TOPSHAM — With a state Project Canopy grant in hand, the town is planning this year to conduct an inventory of its trees.

The Board of Selectmen on Jan. 3 unanimously accepted the funding, according to Rod Melanson, Topsham’s natural resource/assistant planner.

The program recently aided 21 projects in 19 communities with more than $100,000 in an effort to help community forestry endeavors, according to Maine’s Project Canopy Facebook page. A grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service Urban and Community Forestry Assistance Program funds the Project Canopy Assistance Program.

Project Canopy, which is administering federal program funds, is part of the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, Melanson said.

Topsham is using the funds to conduct a street tree inventory within the town’s growth area, covering parts of town like Main Street, Route 24, Route 196, Route 201, Topsham Fair Mall Road, and Winter, Bridge and Elm streets, Melanson said.

The town received $4,650, which it is matching with $800 and in-kind work, such as people doing tree inventories and the planning office covering mapping services, report writing and database managemt from the planning office.

The town’s tree warden, Kyle Rosenberg, with the help of the planning office, plans to coordinate volunteers and students to work with the Tree Committee on the project, which will create a new tree inventory database for the town.

“The database will help us … in our mapping,” Melanson said. “We’re going to have a … geographic information database (and will) have a report that will get into tree distribution,” with elements like condition, size, value, species and location.

The next piece of the project will be development of a management strategy, according to Melanson, who said it will ask “are we meeting the goals of having trees along our streets, and how do we take care of those better than we currently do? Basically, the inventory will help us plan better for trees that we have, and trees that we’ll be planting in the future.”

The town plans to conclude its reporting by early autumn.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

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