UF Film Crew Recognizes Cedar Key Heritage Tree Inventory

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By Lindsay Edmunds

A film crew from the University of Florida came to Cedar Key Tuesday morning to document the success of the Cedar Key Heritage Tree Inventory, a project being recognized for its interagency cooperation.  Several agencies were involved in the tree inventory project: UF IFAS Extension Levy County, the Florida Division of Forestry-Levy County Forester, the Suwanee River Water Management District, the City of Cedar Key, the Cedar Key Community Redevolopment Agency, Cedar Key Public Works, Cedar Key Water and Sewer District, as well as countless volunteers.  The film crew will use the footage to demonstrate to the state how these agencies worked together harmoniously to complete the project.  The Cedar Key Heritage Tree Inventory is one of approximately four projects being showcased across the state.

The tree inventory project was designed to show the impact of the road resurfacing project upon Cedar Key’s 163 heritage trees by providing both subjective and objective data.  In order to obtain this data, a team of volunteers, led by Luz Kraujalis, donated over 2,000 volunteer hours.  The volunteers were trained primarily by Sara Creel, a Levy County Forester, who used her technical expertise and knowledge to help in data collection. 

First, the team used a GPS to mark the location of the tree.  Paul Buchanan, a member of the Suwanee River Water Management District, used GIS instrumentation to map the trees.  Then each tree was given a unique identification number and was tagged accordingly.  Subsequently, the volunteers gathered subjective data regarding each tree--they estimated the percent canopy, the rate of stability on a scale of one to four, and took note of any other important factors.  Objective data was gathered as well, which mainly consisted of taking several measurements of each tree.  Along with the data collected, the volunteers also included a photo of each tree. 

Using the data recorded by the volunteers, Anthony Drew designed and wrote a database for the project.  Using this database, one can view an interactive map of Cedar Key, where each heritage tree is marked by a dot.  By clicking on a dot, one can view a picture of the tree, as well as a table of information specific to that tree.  Included in the table is the tree’s grade, which is noted on a scale of A through D, and was determined by the data gathered by the volunteers. 

This program was designed to help identify, protect and preserve the heritage trees during the planned resurfacing project.  To do this, the program will serve as an informational tool for workers to use when determining the costs and benefits of action taken regarding the trees during the streets and utilities program.