City Workers Team Up to Save Long Beach Trees and Medians

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City of Long Beach Parks, Recreation and Marine (PRM), Public Works (PW) and Water departments are working together to implement an innovative median watering pilot program using recycled water trucks to irrigate trees that are showing signs of distress in the city medians. The goal of the pilot program is to rescue much of the urban forest – our green infrastructure – over the coming months to benefit the air quality, visual appeal, and health of our community.

Marie Knight, director of PRM notes, “Our City departments continue to look for creative ways to provide our services and preserve our urban forests.” She continues, “The trees in our medians are suffering as a result of state drought restrictions on watering grass in public medians with potable water and an aging irrigation infrastructure. This creative solution will allow us to re-establish watering our trees utilizing reclaimed water, similarly to how we currently use reclaimed water for irrigating many of our parks.”

The Public Works Department is providing logistical and operational support for the pilot. “We are excited at this multi-departmental partnership in creating this pilot initiative in the city,” said Craig Beck, director of Public Works.

“Sustainability is the Long Beach way of life,” said Chris Garner, general manager of the Water Department. “Water is pleased to partner again with our sister departments to help save our city’s trees, while also reducing our city’s potable water demand through the use of recycled water. LBWD will continue to collaborate and provide technical support for such innovative water efficiency approaches. This pilot program is one example of our mutual dedication to the larger, long-term goals.”

“I thank our PRM, PW and Water departments for collaborating on this program,” said Pat West, city manager of Long Beach. “This program will not only save some of the dying trees but also ensure we are being as water efficient as we can by using recycled water instead of potable water.”

The median watering pilot program is slated for a 90 day trial period, intended as a bridge into the rainy season; initial cost for the pilot is expected to be approximately $40,000.00. Currently beginning the third tree watering cycle, the pilot program in two cycles has so far saved over 85,000 gallons of potable water, by using recycled water to irrigate trees in city medians.

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