Corps to Remove Dead Trees on Private Property in New Orleans

The Army Corps of Engineers will begin removing dead trees and piles of debris on private property in hurricane-damaged areas of the city where homeowners request the free service, Mayor Ray Nagin’s office said.

Nagin’s office estimates that there are 1 million cubic yards of debris and 18,000 dead trees on private property in the city that can be removed before Dec. 31, when the Federal Emergency Management Agency will stop paying the entire cost of debris removal.

Residents wishing to have trees or debris removed from their property should complete an application and right-of-entry form on the city’s Web site at, or visit the Department of Safety and Permits offices at City Hall.

Dead trees will be removed only if property owners give explicit permission, spokesmen with the city and FEMA said.

The corps also will begin removing about 2,000 standing dead trees on city property by the end of November. FEMA agreed in September to classify all identified standing dead trees as storm debris that it would pay to remove. This was the first time FEMA had agreed to remove hazardous trees, the city said.

Dead, rotting trees can fall and damage property or injure people, and piles of rotting debris can attract rodents, Nagin’s office said.

Residents are not required to be at home to have debris removed.

Trees eligible for removal include those that were killed as a result of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and create an immediate threat to the owners or structures in “commonly used areas” of the property, which include areas surrounding a residence or any detached buildings, and along driveways or roads leading to the residence, according to guidelines provided by FEMA.

Stump removal and the removal of small trees and shrubs are not eligible, as they do not pose an immediate threat, the guidelines say.

The corps will also remove white goods, hazardous wastes, electronics and construction debris.

A FEMA assessor will evaluate debris before it is marked for pickup. Healthy trees will not be cut down, the agency said.

Information from: The Times-Picayune,