The city of Hillsboro received the recognition for its work to plant and maintain trees.

The city of Hillsboro is being recognized for its work to protect the environment.

This month, the city of Hillsboro was formally named a Tree City USA, an award given by the Arbor Day Foundation to cities across the country for their work protecting trees.

The city received the award for its work planting, maintaining and preserving trees within city limits, which, in turn, encourages cleaner air, improved storm drain management, energy savings and increased property values, according to the city.

Receiving the award was a priority for the Hillsboro City Council in 2018. The designation requires cities across the country to meet several standards when caring for its trees. The city must set up a board or department tasked with caring for city trees, and spend at least $2 per capita on urban forestry — about $200,000 in Hillsboro's case.

Cities with Tree City USA status have, on average, cleaner air and improved storm water management systems, the city said. They see better energy savings and increased property values than other cities, as well as increased commercial activity.

To celebrate the achievement, a community event will be held on Arbor Day, April 22, with a ceremonial tree planting at Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve.

Last year, the city changed the regulations governing how property owners maintain and care for the city's trees and urban canopy, requiring property owners to trim or remove any tree limbs or other vegetation that extend into the public right of way, such as curb-side trees, or trees that overhang city streets.

The newly revamped regulations require property owners to also keep their trees in good health. The city will require property owners to obtain a free permit before planting or removing a tree from within the public right of way.

Previously, property owners needed to trim back trees that hang over roads. Trees needed to keep a clearance height of 13 feet, under old rules. City officials extended that height to 15 feet to "help reduce damage to large vehicles," such as garbage trucks, school buses and city vehicles, the city said.

The increased minimum street clearance height goes into effect in 2020.

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