Gas Leaks and Trees
Decades of scientific research have shown that trees are adversely affected by gas that escapes from pipes under our streets and infiltrates the soil around tree roots. As the Tree Warden for the Town of Wellesley, the Natural Resources Commission is working to protect our public shade trees – and our entire tree canopy – from the devastating and costly effects of dozens of persistent gas leaks throughout the town.
Since 2018, the Natural Resources Commission has participated in the Multi-Town Gas Leaks Initiative – an informal group led by representatives of HEET, Mothers Out Front, Metropolitan Area Planning Council, and municipalities (including Wellesley). The initiative was launched to explore how towns in National Grid territory could work together to accelerate progress on gas leaks.
A sub-group on gas leaks and trees is working to provide resources on this topic and to organize further advocacy. If you are interested in participating, please contact Brandon Schmitt, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Resources (more to come!):
- 5-28-2020 Webinar: “How Gas Leaks Affect Our Trees: The science, the signs, and what we can do” Discussion moderated by Arlington Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine, with expert panel and topics:
- Dr. Nathan Phillips, Boston University: "How do methane leaks affect trees?" Click here for slides.
- Bob Ackley, Gas Safety USA: "What does the impact of methane on trees look like in our towns?” Click here for slides.
- Brandon Schmitt, Director, Wellesley Natural Resources Commission: "How are some municipalities addressing this problem and what more needs to be done?" Click here for slides.
- Proposed protocol for municipal action regarding gas leaks affecting urban trees, created by Lilly Lombard in consultation with Bob Ackley and Tim LeCuivre
- Handout “Gas Leaks Kill Trees,” Gas Leaks Allies
- WBUR Radio program: "Dead and Dying Trees Have More Methane in Their Soil, Study Finds"
- Natural gas leaks and tree death: A first-look case-control study of urban trees in Chelsea, MA USA