Deputy Supervisor's Note: Why are vegetation management and stream cleaning projects necessary?
I’m sure you know from seeing our trucks out on various jobs around Town, the Penfield Department of Public Works has a range of responsibilities.

Two jobs, vegetation management and stream cleaning, are critical in keeping our community safe and maintaining infrastructure. However, this important work can often raise questions from residents. For this reason, I thought it would be helpful to outline why we complete the work.

Being responsible stewards of land and infrastructure

Much like any property owner in our community, it’s our responsibility to maintain our land and infrastructure. This work can often include brush and tree removal, and the cleaning of streams.

It’s important to remember, the Town does not complete maintenance projects on private property. When you see work being done, it’s on Town land, in the right-of-way or in an easement. In the event private property may be used to access a work site, Town representatives will make efforts to communicate with the owner(s) of the property.

Vegetation management

Vegetation management is exactly what it sounds like, removal and maintenance of trees, brush, weeds, and grasses.

Now, you might be thinking, what’s the purpose of vegetation management in Penfield? The proactive process is regularly completed to make sure infrastructure like street signs, lighting, and fire hydrants are clear and accessible, and roadways are safe. When doing this, we adhere to guidelines much like those followed by the New York State Department of Transportation and area utility companies.

Reasons for vegetation management include:
  • To provide adequate site lines and visibility of signs/guardrails on roadways
  • To remove dead/dying/diseased or otherwise hazardous trees which may be a danger to life and/or property
  • To remove vegetation growth which can result in drainage issues
  • To ensure vegetation does not interfere with infrastructure
  • To control and prevent the spread of invasive species
  • To foster habitat for pollinators and other wildlife in appropriate locations
When completing work, we do our best to make sure healthy trees and vegetation not interfering with the assigned project remains.

Stream Cleaning

The Town also maintains several streams and retention ponds. Stream cleaning projects and pond maintenance allow us to reduce flood risks and keep our waters clean.

The Town of Penfield falls within several watersheds, and the Town’s stormwater ultimately discharges into Irondequoit Bay and Lake Ontario. This means anything dumped into storm sewers and streams within the Town ends up in the waters of the bay and lake. As a result, our work is crucial to maintaining water quality for not only Penfield but the Rochester region.

Projects are completed in coordination with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the Town’s Watershed Management Committee. This type of work is typically done for the following reasons:
  • To remove blockages (trees, brush, debris)
  • To stabilize banks
  • To improve and correct flow patterns
  • To allow for current and future access and maintenance
Keep up with DPW projects on our website

Upcoming Penfield DPW project information is available and regularly updated on the Town of Penfield website at For specific questions on DPW projects, call (585) 340-8710.

As always, feel free to reach out if you have any questions.

Debbie Drawe, Deputy Supervisor