Your Invitation: Second Public Collaborative to Preserve Arlington’s Tree Canopy sponsored by the Arlington County Civic Federation – May 22nd

Please join us on May 22 at 9:30 am – 12:00 noon to begin Phase II of our collaborative. Click here to register.

Welcoming all stakeholders from all perspectives -environmentalists, business, development, real estate, commercial, residents, conservation groups, students, etc.

With your help and participation, we have a great opportunity to “move the needle” on tree preservation in the County.  On May 22nd, we will be kicking off Phase II of our Public Collaboratives with a larger virtual meeting. We will briefly review the results of the Phase I scoping study showing the many ways citizens are concerned about what’s happening to our tree canopy. We will then move to breakout team rooms to begin work on strategies for mitigating the key causes of tree loss in our County. The breakout rooms will address:

  • Improving County management of our urban forest
  • Financial and other resourcing for tree programs and activities
  • Incentives for developers to preserve trees
  • Zoning affecting tree preservation
  • Enhancing enforcement under current regulations
  • Correcting current inequities in the tree canopy

Each team will start with a draft mission statement and a facilitative leader. Each team’s findings will be compiled and reported back to the Arlington County Civic Federation (ACCF) members.

After this Phase 2 meeting, if individuals on the teams decide to do so, they may continue to work to further develop proposed solutions to be presented to the ACCF. Solutions endorsed by the ACCF will be submitted to the County Board and Manager for implementation.

Please volunteer to participate in this important exercise to develop constructive options for the future and build consensus. Also, please share this invitation with others who are interested or have expertise to participate.

For more information, feel free to contact me Mary Glass (environmental.affairs.chair@civfed.org)  or Eric Ackerman (thurstonackerman@gmail.com).

Thank you!

17-year Cicada Alert – Act Now to Save Your Trees

According to the Virginia Cooperative Extension Service, 17-year cicadas will start to emerge from the ground around May 1st and damage many species of ornamental and hardwood trees. Oaks are commonly attacked, but the most seriously damaged plants are newly-planted fruit and ornamental trees such as apple, dogwood, peach, hickory, cherry, and pear. Pines and other conifers are not commonly attacked, and sometimes non-woody plants will have adult cicadas on them.

Newly-planted trees can be covered with fine netting to protect the small tender twigs from egg-laying females. Secure the netting around the trunk to stop the cicadas from climbing up into the tree canopy. Remove the netting at the end of June when the adult periodical cicadas have died. Remove and destroy any flagged, damaged twigs where female cicadas have laid their eggs within 6 weeks, before the nymphs hatch and drop to the ground and get established on the roots of that tree.

For the full story, go to this VCES site.

Tomorrow – Don’t miss! National Expert on the Value of the Arlington’s Tree Canopy!

On Tuesday March 16th, the Arlington County Civic Federation (ACCF) is hosting an important presentation for its members on the irreplaceable value of Arlington’s tree canopy.  The meeting is also open and free to the public with prior registration at this site by noon tomorrow. At 7pm, the meeting will begin with Senator Mark Warner who will speak and answer questions. At 8:20 pm, Karen Firehock will present remarks on the value of tree canopy in Arlington.

Ms. Firehock, Director of the Green Infrastructure Center in Richmond, will outline numerous benefits from trees including property value, fitness opportunities, clean air, well-being and mental health, less crime, job development and preservation, attractive areas for development, commercial, historic preservation, and energy conservation. The author of numerous handbooks, including her latest publication Green Infrastructure: Map and Plan the Natural World With GIS, Ms. Firehock was recently recognized as a national leader in Green Infrastructure Planning in the ESRI book, Women in GIS.

The Environmental Affairs Committee will also present a brief summary of the findings and plans for the future based on the Public Collaborative on Tree Preservation In Arlington conducted in three sessions in November and December 2020 with a wide range of stakeholders. The Committee will offer a revised resolution urging the County Board and Manager to immediately provide the funding required for green infrastructure data collection ( tree canopy studies), integration into County GIS systems, and implementation in management systems to enhance operational efficiency and planning for natural resources in Arlington. This will provide a scientific basis for setting goals in the Forest and Natural Resources Plan currently under revision and establish metrics on accountability for reaching its goals.

Take Action by May 3rd – Chesapeake Bay Foundation Email Supporting Tree Preservation

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) is mounting a very important campaign that would benefit tree preservation in the County, especially for stormwater control during development and in Resource Protections Areas designated along all of Arlington’s streams. The CBF has provided a model email that you can send to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) demanding stronger regulations across the State that give Arlington and other counties more authority to preserve trees. To learn more, send an email, and/or get updates on these regulations go to this site. Please participate right away and share this site with as many other advocates as possible. This is a way to implement the call to action in the February 12th post on this site explaining the Regulation Process.

