Natural Resource Management/GIS Tree Mapping
Statement of Qualifications
Expert Consultants in Mapping, Monitoring, and Managing Your Natural Resources and Data with GIS
Our mission is to ensure expert advice every time, for every client, where service will always come first. We want to not only service our clients, but educate them as well, so that we may become an integral part of promoting a culture of knowledge in our business sector, the general public, and abroad. We will always maintain the highest level of communication with all of our clients, and respond to your needs as they arise, not as they suit our needs. Once you are our client, we will never choose our interests over yours. We know that the only way to large scale success is with continued small scale attention to detail, and we here at Graf are not only detail-oriented, but detail-obsessed! We aren't happy until you're happy, and will do everything within our power to ensure the most valuable and useful results in all of our consulting endeavors for you.
Graf Tree Care, Inc. was founded in 1999 by senior arborist Phil Graf. From humble beginnings as a 2 man tree trimming operation, Graf quickly began to expand their client base by adhering to their core values above. A relentless work ethic and friendly attitude soon made expansion a reality. In 2004, as the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) was beginning to become a reality in Michigan, Phil was already expanding into the Plant Health Care (PHC) sector, and learning from some of the most esteemed academics in the PHC field about how to beat this devastating pest and others. He has brought these academic approaches to the PHC department at Graf, and now, with the EAB assaulting us from all around, it is one of Graf Tree Care's primary goals to save Ash trees from this voracious insect. As the EAB spreads, the need to monitor where it is and how much damage is being done becomes greater by the hour. Having performed several GIS tree inventories in the past, and realizing how useful GIS can be in terms of asset management for our clients, Phil brought Steve Lane into the company to spearhead the Natural Resources division in 2009. With a B.S. from the University of Oregon in both Environmental Science and Geography, and nearly 10 years of professional experience, Steve has helped Phil forge an environmental consulting side of an already successful business. The Natural Resources division has already done many comprehensive GIS tree inventories, as well as hazard tree evaluations, and native restoration, and has the experience necessary to perform wetland delineations, natural resource studies, vegetative community mapping, as well as many other services. As of right now, we employ 11 people, with 4 certified arborists on staff and 2 trained GIS technicians, as well as our field team.
Phil Graf – President and CEO of Graf Tree Care Inc. Certified Arborist # IL-1553A, and a Licensed Illinois Pesticide Applicator. Phil has studied under academics from Michigan State University, and works closely with many Illinois regulatory agencies when it comes to the Emerald Ash Borer, one of the biggest threats facing our forests today. He is an EAB expert, specializes in all forms of climbing, and plant healthcare applications, as well as overseeing all aspects of the company's operations. Phil's hard work, dedication, and positive outlook are the reason why the business is what it is today.
Steve Lane - B.S. University of Oregon. Certified Arborist# IL-4565A, and also a Licensed Illinois Pesticide Applicator. Since graduating from the University of Oregon, Steve has been involved in all facets of the environmental sciences in northeastern Illinois. Native restoration, vegetative monitoring and mapping, GIS work, forestry surveys, wetland delineation, and municipal tree inventories are just a few of the things Steve has performed. He is familiar with many regulatory agencies, and is adept both in the field, and in preparing formal documentation. Steve works very closely with the Illinois Arborist Association, and is currently working towards his certification as a Certified Wetland Scientist (CWS).
Rick Catennacci – PHC coordinator, Lead restoration Technician, GIS technician. Certified Arborist #IL-4811A. As the head of our robust PHC program, Rick is an expert in plant pathology and treatment, with 10 years in the tree care industry. This year, Rick will become 1 of only 300 Board Certified Master Arborists in the United States. Ricks extensive field expertise is invaluable to our team, and he brings a solutions-based approach that allows us to work smarter, and not harder.
Chris Scott – Tree Operation Crew Leader. Certified Arborist #IL-2457A, Licensed Illinois Pesticide Applicator. With more than 22 years in the field of arboriculture, there are fewer people in Illinois with a broader knowledge base. Doubling as a crew lead and sales leader, Chris also leads natural resources field crews when necessary, and is a skilled field operative.
