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Posted February 13, 2018

Long Beach Park's trees are in trouble.

That's the opinion of new Maintenance Supervisor Kelly Parkins of the Parks, Recreation and Marine Department. The culprit, she said, is four years of drought. "We're supposed to get 12 inches, and we've had an average of 4 to 6 inches for the past four years," Parkins said. "That's about 30 inches lost. We've practically drained those 2 feet deep that the trees depend on." Steve Scott, the department's interim director, said the department watered as much as he could while continuing fulfilling the spirit of the current water restriction of the city of two days a week and no more than 15 minutes of irrigation per season. Parts of the city's parks systems are irrigated with recycled water, so technically they are not subject to irrigation restrictions, but Scott said the Department is trying to be uniform in all areas.

"No (the problem facing trees) is actually about watering," Scott said. In response to the drought, Gov. Jerry Brown has banned "ornamental" irrigation of gardens on the medians of the rainforest. streets throughout the state. That means lawn. Scott said a request for offers to replace the lawn with drought tolerant plants has come out, with the addition of drip irrigation to the trees in the ditches.

Drip irrigation, which would put water directly around of the roots of the trees, may also be the answer elsewhere. Parkins says she is doing a study on how parks are used, with a view to changing irrigation methods.

Scott added that the same process will be used to determine where the Department can turn lawns into drought tolerant gardens.

"We are really happy to have Kelly on board," Scott said. "It offers a new perspective. Conclusion, we want to make the most of the water we have."

Water use has been a permanent problem for the Parks Department, with an excess budget of up to $ 1 million in recent years. Last year, the City recognized this issue with a one-time expenditure of approximately $ 1 million to go towards updating irrigation systems (and about $ 400,000 to pay the water bill). Scott said work should start this year on the city's oldest watering system, the Heartwell Park along Carson Street.

Your budget is a mirror of last year - without the $ 1 million in cash at one time. There is an increase of just over $ 90,000 to cover the higher cost of water rates.

But the maintenance budget remains the same, Scott said. Gardening contracts have money in place for minor repairs, but large works are usually on the Capital Improvement budget, with work done primarily through the Department of Public Works.

There is almost $ 30 million projects in the Capital Improvement budget, but most projects will take several years to complete. A very visible project is the renovation of the duck pond area in the west of El Dorado Park, near Studebaker Street.