Westmont, Illinois - Date Issued: November 16, 2020
Village of Westmont Forester Jon Yeater and Village Arborist Dave DeCicco, who are volunteers on the Urban Forest Strike Team (UFST), recently assisted the City of Ottawa with the assessment of tree damage from a recent storm. The Illinois Urban Forest Strike Team is made up of a group of specially trained foresters and arborists who volunteer their time to help communities impacted by natural disasters. The group is coordinated by the Illinois Department of Natural Resource and Trees Forever.
On August 10, 2020, a derecho, which is a widespread, long-lived, straight-line wind storm that is associated with a fast-moving group of severe thunderstorms, swept across the Midwest and caused billions of dollars in damage. When the storm reached northern Illinois, it spawned an outbreak of multiple tornadoes. In Ottawa, the combination of those straight line derecho winds and a tornado caused property damage and extensive tree damage throughout the community. The majority of the damage was located north of the Illinois River. The City of Ottawa, a Tree City USA community, reached out to UFST for assistance.
“It’s great to have the expert knowledge of the Strike Team available to communities,” said Adam Clark, a City of Ottawa Code Enforcement Official. “With the extent of the damage and our limited resources, we’re very appreciative of the Strike Team coming together to help us determine which trees can be saved and which need to be removed.”
The City of Ottawa will receive a comprehensive report detailing the findings of the UFST. In exchange for receiving assistance from the Illinois UFST, Ottawa has committed to updating and building upon their current tree care and preservation ordinance by ensuring the following: maintaining a community arborist/forester position and appointing a tree manager to oversee their community tree program, establishing annual tree maintenance and tree planting programs, and completing a full community tree inventory every five to eight years.