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Monterey County has policies and codes that regulate removal of trees and native vegetation. Before removing or significantly pruning (more than 30%) any native tree or removing vegetation, please review the policies applicable for your area or contact the planner of the day (831-755-5025) for assistance to determine if a permit is required [link "Tree Removal Permit Form"].
Tree Removal. A permit is required to remove or significantly trim protected trees. Up to three trees may be handled administratively and more than that requires a Use Permit/Coastal Development Permit. A tree assessment (arborist) or forest management plan (forester) is generally required, unless:
Reports/Assessments will only be accepted by professionals on the County's approved list [link "Approved Arborist & Forester Consultants"]. Such assessment/report must meet the County standard [link "Tree Report Requirements"]. Companies preparing the report/assessment of trees on a property may not also remove the trees on that property. The County strongly recommends using only licensed and insured professional tree services for removing trees because of potential hazards and liability to the homeowner.
Fuel Management. While Monterey County encourages proper management of fire loads around homes, trimming trees and vegetation to reduce fire fuel loads may require a permit depending on the area and type of vegetation being impacted. Some minor trimming of vegetation is allowed without a County permit [link "Basic Fuel Management"]. Removing or trimming vegetation along a river or creek requires permits from the County and possibly State or Federal agencies. Clearing to the bare ground is strongly discouraged and not allowed in most cases due to possible erosion problems that may create. Erosion from improper removal of vegetation could result in liability to the homeowner.
In certain cases a biological assessment will be required to assure no protected species (plant or animal) is impacted. Biological reports/assessments may only be prepared by professionals on the County's approved list [link "Approved Biologist Consultant List"].
Oak Woodlands. State law requires protection of oak woodlands. The County has an existing oak protection ordinance [link "Oak Protection Ordinance"] and is working on new guidelines for a program to preserve oak woodlands [link "Oak Woodland Guidelines"].
For better understanding on processing Tree Removal Permits, please read the [link "County Tree Removal Permit Process"].
Video: Tree Assessment Workshop
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Video segments are listed below.