As the newly appointed director of Calaveras County Emergency Services Department, one of my many important duties is overseeing the successful implementation of the county’s Tree Mortality Program. The primary objective of this program is the elimination of hazards posed by dead and dying trees that could adversely affect the county’s infrastructure and the public traveling along its roads. We are observing dead trees falling across roads now on a regular basis. It is fortunate that we have not seen major accidents or damage caused by these falling trees. We cannot depend on chance that future problems will not occur. We need to take immediate steps to remove these hazard trees, thus mitigating potential problems.

Many of the hazardous trees are located on private properties adjacent to county roads and infrastructure. We need access to these properties to identify the trees, mark them for treatment and ultimately to hire licensed and insured contractors to eliminate the hazards. Over 900 Right of Entry (ROE) forms requesting access to private properties have been mailed to their owners. To date, the return of these forms has not been sufficient for us to develop tree mitigation projects for affected communities.

If you have received one of the ROE forms, we urge you to return it as quickly as possible. The process of identifying and mitigating the hazards is funded by a grant from the state and there is no cost to the property owner. In some cases, the property owner will find that mitigating the tree hazards not only benefits the county and the traveling public, but also eliminates hazards to houses and other assets.

If you have any questions about the county’s Tree Mortality Program or the Right of Entry form, please contact the county’s Tree Mortality Program manager, Dr. Richard Harris, at 707-685-5508 or at rrharrisconsulting@gmail.com. You may also visit the county’s tree mortality webpage at treemortality.co.calaveras.ca.us.

Michelle Patterson, is the director of emergency services in Calaveras County.

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