The CBF’s email includes powerful wording that targets tree and vegetation protections:

“I request that the regulations do more to promote the use of trees for water quality and other natural resources benefits. Trees enable water to infiltrate into the soil, reducing localized flooding. They capture stormwater runoff, improving water quality. They also stabilize steep-slope shorelines, reducing erosion and loss of property. Therefore, DEQ should revise its proposal to include an outright prohibition on the removal of mature trees within the RPA for sight lines or vistas. In addition, please allow localities to incentivize the preservation of trees and provide them the authority to enforce tree preservation provisions.”

The CBF provides additional information below:

The Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act, known as the “Bay Act” and overseen by the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), recognizes that local governments have the primary responsibility for land use planning and development decisions that have a direct impact on water quality. Sea levels are rising, and local governments will need to update their Bay Act ordinances to adapt to rising waters. Join us in urging DEQ to include strong, nature-based solutions in the proposed regulatory amendments to the Bay Act.
It’s paramount that the new regulations on coastal resilience and adaptation to sea-level rise and climate change reflect the original intent of the Bay Act to protect water quality. We need to ensure that nature-based solutions—including maintaining vegetated buffers and building living shorelines—are prioritized in the updated Bay Act regulations. These solutions help protect property from storm surges and recurrent flooding while also providing habitat and improving the health of the Chesapeake Bay.
This is the first update to the Bay Act in many years, and it’s critical that Virginia get it right. Join us in speaking up for stronger Bay Act regulations before the May 3 public comment deadline.

Public Comment Opportunity – Trees and New Chesapeake Bay Regulations

TAKE ACTION – Respond to Washington Post Article & defend Arlington’s Trees

The article Neighbors mount effort to defend Arlington’s trees from development” shows Northern Virginia residents asking that our dwindling tree canopy be rescued from uncontrolled development. According to South Arlington resident Frederick Craddock, “The trees are in danger.” “When I press the people at Arlington County, they say, ‘Well, we do protect trees on public land, but homeowners are left to their own devices.’ ” Glen Carlyn residents, equally distraught at neighborhood tree loss, have attempted to contact developers directly with no response.

TAKE ACTION Some comments on this article at the Washington Post site fail to recognize the many benefits from trees that are being lost. Make your voice heard and advocate for the facts about our dependence on the remaining trees. To comment, go to the article and click on the chat box in the upper left side of the page.

How to Kill a Tree or Save it – Webinar

Southeast Virginia Urban Forestry Roundtable “How to Kill a Tree”

Join us for the VIRTUAL Southeast Virginia Urban Forestry Roundtable

March 11, 2021 – 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Register online here! 

There is no fee for this event

After you register you will receive the Zoom link in your confirmation Email

Please retain this Email to join the webinar on March 11 

Agenda

9:00 – 9:10 Welcome and Introductions

Laurie Fox and Susan French, SEVA co-chairs

9:10-10:30 Common Abiotic Disorders of Urban Trees Expert Panel                                             

Susan French – City of Virginia Beach

Steven Traylor – City of Norfolk

Aaron Laurin – City of Newport News

10:30 – 10:45 Break

10:45 – 11:15 How to Kill a Tree Poster – History and New Edition                                             

Lara Johnson – Virginia Dept. of Forestry

11:15 – 12:00 Favorite Tree Resources Show and Tell

Laurie Fox – Virginia Tech Hampton Roads AREC

Lara Johnson – Virginia Dept. of Forestry

 

Questions? Contact  Susan French, 757-385-4076, sfrench@vbgov.com or  Laurie Fox, 757-363-3807, ljfox@vt.edu

Public Comment Opportunity – Trees and New Chesapeake Bay Regulations

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has published proposed amendment to the current Chesapeake Bay Preservation regulations that guide local governments in implementing the program. You can find a good summary of the amendment here. You can make comments until May 3rd. See details below.

The amendment provides clarity and specifics for local governments who are responsible for implementing the program. It also ensures that projects and development under the  properly consider climate change impacts while also allowing these activities. This permits individuals to undertake these activities to address these impacts. Trees could become important tools under these changes if properly drafted.

HOW TO COMMENT:

You can find the full text of the amendment here. The following are the directions for making your comments to DEQ.

“In addition to any other comments, the State Water Control Board is seeking comments on the costs and benefits of the proposal, the potential impacts of this regulatory proposal and any impacts of the regulation on farm and forest land preservation. The agency/board is also seeking information on impacts on small businesses as defined in § 2.2-4007.1 of the Code of Virginia.

