ATAG Supports Forestry and Natural Resources Commission Letters to Board

ATAG wants to share three important letters from the County’s Forestry and Natural Resources Commission to Arlington County Board Chair Matt de Ferranti dated June 28, 2021 requesting State legislative initiatives to encourage better preservation of forests and natural resources and funding of an updates tree canopy survey.

The first letter calls on the Board to lend its support to a number of legislative initiatives in the Commonwealth this year.  The letter, “Legislation to Protect and Enhance Arlington’s Valuable Tree Canopy and Natural Areas” asks the County to support efforts in Richmond to give local jurisdictions greater power in protecting tree canopy especially during development.  The letter also recommends that the Board support measures to expand funding at the statewide level for Chesapeake Bay restoration in both urban and rural areas; and that it weigh in to help deliver on the General Assembly’s recommendation for a working group to provide legislative options to promote tree canopies statewide.  The working group has a deadline of November 1, 2021.

The letter also includes additional specific recommendations for Arlington County in addition to engagements in Richmond including increasing tree canopy replacement coverage requirements during development or redevelopment of residential properties, increasing green roof projects, correcting imbalances in green space in lower income areas, and capturing the value of tree canopy in legislation, among other suggestions.

The second letter, “FNRC Budget Recommendations”, also dated June 28, 2021, recommends the County fully fund a new arborist for its Urban Forestry office, and that it allocate funds for a new tree canopy survey, following on the County’s 2016 Tree Canopy Survey. it points out the flaws in and time passed since the previous survey.

The third letter, “FNRC CIP Recommendations Nature Centers”, also dated June 28, 2021, asks the County to live up to its 2005 intent to acquire 30 acres of land by 2015 to keep up with population growth, to add funding for the Gulf Branch and Long Branch Nature Centers and to begin assigning value to our natural resources as part of our budget process.

ATAG fully supports these requests. We encourage you to do likewise by simply sending an email to countyboard@arlingtonva.us with your views or write to the Forestry and Natural Resources Commission to offer your support for their efforts.