- GIS mapping
- GIS based tree inventory
- Fair Cash Value tree evaluations
- Vegetative community surveys and mapping
- Expert scientific witness
- Permit wrangling
- Native landscaping consultations and installations
- Wetland delineation services
- Hazard tree evaluations
- Plant Healthcare consultation and application
- Tree trimming and removal
- Emerald Ash Borer management planning
- Urban Forestry Management Planning
- Expert EAB preventative treatments
- Reforestation Planning
- Private Forest Management Consulting
Sample Project Experience
Village of Roselle / Roselle Park District Tree Inventory – March 2011-July 2011
Beginning in March of 2011, Graf Tree Care was awarded the contract to use GPS/GIS to inventory all of the trees on Roselle's village parkways, all trees within jurisdiction of the Park District, as well as all Village owned properties. Customized shapefiles were created and organized into a geodatabase framework, and data was collected using handheld GPS units. Once data was collected and subject to geospatial analysis, Graf created a comprehensive EAB management report. This report was used, in a very short time frame, to create cost-benefit options, decide on the most viable option with the city council, contract an EAB treatment company, contract out removal of all infested trees, set up a marshaling yard where infested trees could be processed, and provide a comprehensive reforestation plan with which the city could increase the overall species diversity on its parkways. In addition, a separate inventory report was created, in which the population-level dynamics of the urban forest were analyzed, and a plan created that over a 20 year period would leave Roselle's urban forest much more resilient in the event of a future pest or pathogen outbreak. In addition, we were able to service the Village at a moment's notice when it came to such things as attending emergency board meetings, providing testimony to the public, and providing advice whenever an issue arose.
Crete Parcel Tree Evaluation – July 2011
Having been contacted by a client who was facing an eminent domain case being brought by a local regulatory agency, Graf was contracted to perform an analysis of the fair cash value of the old growth Oak tree population on the client's 22 acre parcel. The parcel was going to be forcibly sold to the regulatory agency due to its high ecological value. We evaluated over 270 mature oak trees according the methodologies prescribed in the 9th ed. Guide to Plant Appraisal, and calculated the individual and total value of the mature Oak trees on his property. At a net calculated value of over $1.4 million, our client's legal team has praised our efforts continuously in helping them attempt to negotiate the value of the eminent domain settlement. In addition, we also performed a baseline vegetative study, and supplemented our report with an analysis of how ecologically valuable this land was. As a result of simple data collection and analysis, without bias or skew, we are hopeful that this endeavor will help the client get the just compensation that his parcel is deserving of.
City of West Chicago Ash Tree Inventory – Sept 2010-Dec 2010
In a multiphase project that began in 2009, first the West Chicago Park District, and then the City of West Chicago contracted Graf to perform a GIS inventory of all park and parkway trees, respectively. Preexisting geographic data was integrated into a custom designed geodatabase and collection shapefile, and new data was collected on handheld GPS units. Data was subject to geospatial analysis, and the results were detailed to the City in a comprehensive EAB management report. This report was utilized to create both a long term and short term strategy that will ultimately result in the saving of over 500 Ash trees in West Chicago parks and on City parkways. In addition, a unique emergent property of this project was that Graf, using geospatial analysis in GIS, was able identify specific nursery stock trees which were a primary cause of the infestation. By identifying and removing these trees, we helped significantly slow the spread of EAB through the Village.
Hanes Property Ecological Restoration – July 2009-Present
Our client contacted us concerning the overgrown buckthorn thicket of approximately 1.5 acres on her property, which she wanted to convert back to native vegetation. Graf began the process of clearing the woody invasive species in July of 2009, and was able to complete the removal, as well as bring in equipment to chip up the removed material in order to create a system of trails through what before was an unusable portion of the back yard. In addition, we have created a 5 year restoration and maintenance plan which includes prescribed burning, seeding with native species, and ongoing mowing, herbiciding, and hand-pulling of invasive species in order to keep this areas restored beauty until such time as it becomes a self-sustaining system. We are currently at the end of the 2nd year, and the property is much more functional and beautiful than it formerly was, in addition to providing bird and wildlife habitat.
