Tree Report of River Arts District, RADTIP U-5019 Project

Here is a tree report of one section of the River Arts District RADTIP project area:

(Click here to download report)

To whom it may concern:

My name is Royce Clay, owner of Royce’s Tree Service in Asheville, NC. I am a Certified Arborist through the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), and have been for about ten years. Between 2004­2012 I was the arborist crew leader at the Biltmore Estate, where I learned from some of the best mentors in the industry.

On February 23, 2016, I was hired by Mari and Chris Peterson to survey the riverbank trees on the property they own behind 12 Bones restaurant, and those on the riverbank at the Jean Webb park.

This report details the tree species composition and approximate age on the land at 5 Riverside Drive, near 12 Bones restaurant, stretching from the “Gennett Lumber” billboard seen along Riverside Drive to the Craven Street Bridge. Here is a short video showing some of the trees:­upload_owner

I spent about an hour walking the riverbank and tallying the diameter inches of each tree species I found. Below is a table showing my findings:

Scientific tree name Common tree name Total diameter inches

Scientific tree name Common tree name Total diameter inches


To understand a little more about the table above, per­tree diameter inches are calculated at “breast height”, or DBH. To put these numbers more into perspective, a 24” dbh tree would be considered large by most. A 24” tree would be difficult to hug ­your fingers wouldn’t touch. In short, there are a lot of trees, and a lot of diameter inches of trees, along this property. Dead trees were included in the above table because they often provide perches for birds of prey, and other wildlife habitat benefits.

Figure 1. Even dead trees provide necessary riverside habitat.

Figure 2. A sycamore tree showing awesome root structure and streamside retention

Why are all of these trees important to the river, and thus, Asheville itself?

Trees along rivers make up riparian buffer zones. From Wikipedia: A riparian buffer​is a vegetated area (a "buffer​strip") near a stream, usually forested, which helps shade and partially protect a stream from the impact of adjacent land uses. It plays a key role in increasing water quality in associated streams, rivers, and lakes, thus providing environmental benefits.

Riparian buffer areas slow the effects of erosion. They keep the inevitable erosion of streambanks to a minimum. These buffer areas also provide shade for the river, providing fish and wildlife habitat. These areas also slow the runoff from major precipitation events, decreasing the chance for flooding downstream. The benefits of these areas are numerous and well­ known. Trees in these areas should not be cut unless absolutely necessary.

Removing the trees from riparian areas can have devastating effects on the land from which they were removed, as well as downstream. Banks erode, sediment and soil go downstream, water temperatures rise, wildlife suffers. The list of negative effects is long and difficult to remediate. Replanting is a nice way to get a riverbank to stop eroding, but a better, more efficient and cost­effective way is to not cut the trees down in the first place. Keep those trees that anchor the river bank free from compaction and construction damage as well. In other words, treat the trees as the priceless (and price­less) structural workhorses they are. Stands like these, with trees from 50­ - 100 years old, take exactly that long to replace.

(Click here to download report)

If you are concerned about the potential of important trees being cut down and the environmental impact of this project, contact your Asheville City Council (emails listed below):

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