City of Chico mistakenly removes 27 oak trees near nature center


    The City of Chico acknowledged that crews mistakenly removed 27 oak trees near the Chico Creek Nature Center on East 8th Street.

    "It went further than expected," said Erik Gustafson, the public works director for the city.

    "The original intent had a lot of merit, to remove the dead wood and fuels that were there," said Gustafson.

    The original plan was for crews with the Salt Creek inmate program to remove approximately a dozen Catalpa trees near the nature center's main building.

    The work was overseen by city crews and Cal Fire.

    "I think once crews got in there they found more material that needed to be removed and at that point they probably should have stopped and connected with us to make sure the path forward was exactly what everybody wanted," Gustafson said.

    Robin McCollum with Chico Tree Advocates said the area is a preserve of nature that was provided by Annie Bidwel nearly 100 years ago.

    "I'm very concerned about the park and nature," he said.

    "If this type of supervision is going to be the norm here then we're going to have a lot of destruction done to the park," McCollum said.

    Gustafson said the mistake has already been addressed.

    "We made a lot of those corrections internally to make sure our contracting partners are aware of the expected scope and know exactly what to do," Gustafson said.

    The city added that an aggressive replanting process with native species such as Valley Oak trees will begin soon.

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