Cocoa City Council unanimously approved to accept the City of Cocoa Urban Forest Management Plan and authorized staff to move forward with plan recommendations. The plan, which was conducted as part of a three year Urban and Community Forestry grant from the USDA Forest Service to assist local government in enhancing their urban and community forestry programs, utilizes data from the tree inventory conducted in year one of the grant program and outlines Cocoa's commitment to proper tree care.
The plan outlines tree removal and planting recommendations, tree maintenance and habitat management practices, identified priority planting areas throughout the City, and gave recommendations on changes to the current tree ordinance. Click here to read the complete City of Cocoa Urban Forest Management Plan.
In April 2020, Cocoa City Council accepted the multi-year Urban and Community Forestry grant from the USDA Forest Service. This three-year grant program first allowed the City of Cocoa to develop a local tree and hazardous tree inventory, second allowed the City of Cocoa to create an Urban Forest Management Plan, and then third will allow the City to begin implementation of that master plan. The grant matches awarded were $25,000 for the first year, $15,000 for the second year, and $15,000 for the third year.
The tree inventory, which located 8,340 trees located within the City rights-of-way and City owned parks and cemeteries, was completed in 2020. The information collected included locations, species, name, height, any damage that may be existing on the tree, conflicts with utilities, etc. that was then used in developing the comprehensive tree management plan as well as implementing new tree care ordinances to ensure the health of the City’s tree population in the future. This inventory identified 128 different tree species and an overwhelming majority of trees were rated as being in "Excellent" designation.
The third year of the grant program, which includes matching funds for tree planting, is pending a notice to proceed from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and is estimated to begin in the summer of 2022.
“The City of Cocoa Public Works Department is excited to participate in this Urban and Community Forestry grant program through the Florida Forest Service. This program gives us the opportunity to learn more about the trees we currently have in the city and allows us to better plan for the future of our tree canopy in the city. Trees play an important role in our City’s resiliency and storm preparedness and participating in this program is an additional way we are becoming more storm prepared for the future,” said Public Works Director Bryant Smith.
For more information on the grant program, visit https://www.fdacs.gov/Business-Services/Grant-Opportunities/Florida-Urban-and-Community-Forestry-Grants.