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Debris Removal

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Curbside Tree Debris Collection Completed


  • Curbside debris pickup completed
  • Crews are collecting small number of remaining piles already reported
  • Remaining debris can be taken to Linn County Solid Waste
  • Need assistance? Contact Waypoint at 319-366-7999
  • Planting and ReLeaf Initiative underway
  • Stump grinding continues, crews remove stump and backfill at a later date
  • Backfilling holes left behind in the right-of-way continues

Cleanup Assistance
Property owners without the means to remove tree debris can reach out to Waypoint at 319-366-7999, who can help connect residents with available community services and volunteers. Debris remaining will be subject to the City’s nuisance abatement process.


Frequently Asked Questions


Why hasn't my elm or oak tree been trimmed?
Oak and elm trees are only trimmed in the fall and winter seasons to help prevent the spread of related diseases. If your elm or oak tree needs to be trimmed, please let us know and we will add it to our seasonal trimming list.


Can the City resolve concerns/issues with trees located on private property?
The City cannot touch private trees unless they are impeding on public surfaces such as sidewalks and streets. However, here are recommendations for addressing problems with a neighbor's tree:
  • Contact your insurance company to let them know of any damages incurred due to a neighbor's tree.
  • Contact a certified arborist and have them send a report to the neighbor that explains what is wrong with the tree and why it needs to be taken care of.
  • It is your right to trim any limbs from a neighbor's tree that hang into your yard. You can trim them back to the property line. Do not trespass on their property.


I've reported a pile, why wasn't it picked up?
There are a variety of reasons why a reported pile may not have been eligible for pickup, including:

  • The pile was too small to be collected by large equipment without causing damage. We ask residents to please utilize your Yardy cart for smaller piles
  • The tree pile had other debris mixed in, such as trash, fencing, etc., which cannot be taken to the tree debris haul site
  • The debris pile was located on private property, not within the public right-of-way
  • It was placed at the curb after a zone had already been cleared (check the map for the date each zone was cleared)
  • The debris pile is located outside of City limits 

Where Can I Take Tree Debris
Linn County residents can take tree debris and yard waste to the Cedar Rapids Linn County Solid Waste Agency.

  • Tree debris/yard-waste drop-off: $24/ton, $5 minimum charge
  • Hours of Operation: Monday – Friday, 8 am – 4 pm | Starting April 3: Saturdays, 8 am – 12 pm
  • Location: 2250 A Street SW (near Czech Village)
  • Contact information: https://www.solidwasteagency.org/ | Phone: 319-398-5163

Residents are reminded not to deposit tree debris on City of Cedar Rapids property, such as empty lots, parks, etc. This is considered illegal dumping, and is against municipal code.

How do I know when crews completed work in my area?

City staff reviewed and verified each zone to confirm when pickup was completed. Residents can find the date their zone was verified as cleared by clicking on the zone in the map above. 

Who is responsible for re-seeding in the right-of-way?
Property owners are responsible for re-seeding grass in the right-of-way. This includes re-seeding after large holes are back-filled by the City. Re-seeding by the City will only be done after a stump has been ground down.

Why did it take longer for crews to collect my root ball or uprooted stump?
Utility coordination was required on some hazardous root balls/uprooted stumps before crews could safely remove them. This was often done at a later date. 

Did the City collect tree debris from the alley?
Yes, collection included one pick-up through alleys.

Was the City charging residents to pick up tree debris at the curb?
No. Tree debris removal was done curb-side at no charge to residents. 

What can I do about my neighbor not cleaning up their private tree debris?
We understand that many residents are still seeking contractor availability and making arrangements to remove private tree debris, and that it will take some time before resources can be accessed by everyone. Long term, tree debris will not be permitted to permanently remain in residents’ yards. At this time, we are actively encouraging residents who need assistance with derecho clean up to reach out for available resources. Property owners without the means to remove tree debris from private property can reach out to Waypoint at 319-366-7999, who can help connect residents with available community services and volunteers. All residents can assist by helping share this information with their friends and neighbors. A timeline will be established at a later date, outlining when debris from private property needs to be removed. Debris remaining will be subject to the City’s nuisance abatement process.


What happens if something on my property was damaged by City crews or equipment as they were removing tree debris?

Minor property damage sustained during debris removal performed by the City or its contractors such as lawn or sod will need to be repaired by the property owner. Free compost and mulch are available while supplies last at the Linn County Solid Waste Agency. Root balls or uprooted stumps that left large holes in the right-of-way will be back-filled by the City’s contractor.

Private Property: You can report more significant private property damage sustained during debris removal performed by the City or its contractors (pavement or structural damage) to the City’s Risk Services Division: Phone: (319) 286-5125 | Email: J.Lynch@cedar-rapids.org | website.
Right-of-Way: The Public Works Department will be reaching out to property owners directly who sustained damage to driveway aprons or sidewalks in the right-of-way, either during the derecho or subsequent clean-up efforts. Property owners must report sidewalk damage to the City by August 10, 2022 in order to be considered for assistance with repairs. Contact the Sidewalks team at sidewalks@cedar-rapids.org or 319-286-5778 for more information.


Is the City addressing stumps left in the right-of-way after a tree removal?
Yes, stumps left behind in the right-of-way following the removal of a damaged street tree will be ground down by the City and re-seeded. This will be a multi-year process.

When will right-of-way stump grinding take place?
The process of grinding right-of-way stumps on a large scale is underway. This applies to stumps left behind after the removal of a street tree. The City requests that residents remove rocks, bricks, and stone planters, etc. from around the stumps as well as any ornamental plantings that the resident wants to keep.

How long will it take to address all right-of-way stumps?
Due to the volume of damaged street trees, this will be a multi-year process.

