City of Long Beach Launches ‘Operation Mulch-A-Lot’

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mulch-a-lotEvery year, City crews and contractors generate more than 6,000 tons of leaves and branches when they trim trees throughout Long Beach.

Much of that debris is trucked several miles to landfills, while it could be put to better use closer to home.

To celebrate Earth Day last week, Mayor Bob Foster, Councilwoman Rae Gabelich and dozens of school children launched “Operation Mulch-A-Lot” by helping to spread some of the 500 tons of City tree-trimming debris as a 12-inch thick mulch ground cover over a vacant lot owned by the City’s Redevelopment Agency (RDA).

“This program exhibits the City’s innovative approach to green programs and demonstrates a genuine commitment to finding strategies to become a sustainable city,” Mayor Bob Foster said.

Operation Mulch-A-Lot is an effort to expand the use of mulch into areas where it is less commonly used. The overall goal of this project is to divert as much tree-trimming debris onto vacant lots and other places within Long Beach that can use it beneficially.

“As we find new and innovative ways to green Long Beach we should not forget about age-old, tried and true technologies, such as mulch, which is a simple, yet very effective, way for everybody to help green our community,” said City Councilwoman Rae Gabelich, whose 8th Council District includes the vacant RDA lot at Long Beach Boulevard and 49th Street.

Mulch not only keeps Long Beach tree-trimming debris out of the landfill, but mulch also has benefits for the site and the surrounding neighborhood. Mulch is commonly used in landscaping for beautification and weed control, asa thick layer of mulch will smother weeds and keep them from coming back. Mulch also serves a less obvious purpose, stormwater retention, as the lot will now act as a sponge and soak up and hold rainfall, keeping it from carrying pollution into our storm drains, rivers and the ocean. Finally, mulching a vacant lot keeps the lot activitated, demonstrating that it is being taken care of, when otherwise a vacant lot that is full of weeds can suggest neglect.

The vacant lot on Long Beach Blvd & 49th Street had previously been the site of blighted motels that contributed to criminal activities. The Redevelopment Agency was able to acquire and demolish these problem buildings, making way for new future development.

Operation Mulch-A-Lot is a partnership among the Redevelopment Agency, the Department of Public Works and the Office of Sustainability, with support from West Coast Arborists, the City’s street tree-trimming contractor who supplied the mulch.

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