Plan to replace dead, drought-stricken trees in Balboa Park speeds up

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - California's historic drought may be over, but it left thousands of dead trees in its wake.

Many of them are languishing at Balboa Park. But a plan to give the park a fresh start is gaining steam.

"We've lost a lot of trees, you can see many many stumps here," said Tomas Herrera-Mishler, who runs the Balboa Park Conservancy

Now, a plan to give the park a fresh start is gaining steam. The drought weakened the trees, opening the door for insects like the bark beetle to take them down.

But the drought's over, and Herrera-Mishler has new hope.

In July, the conservancy got a $700,000 grant from Calfire and the city to plant 500 new trees to help replace the dead ones.

One problem - the goal is to have them up within two years - but right now, only city workers can plant them. So far, the park has just 50 new trees since the summer. 

Now, the city is on the verge of approving local nonprofit urban corps to step in to plant and maintain the trees.

"Trees are a really important part of how humans enjoy life," Herrera-Mishler said. 

So the next time you come to Balboa Park - the spot that this dead oak tree now occupies, may show new signs of life.

Herrera-Mishler said a tree mapping app called Open Tree Map will be updated with the new species and more information about them. Also, the city of San Diego will plant a tree for free in a public right of way near your home, if the location you suggest qualifies

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