Letter: Confident that Eversource, neighbors can reach solution on Little Brook Road tree removal

Send letters to the editor to: Editor@DarienTimes.com

Send letters to the editor to: Editor@DarienTimes.com

Hearst Connecticut Media

To the Editor:

I am writing in response to Eversource's letter to The Darien Times about efforts to find a solution for the company's proposed tree removals on Little Brook Road, Selleck's Woods, Dunlop Wood's and the CT-DOT property that abuts the entire area. I am pleased conversations focusing on the importance of a safe and reliable electric grid have evolved to include planning for rehabilitation work and effective long-term stewardship of our trees and the environment.

As of July 2, 63 mature trees along Little Brook Road are tagged for removal and approximately 10 for trimming. Eversource will be requesting the removal of an unknown number of trees on the Selleck's and Dunlop Woods nature preserve. Tree removal and pruning on the CT-DOT property began on June 23 under an emergency authorization from arcing noticed on June 16.

No one wants a tree to remain if it is a hazard to life or the electric grid's reliability. Ultimately, the power to decide which trees are cut down is up to the Darien Tree Warden. It is why our collaboration with your company and developing a meaningful restoration and replanting plan are important.

The trees on Little Brook Road and throughout the area under discussion provide shade and have created a bucolic corridor for wildlife and pedestrians from all over Darien. The road is popular with runners, cyclists, walkers and families — and it is an entrance to the Selleck's and Dunlop Woods nature preserve.

Trees provide natural capital in other ways as well. Consider what it would cost if we had to set a price to replace the work that the 63 trees currently tagged for removal are already doing. These trees help mitigate flooding, prevent soil erosion, sequester carbon, provide habitats and food for wildlife, cool the street, produce oxygen, filter groundwater, purify air and absorb noise pollution.

As climate change has made severe storms more common, it is now up to all of us to figure out what is best for the electric grid, the community and the planet. Deforestation activity worldwide is a recognized factor contributing to human-caused climate change. It's not an exaggeration to say that without a solid and thorough plan to remediate the area, the proposed "maintenance" removal of trees along the Little Brook Road corridor will have an immediate and devastating impact on the "microenvironment" there.

Your recent comment that "this is an opportunity to support the reclamation of habitat diversity using native species that support the return of wildlife…" is encouraging, so I am confident we will come up with a solution and look forward to working with Eversource in the coming weeks and months.

Natalie Tallis