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Study: Dying Trees In Stockton Is Making Temperatures Feel 3 Degrees Hotter

STOCKTON (CBS13) —There are so many dead and decaying trees in Stockton, new data shows it's making the temperatures feel up to three degrees hotter in parts of the city.

Stockton is in the middle a city-wide tree audit. rooted in finally solving this problem.

The clink of baseball bats at little league practice are the sounds of summer in Stockton. But on hot days, little league coach Stefan Garibay says playing on the baseball field is no dream. It's more like a nightmare.

"Well our trees have been dying," Garibay said. "Last year we had a girl pass out, while she was practicing for all-stars."

Dead trees surrounding this diamond have made some sweltering summer days unbearable.

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"Without trees, without shade, you're just playing in an open desert," Garibay said.

Stockton's tree trouble is now the subject of a city-wide audit. The study, still underway, shows neighborhoods in South Stockton have so few healthy trees, they are leaving some neighborhoods feeling hotter than others, by as many as three degrees.

Max Vargas is the Stockton mayor Michael Tubbs senior policy advisor.

As we all know, when we're at 107, and we hit 110 in one of our hottest summers, that's a big difference," Vargas said.

Stockton's trees have suffered not only from drought years but the city's bankruptcy years when there was no money for maintenance. The tree audit shows the neighborhoods in most need of new trees are in some of its lowest income communities.

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"Now that we have data, now that we have metrics that we can point to, how do we make it so that folks across Stockton, can have the better air quality, same temperatures even," Vargas said.

Last year, a donation of free trees was even turned away, because the city could not afford to care for them once they were planted.

The full tree audit is expected to be finished by the end of the summer and presented to the city council to decide what to do about the tree problem.

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