First Read

While some South Florida communities plant trees, others look to tear them down

From the daily First Read email.

As more South Florida communities focus on planting trees to beat the effects of urban heat islands, plans are afoot in Coral Springs to tear them down. The Coral Springs Improvement District is considering removing as many as 2,500 trees from the sides of canals in the area. The district is a utility-services provider to 39,000 residents, with a three-person elected board. 

Board members say they’re concerned that if a significant storm hits, trees could be knocked over and fall into the canal. That may block canals already swollen from heavy rains, causing flooding – something Broward County is now keenly aware of, though Coral Springs seemed to escape the worst of it. 

District spokesperson Mike Cobelo said a specific number of trees has not been determined but it could be even more – up to 5,000, along with other vegetation. During a recent district meeting at J.P. Taravella High School, some also mentioned concerns about birds and other wildlife being affected by tree removal. 

There’s been no study, however, on the impact tree removal would have on wildlife. Board president Dr. Martin Shank eventually recommended residents be allowed to form a panel to provide input and recommendations on the project as a whole. Monday night, the board OK’d a “Policy Advisory Committee” but hasn’t selected any members. 

– David Volz

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