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Group Seeks To Raise Awareness On Protecting Jacksonville's Trees

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James Willamor
/
Wikimedia Commons
Jacksonville's Treaty Oak on the Southbank is perhaps the city's most famous tree. It's estimated to be about 250-years-old, according to Wikipedia.

A new interactive website launched Monday that lets Jacksonville residents see what’s happening with the area’s tree canopy.

The group Jax Digs Trees describes itself as a collaborative community initiative that gives people a way to support and protect the area’s trees.

The website’s features include a survey of Jacksonville’s urban forest as well as an accounting of the city’s tree mitigation fund which, according to the group, has grown to around 20-million dollars.

Related: Explore the jaxdigstrees.org website

The fund provides money to plant trees on public land as a replacement for trees removed by private developers.

Jax Digs Trees is opposing House Bill 521 and Senate Bill 574, which the group says "would devastate Jacksonville's tree canopy."

The identical state bills introduced by Plantation Democratic Rep. Katie Edwards (D-Plantation), and Sen. Greg Steube (R-Sarasota), say local governments wouldn’t be allowed to prohibit landowners from trimming or removing trees on their own property. Local governments also couldn’t require landowners to plant new trees or pay fees for removing trees.

Certain trees in Jacksonville are currently protected (see the city charter here) from improper trimming or removal.

Bill Bortzfield can be reached at bbortzfield@wjct.org, 904-358-6349 or on Twitter at @BortzInJax.