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City releases first-ever tree population assessment 

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Only 17 percent of the urban land mass of Colorado Springs is covered with tree canopy, according to the first-ever assessment of the city's tree population, released on Feb. 5.

But the city is poised to add trees in city parks, irrigated gateway medians and downtown near the Olympic Museum due to a $400,000 boost to the city forestry budget in 2019, the city said in a release.

The city employs three full-time arborists and will add a new staff forester. It's also adding new equipment. By Council district, the southwest District 3 had the most canopy at 34 percent, while the least, 4 percent, is in eastern District 6.

"Historical imagery" analyzed showed that in 1999, 14 percent of the city's area was covered by tree canopy; in 2009, it was 16 percent. Some areas lost tree canopy due to die-offs and new development.

The assessment was conducted by Plan-It Geo LLC of Arvada and funded with a $150,000 grant from the Lyda Hill Foundation. Read it at coloradosprings.gov.

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