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Urban Forest Management Plan

Urban Forest Management Plan

Putting Down Roots for the Future

What is the urban forest? 

Ottawa's urban forest includes all trees and their habitat within the city's urban area boundary. This includes trees on both public and private property: along city streets; in parks, open spaces and natural areas; and in the yards and landscaped areas of residences, offices, institutions, and businesses. The urban forest is a shared resource that provides a wide range of benefits and services to the entire community.

Project Overview and Timeline

The City is developing an Urban Forest Management Plan (UFMP) for Ottawa. As one of City Council's Strategic Initiatives, the UFMP will provide a comprehensive and strategic approach to protecting, maintaining and enhancing the urban forest.

Many municipalities across North America have developed and implemented urban forest strategies to set long-term visions and objectives for their urban forests, along with specific actions to achieve them. The City of Ottawa has many policies, programs, initiatives, and regulations related to trees but is lacking a comprehensive, long-term vision and strategic direction for protecting and enhancing the urban forest.

Canada's capital city has an opportunity to become a leader in urban forest management reinforcing the value of its green assets.

The Urban Forest Management Plan project was launched in September 2015 and will be completed in spring 2017. The project will consist of two phases. The first phase will provide the public with an opportunity to discuss key issues and opportunities facing the city's urban forest and provide input to the vision and direction for the City of Ottawa's UFMP. The second phase will provide an opportunity for the public to input to the draft vision, objectives, and recommendations of the UFMP.

  • September 23, 2015: Project launch
  • November 24, 2015: Phase 1 consultation
  • January - August 2016: Development of draft UFMP
  • October 2016: Draft UFMP [PDF 3.52 MB] available online for public review
  • November 21-22, 2016: Phase 2 consultations on draft UFMP
  • Winter 2017: Development of final UFMP
  • June 2017: Final UFMP to Environment and Climate Protection Committee and Council meetings 

Draft Urban Forest Management Plan

The draft Urban Forest Management Plan [PDF 3.52 MB] was released in October 2016, in advance of the Phase 2 consultations. The feedback received through Phase 2 will be reviewed and carefully considered in the development of the final UFMP. 

Public Consultation

Phase 2

The Phase 2 consultations were held in November 2016 and focused on collecting public input on the objectives and recommendations of the draft Urban Forest Management Plan [PDF 3.52 MB]. Phase 2 included three public consultation sessions at Ottawa City Hall over two days, two sessions with the External Stakeholder group for the project, a session with City staff, and an online survey.  Over 200 people participated in the Phase 2 consultations; just over 120 people attended the sessions and close to 100 people completed the online survey or sent their feedback via email. 

In addition to the consultations and survey/email feedback, several interest groups made formal submissions on the draft UFMP. These interest groups include: Federation of Citizens Associations, Greater Ottawa Home Builders’ Association, Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg, Ottawa Stewardship Council, Tree Task Force, and Urban Core Community Associations

The draft UFMP was very well received by the public, the External Stakeholder group, and City staff. Attendees were highly engaged and the discussions were constructive and valuable. The survey responses show that 90 to 97 per cent of the respondents support the Vision and Objectives outlined in the draft UFMP and that the support for the 30 Recommendations outlined in the draft UFMP varies from 77 to 97 per cent. (Note: These statistics include respondents who answered “unsure”; if the “unsure” responses are removed the support of all aspects of the plan is 94 to 100 per cent.)

The key messages coming out of the Phase 2 consultations can be summarized as follows: 

  1. Ensure that adequate resources are allocated to implement the UFMP
  2. Increase activities planned for the first management period of the UFMP; there are items that are considered “quick wins” and these need to be done immediately
  3. Buy-in to the UFMP throughout the City is vital to the success of the UFMP
  4. The stewardship and outreach items outlined in the UFMP must happen in the first management period
  5. The City needs to commit clearly to increasing urban tree canopy
  6. The UFMP should better address the valuable role that fruit and nut trees play in Ottawa’s urban forest
  7. The role that green infrastructure can play in contributing to growing Ottawa’s urban forest should be better reflected within the UFMP
  8. Tree retention and urban infill is seen as a conflict in Ottawa; retaining existing trees in old neighbourhoods is fundamental to maintaining and increasing the urban tree canopy
  9. Ensure that the City is committed and able to enforce tree by-laws and policies
  10. The City should be more proactive with tree replacement within the road right-of-way

The consulting team and City staff have reviewed the feedback received through the Phase 2 consultations and it will be carefully considered and incorporated in the development of the final UFMP this spring. 

If you are interested in reviewing the flip chart notes from the consultations, the raw survey data, or the remaining formal submissions from interest groups, please forward your requests to: Martha Copestake, 613-580-2424, ext. 17922, martha.copestake@ottawa.ca

Phase 1

The Phase 1 public consultation for the Urban Forest Management Plan was held on Tuesday, November 24 from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. The consultation was very well attended; over 150 residents participated. Each participant received a Workbook and Survey [PDF 370 KB].

The session started with time to view Display Boards describing what the urban forest is and challenges faced by urban trees and forests.

  1. Welcome [PDF 154.05 KB]
  2. Study area [PDF 2.98 MB]
  3. What is the urban forest? [PDF 104.05 KB]
  4. Urban forest benefits [PDF 171.47 KB]
  5. The urban forest management plan [PDF 1.41 MB]
  6. Challenges to the urban forest 1 [PDF 1.75 MB]
  7. Challenges to the urban forest 2 [PDF 1.4 MB]
  8. Urban forest management strategies 1 [PDF 2.9 MB]
  9. Urban forest management strategies 2 [PDF 2.49 MB]
  10. Current initiatives 1 [PDF 5.77 MB]
  11. Current initiatives 2 [PDF 2.44 MB]

Participants gathered in Council Chambers to hear a presentation [PDF 2182 KB] on Urban Forest Management Planning and related key considerations.

The large group was divided into 7 breakout groups for facilitated discussion. The survey questions were used as the basis for the discussion. Each group collected their key points and reported these back to the full group at the end.

The Phase 1 Stakeholder Consultation Report [PDF 853 KB] summarizes the input received in the first round of public consultations and through the surveys submitted.

Launch 

The launch for an Urban Forest Management Plan for the City of Ottawa took place on September 23, 2015. More than 200 people attended this celebration. The event included: an expo of 17 different local tree and environmental organizations, an exhibit of essays and photos on urban trees assembled by Tree Fest Ottawa, and presentations about the importance of a long-term urban forest strategy by local Councillors as well as guest speakers Graham Saul from Ecology Ottawa and Philip van Wassenaer from Urban Forest Innovations Inc.

Contact person

For more information:

Martha Copestake
Planning, Infrastructure and Economic Development Department
Tel.: 613-580-2424, ext. 17922
Email: martha.copestake@ottawa.ca