Can I remove the stump in my right-of-way at my own expense?
Right-of-way stumps can be removed, at the resident’s expense, by following the same process as replanting in the right-of-way. Complete an application for a permit. Stumps must be ground to 6-8 inches below grade. Trees planted in the same area will need to be moved 3-5 feet to one side or the other to avoid root systems from the tree that was removed. Property owners will need to grind the stump out completely to a depth of approximately 18-24 inches if they plan on re-planting in the exact same location.


What is the process for replanting in the right-of-way?
The City encourages replanting of right-of-way trees by residents, however, plantings must adhere to the following requirements. After the significant tree loss caused by the derecho, it is imperative that trees planted have the greatest potential for success.

  • Complete an application for a permit to plant in the right-of-way. The fee for the permit has been waived through 2021. The permit allows the City to include the tree on the tree inventory, and ensures that the resident understands the requirements of street tree planting.
  • Contact IOWA ONE-CALL at 1-800-292-8989 to locate underground utilities before doing any digging or removal of stumps.
  • Trees must be at least 1 inch in trunk diameter when measured 4.5 feet above grade. This typically equates to a 1.5 inch caliper tree. Trees provided through some community tree adoption programs will not meet this requirement. Tree size is required to make sure the tree will survive the challenging growing conditions of placement within the right-of-way.
  • Review the recommendations for tree species prior to selecting a tree. The use of trees native to Iowa and the Midwest is recommended wherever possible. Native trees are adapted to local growing conditions and ecosystems and often perform best over the long run. Exotic trees that exhibit invasive properties and are known to compete with native species should not be planted.
  • Review resources and videos for the best planting success.
  • Return the right-of-way to its original condition following planting.

Where can I find more information?
For information on replanting in the right-of-way, click HERE


Why do I see pickup crews working in other areas of town that are outside the "underway" zones on the map?
There is still ongoing derecho cleanup occurring throughout the community, including street tree removals and the pickup of debris that is left behind after a street tree has been removed. This activity is not illustrated on the map, and is not part of curbside collection. Crews conducting curbside collection will come through all areas of the community, and will be illustrated on the map. 

Why are tree trimming crews leaving debris piles behind?

Crews are trying to address hanging and potentially hazardous limbs before winter, when snow and ice can weigh down damaged limbs and increase fall risk. They need to move quickly in order to reach 40,000 street trees before winter, so they are trimming and leaving debris behind so they can quickly move on to the next tree. A crew will pick up the tree debris at a later date. Residents can assist by pushing tree debris to the curb for our crews to collect.

Why do crews keep returning multiple times to trim a street tree?
Crews may need to return to a street tree multiple times before the process is fully completed. Initially, crews focused on cutting only the most hazardous branches, moving quickly to the next tree in order to address the worst hazards throughout the city. Crews will then return to cut additional broken branches or address new breaks caused by wind or ice since the derecho. The contractor crews are focusing only on cutting hazardous limbs; City Forestry crews will also return to help make healthy, clean cuts that will support the longevity of the tree. Contractor crews are paid the same amount for work at the tree, whether they trim the tree once or multiple times.

Why are crews trimming branches off private trees?
Crews are trimming hazardous limbs from private trees if the limbs are hanging into the public right-of-way and have the potential to fall.

Why is the City working on clearing parks, when tree debris still needs to be picked up off public right-of-way?
Street-clearing resources are not being used to clear parks. Flannery Trucking LLC is the contractor overseeing the pickup of all curbside storm debris. A separate contractor, Boomerang, is working on clearing public parks.

Why is the City utilizing a contractor to pick up debris?
Contracted crews are working 10-12 hours a day, 7 days a week- which has allowed for most City crews to resume seasonal construction and complete maintenance projects before winter. The contractor vehicles are specifically equipped to haul large volumes of tree debris, and on average, can carry the equivalent of 5 standard city truck loads. Their vehicles are carrying approximately 150 cubic yards.

Why are some trucks only partially filled to capacity?
Trucks are not filled to full capacity to reduce the risk of debris falling out onto the roadway. All truckloads are being tracked with debris monitors, and the contractor is paid by volume (not by truckload).

Are you picking up debris on private roads or what should those homeowners do to ensure the debris is picked up?
Yes, but we need approval through the Homeowners Association to drive equipment onto private roads. Please email the name and contact information for the neighborhood’s HOA representative to developmentservices@cedar-rapids.org so we can facilitate this.

How is debris at mobile home parks getting picked up?
Properties owned and maintained by a commercial enterprise, such as mobile home parks, are typically insured for disaster-related costs. Debris pick-up will be undertaken by the property manager, not the City.

Can the City save the wood for refurnishing purposes, or allow residents to enter drop-off sites and take wood for personal use?
Residents can save wood for personal use such as refurnishing, firewood, etc., but will need to collect any wood they want to save from their property or their neighbor’s property, prior to it being picked up by crews. Once the wood is picked up, it will go to a drop-off site for mulching as well as appropriate FEMA documentation, and is not available for residents. For safety reasons, we cannot allow residents onto drop-off sites while work is underway where heavy machinery is operated and there are significant volumes of large truck traffic and debris piles.

Why isn't the National Guard being used for tree debris pickup?
We requested and received the support of the National Guard during the early days of our disaster recovery efforts, through Linn County Emergency Management and Iowa Homeland Security. The National Guard was deployed by Thursday, August 13 with the mission to clear critical infrastructure; they accompanied electrical utility workers with clearing debris for electrical power restoration. The equipment and vehicles used by the Guard are not conducive to long-term, large scale debris management; the City has subsequently contracted with a firm that specializes in large debris clean-up and hauling, and who are specifically equipped for this type of disaster recovery.

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