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.

SUCCESSFUL DEMONSTRATION @ 2437 N. UTAH ST. – DONALDSON RUN

On February 8th, ATAG is organized a peaceful protest against the imminent cutting of a majestic willow oak tree (53 inches diameter) that is on a property being developed by a construction company.  Entreaties by neighbors and ATAG have fallen on deaf ears  Today’s action took place in the Donaldson Run neighborhood which still boasts a very healthy tree canopy, but is also suffering from rapid development that is felling our green giants!

Arlington Tree Action Group (ATAG) is protesting the removal of several trees, but particularly a very large tree at 2347 N. Utah Street.   ATAG can document dozens of similar cases we have engaged on over the past two years, with only 2-3 trees saved out of dozens of cases; we are fed up that nothing ever changes and the county gives lip service to caring about the environment.

Arlington County is facilitating/encouraging development, without adequate tree protection rules.  The County has failed to aggressively advocate for state legislation that would give them more power to regulate tree loss. With land prices so high, speculative development is creating a huge tree loss due to accelerated construction in neighborhoods. The county has approved removing this willow oak even though we believe it could be saved as a new home is built.  ATAG and a nearby neighbor have lobbied the builder and the County.  Both say the tree cannot/will not be saved.

Let the County know how you feel about these developments by emailing them at CountyBoard@arlingtonva.us and the County Manager Mark Schwartz at mschwartz@arlingtonva.us

Trees & Utility Fees – Input Opportunity Feb 17th 6:30 pm

Water and Wastewater Utility Rate Study – Community Q&A Presentation – February 17 at 6:30 pm – virtual community forum on the proposed rate structure

MAKE YOUR VOICES HEARD!

Trees can be heavily impacted as Arlington County reviews its utility fee structure to decide if changes are needed. Changes are being considered in part in response to increasing stormwater management costs. Increased runoff is a result of the removal of trees that soak up stormwater and the escalating amount of impermeable surfaces associated with all the development underway in the County.  By increasing fees for impervious surfaces as part of a new fee structure, an incentive will be created for designs that incorporate more permeable surfaces including the all-important trees. By first preserving mature trees and encouraging other vegetated surfaces it will be possible to mitigate stormwater runoff at the sources across Arlington. For more information, visit this webpage.

Developing the New Forestry and Natural Resources Plan – JNRAG meeting March 1, 7pm

March 1st is a special opportunity to track the development of the Forestry and Natural Resources Plan. To find out more on how to attend, speak during Public Comments, and/or provide written comments, see the meeting webpage.

The Joint Natural Resources Advisory Group is a County-appointed group of County staff and representatives of the Forestry and Natural Resources Commission, the Climate Change and Energy Efficiency Commission, and the Parks and Recreation Commission. Part of their charge is to advise the County on the revised Forestry and Natural Resource Plan that is currently under revision. While the County is conducting extensive outreach in developing the Plan, attending these meetings provides broader insights into the directions to be taken and offers an opportunity for the public to participate.