Austin's environmental board says the city's comprehensive urban forestry plan is anything but comprehensive.
The plan will outline how the city maintains its trees and plants on public property.
"The urban forest is more than just publicly owned land," Marisa Perales with the Austin Environmental Board said.
Advocates have pushed for the idea since 1992, but work didn't get underway until 2011. The group drawing up the new guidelines say it will help keeps Austin’s tree canopy growing, especially during extreme droughts---but there is still not a lot of confidence in the plan.
"It is not very prominently stated that this is not that comprehensive, broad-scoped plan," Perales said.
Christopher Kite is the chair of the Austin Urban Forestry Board, the organization that has spent the last two years creating the guidelines. He said a city attorney told the board it only has the power to control how trees on city property are maintained.
"Could we include private property trees in here? I don't believe at this time,” Kite said. “Somebody could disagree with me legally."
Austin park leaders admit a decade of budget cuts have left their department barely able to function. Austin Environmental Board Chair Mary Gay Maxwell said the plan is a great first step toward making the plan truly comprehensive.
"We all are concerned about the urban forest,” Maxwell said. “You all are doing a great job for trying to nail down the part about the publicly owned lands. It's just a small piece of the pie."
The Austin City Council's expected to vote on the urban forestry plan next month. If it passes, the plan will take effect in December.