City Hopes Money Grows From Fallen Trees

Talk about making lemonade out of lemons. Hurricane Sandy toppled hundreds of trees throughout the metropolitan area, including many in the New York City-owned watersheds along reservoirs in Westchester County. Instead of discarding the downed trees or burning them, the city is selling them.

The City Record, the municipal government’s official publication, advertises the sale of about 474,000 board feet (1-foot-by-1-foot-by-1-inch) of Norway spruce softwood timber and another 5,000 board feet of yellow poplar after what is sanguinely described as a “salvage harvest” resulting from the storm.

The detritus is on four sites comprising about 45 acres in the Westchester towns of North Castle and Mount Pleasant off Nannyhagen Road, Route 120 and West Lake Drive, where Sandy toppled many trees.

The downed or damaged trees will be sold to the highest responsible bidder – presumably a lumber company that can cart them off without damaging the land or other flora in the watershed. No price estimate was given, but the average so-called stumpage price for similar saw timber can run about $100 per 1,000 board feet.

The National Association of Home Builders estimates that the average new home is constructed with 14,400 board feet of lumber and related materials.

Around the Kensico Reservoir, some of the downed trees towered 100 feet or more over the forest floor and were close enough to Nannyhagen Road that when they fell over they blocked traffic for days. Younger – and shorter — trees will be planted in their place.

The contract will be awarded to one company, which can then mill the lumber and sell it.

“Hurricane Sandy toppled countless trees throughout New York City’s watershed, including many at Kensico that were planted when the reservoir was built roughly a century ago,” Carter Strickland, the city’s environmental commissioner, said. “Removing and replacing these trees will improve public safety and aesthetics, while also protecting the quality of the city’s drinking water.”

Prospective bidders can contact Amanda Locke, the watershed forester, at (917) 642-6693 or [email protected]

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