Medinah Park District Tree Inventory – August 2011
Currently, we are in the middle of performing an Ash tree inventory and analysis for the Medinah Park District. Data is being gathered on GPS handheld units, and the results are being subject to geospatial analysis. This analysis will be detailed in a comprehensive EAB management report which will document a cost-benefit analysis of possibly treating trees versus the cost of removal of all Ash trees. A series of maps and the EAB management report will be created that will be made available to the Park District board of directors, so that they may determine what course of action they would like to take based on available budgets and existing data. A unique aspect of this project is that the Park District does not have in-house GIS, so we are converting files over to such formats as KML (Keyhole Markup Language), which can viewed in Google Earth, and relational database structures, so that the Park District can manage their data in-house without the need to purchase any proprietary software. In addition, should they decide to do so, we have also offered to provide rudimentary GIS training at no additional charge.
Glenview Park District Tree Inventory – July 2011
Graf has partnered with a leading engineering firm to not only perform tree inventory and analysis as detailed in the above projects, but also to aid in the Park District's up and coming conversion of CAD drawings to GIS, with the eventual goal of creating a GIS-based Master Plan. In addition to collecting baseline data on tree species and vigor, and providing management recommendations, we are actively examining the 32 parks in the system for areas that could be enhanced ecologically or aesthetically, and detailing this information in regular reports to the Park District.
Innisfree Subdivision – June 2006-Present
One of our best and longest standing clients is a real estate developer who owns a large luxury subdivision in St. Charles. Since having met his acquaintance in early 2006, he has relied on Graf exclusively for everything from a GIS tree inventory of the trees on his property all the way down to providing fertilizer and PHC products for his many acres of trees and open space. At current we have an open proposal to perform an ecological restoration on 5 acres of property adjacent to Randall road, as an enhancement to his existing woodlands, which looks as though it will begin in early January of 2012. This high profile restoration is one we hope will exhibit our strengths to the public.
Keynote Speakers at joint EAB symposium with Cowhey and Associates and Aquascape in February 2010
Workshop Speakers at Illinois Parks and Recreation Association (IPRA) annual conference 2011, 2 sessions:
1. EAB management with GIS
2. Hazard Tree Evaluation
Active committee members on Illinois Arborist Association
USACE Trained wetland delineators
Workshop Speakers at American Public Works Association (APWA) conference 2011
International Society of Arboriculture (ISA)
Illinois Arborist Association (IAA)
American Public Works Association (APWA)
Illinois Parks and Recreation Association (IPRA)
Midwest Institute of Park Executives (MIPE)
Illinois Association of Environmental Professionals (IAEP)
Illinois Soils Classifiers Association (ISCA)
Building on Success
As Graf Tree Care looks to the future of our Natural Resources division, we are actively seeking new clients and new partnerships with other entities in order to further showcase our team's abilities. Along with being the lead on many individual projects, we also believe in a team-based approach to any size project. Since, as the saying goes, "none of us is as good as all of us", we are finding more and more in today's business environment, the more services we can collectively offer our clients, the more they will seek our services both individually, and as a team.
With tremendous personal past experience, our team at Graf Tree Care is highly capable, and ready to serve your natural resources needs. As our business continues to grow and develop, we will always look to the future for opportunities of any size so we can prove to our clients and yours that our specialized services are second to none. We have all worked with homeowner, commercial, industrial, municipal, and all other manner of clients before, and would like to continue building on our successes in the future.
Please feel free to contact us to be your expert consultants in mapping, monitoring, and managing your natural resources, or if you wish to have us as part of your team for any project great or small. Our commitment to service and tireless work ethic are sure to make any venture a success!
Branching Out Newsletter
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There has never been a better time for root feeding for your trees. Last year’s drought certainly took its toll on our green friends. Nutrient uptake from the soil is directly related to soil moisture, because water is the vehicle that moves nutrients up the tree to the leaf where photosynthesis takes place.
Extreme heat and extended drought can also destroy natural beneficial organisms in the soil. Considering all this, this spring would be a great time for deep root feeding to keep your trees in best possible health. Read more…