The city of Long Beach was named a Tree City USA yesterday by the National Arbor Day Foundation, an acknowledgment recognized – along with Arbor Day – by Mayor Bob Foster by raising the official Tree City USA flag in the Civic Center Plaza area.

“Long Beach is very proud to be named a Tree City USA in recognition for the more than 330,000 trees in city’s parks and urban forest,” said a Mayor Foster statement.  “Trees provide an aesthetic, environmental and economic benefit to our community, making it one of the best environmental investments we can make for our city.”

The city received the acknowledgment after reaching four criteria:

1) A Tree Advisory Committee made of residents representing all nine city council districts and the Mayor was created
2) Passed a city municipal code, a Tree Maintenance policy and is currently establishing an Urban Forest Master Plan
3) Established a Public Works Tree Care budget of $3.7 million
4) Observed Arbor Day with tree plantings

“Our quality of life improves each time a tree is planted,” said Mike Conway, Director of Public Works, in the statement.  “Trees help buffer noise, filter and clean storm water, reduce energy consumption from their canopies, and can increase property values.  Trees also help offset the City’s carbon footprint.  We are planting 64 new trees for Arbor Day this year and expect to plant a total of about 700 trees by the end of the year, most of which will be funded through the Green Trees for the Golden State grant.”