Restoring a safe, healthy, and diverse habitat along Albany’s waterfront

The City doesn’t take tree removal lightly. We have an ongoing commitment to responsible management of our urban forest. In recognition, the City of Albany has received the Tree City USA designation from the National Arbor Day Foundation for the past 28 years. 

When complete, the Albany Waterfront Project will revitalize and reconnect the community to the river, attract visitors, improve public safety, and generate private investment in the form of business and jobs. It is the culmination of decades of planning and five years of design, engineering, and engagement by over 1,000 Albany community members.

Of the 870 trees surveyed by the project arborist, 84 will be removed due to poor health, safety conditions, and conflict with proposed improvements. They will be replaced by over 3,000 new plantings that will increase the number of native species, promote diversity of habitat, and add new shade canopy in the Water Avenue right-of-way.

During the design and engineering phase over 870 trees were evaluated by the Albany Waterfront Project arborist. The design team worked hard to protect valuable, healthy trees as much as possible, but 84 trees (less than 10% of the trees surveyed) are being removed. These trees are located throughout the entire project area including not just the park, but the riverbank and the 15 blocks along Water Avenue to Main Street as well. The arborist’s report identified these specific trees for removal because they are dead or dying due to disease or rot; create hazardous or unsafe conditions to pedestrians, vehicles, utilities, or existing structures; or in very few cases, conflict with the proposed improvements. Of the trees being removed, only 20 are rated in good condition and of those 20, only one is a native species to our area. 

Project area

The project will incorporate 3,000 new plantings in the project area. This includes 22 new trees planted in the park area, 23 new native trees planted for bank restoration along the river, and 25 new trees along the Water Avenue right-of-way, where there is currently little shade and even fewer trees. These new trees and plantings will help diversify the species, age, and condition of the overall habitat, while significantly increasing the total number of native trees. Natives, once established, require significantly less pruning and chemicals to maintain. Additionally, seven dead or defective trees will be retained, de-limbed, reduced in height, and left standing as snags to provide valuable wildlife habitat along the riverbank.

These improvements will help restore a safe, healthy, and diverse habitat along Albany’s waterfront for generations to come.