercher and Anglin. This article was published in "The Council Quarterly 2011 Issue Two" published by the Florida Urban Forestry Council.
Find out how trees help manage stormwater runoff by clicking on this interactive poster on the Arbor Day Foundation's website: Trees Tame Stormwater - Interactive Poster