Information may include 1) projected reporting, recordkeeping and other administrative costs, 2) probable effect of the regulation on affected small businesses, and 3) description of less intrusive or costly alternative methods of achieving the purpose of the regulation. Anyone wishing to submit written comments for the public comment file may do so by mail, email or fax to Justin Williams, VA Department of Environmental Quality, P.O. Box 1105, Richmond, VA 23218; Phone: 804-698-4195; Fax: 804-698-4116; Email: Justin.Williams@deq.virginia.gov.

Comments may also be submitted through the Public Forum feature of the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall web site at (http://www.townhall.virginia.gov). Written comments must include the name and address of the commenter. In order to be considered, comments must be received by 11:59 pm on the last day of the public comment period.

Additionally, anyone wishing to participate in a Stakeholder Advisory Group (SAG) to discuss the proposed regulation, please notify interest to Justin Williams, VA Department of Environmental Quality, P.O. Box 1105, Richmond, VA 23218; Phone: 804-698-4195; Fax: 804-698-4116; Email: Justin.Williams@deq.virginia.gov by March 15, 2021. Interested persons should provide their name, address, phone number, email address and the organization you represent (if any). The SAG will likely meet May 13th or 14th and selected interested person should be available for meeting on those dates.

The Bay Act: Current, Past, and Future Webinar – Tues. 2/16/21 6:30pm

Chesapeake Bay Foundation Webinar

The Bay Act: Current, Past, and Future
Tuesday, February 16th ~ 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM

The Foundation is sponsoring this webinar to inform citizens about Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act, enacted more than 30 years ago, was designed to curb nutrient and sediment pollution to the Chesapeake Bay through sound land-use practices that minimize the disturbance and development of environmentally-sensitive coastal areas.

Proposed new regulations under the Bay Act are being fleshed out right now to encourage and promote the preservation and planting of trees, as well as adaptation to sea-level rise and climate change impacts.

Listen to their panel of experts to learn more about the history and future of the Bay Act, and how you can support further shoreline protection and improved water quality. Registration is required. Find out more here.

Speakers include:

  • Jay Ford, Virginia Policy and Grassroots Advisor, Chesapeake Bay Foundation
  • Joe Maroon, Executive Director, Virginia Environmental Endowment
  • Skip Stiles, Executive Director, Wetlands Watch
  • Justin Williams, Director, Office of Watersheds & Local Government Assistance Programs, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality
  • Patrick Fanning, Virginia Staff Attorney, Chesapeake Bay Foundation

Questions? Registered previously but cannot attend? Please contact Kati McCarter at kmccarter@cbf.org or 757-710-9236.

Collaborative on Tree Preservation in Arlington – Civic Federation Report

The Arlington County Civic Federation’s Environmental Affairs Committee recently completed a Collaborative on Tree Preservation in Arlington. The purpose was to understand the nature of the issues (e.g., economic, legal, policy and environmental) involved in preserving and expanding the tree canopy in Arlington. It was Intended as a scoping study to inform further public action. The process was designed and implemented in a manner that encouraged listening to and considering all points of view. A summary of the findings is now available for public review here.  The highest priority “needs” included: new tools for tree preservation, erosion, and storm water management; incentives for developers; funding for tree programs, natural areas, land acquisition; better maintenance of trees and new plantings; planting more trees with an increase in the diversity of species; more County leadership, e.g. preservation, education, etc.; and addressing diminished tree canopy in South Arlington.The detailed findings to the report can be accessed here.

At the February ACCF meeting, the Environmental Affairs Committee will introduce a resolution proposing to continue their work through collaboratives, research and analysis working with other ACCF committees having a stake in the issues identified. For questions, comments please contact Mary Glass or Eric Ackerman at environmental.affairs.chair@civfed.org.

 

Potential Tree Loss from Crystal City Waterpark renovation

On January 26th Aurora Highlands Civic Association representative Natasha Atkins presented testimony to the County Board on the proposed Crystal City Waterpark renovation. Fortunately, the project has been deferred a couple of months, largely because of a dangerous conflict between pedestrians and bikes in the new design.There will be meetings with civic association members, along with others representing the pedestrian, cycling, and transportation commissions/committees.  It is hoped that the developer (JBG) and County Manager will include some changes for trees/green space. This case brings into focus concerns about “minor” site plan amendments creating major problems and the need for better outreach to citizens before plans are set in place. Many people who would ordinarily be part of a Site Plan Review Committee are not consulted for these “minor” amendments.

In this case the problems identified by the AHCA  include:

  • Significant tree loss and lack of green space
  • Expected loss of replacement trees without clear plans to assure longevity and health
  • Questionable choices of tree species given hot local conditions
  • Cumulative loss of trees in the area due to intensive development

You can read her full testimony here.  To tell the County Board your thoughts on this project and trees in general email them at countyboard@arlingtonva.us.