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Landscape Improvements - Chinese Elm Removal


The NPS proposes to remove a large Chinese elm which impacts the interior walkway on the south center panel. Original analysis of the impact of this removal was based on the McPherson Square Cultural Landscape Inventory (CLI attached). The CLI identified this Chinese elm as an exotic species, intruding on the walkway, with an unknown date of origin. The elm was listed as non-contributing. New information reveals that this tree was present in 1930 when the park was redesigned to its current configuration (attached drawing and photo). As the elm grew, sections of the surrounding walkway were removed; though the walkway is currently buckled around the tree base (attached photo of Chinese elm). Based on the new information, the NPS considers the tree a contributing feature to the landscape.

To keep the Chinese elm in place, the walkway, and much of the surrounding landscape, would need to be re-graded, or the walkway reduced in size, to accommodate the root system. Extensive re-grading would impact the remaining trees in the outer panels of the park. These efforts would perhaps preserve the Chinese elm in the short term, but would render the existing walkway non-compliant with ADA standards and would be inconsistent with the historic smooth flat sidewalk layout. Through continued consultation between the NPS and the DC SHPO, it was agreed that the NPS remove the tree and replace the existing walkways in kind, maintaining the integrity of the park's ca. 1930 circulation plan.

As mitigation for removing the Chinese elm, the NPS will plant two additional red oak trees, a native species found in the park (attached planting plan). The NPS will update the McPherson Square CLI to include current documentation about the Chinese elm and the rehabilitation project. A Memorandum of Agreement between the NPS and the DC SHPO was executed on December 17, 2009 regarding this mitigation (attached).
 
Document Content:
Chinese_Elm_to_be_removedChinese_Elm_to_be_removed   (3.9 MB, PDF file)
McPherson_1930_imageMcPherson_1930_image   (408.9 KB, Image file)
McPherson_1930_drawingMcPherson_1930_drawing   (1.3 MB, PDF file)
McPherson_Proposed_RedOak_PlantingMcPherson_Proposed_RedOak_Planting   (442.5 KB, PDF file)
Agreement_DCSHPO_and_NPSAgreement_DCSHPO_and_NPS   (321.7 KB, PDF file)
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