Civic Federation Collaborative on Development & Tree Canopy & Report

Civic Federation Collaborative on Development & Tree Canopy & Report

The ACCF Environmental Affairs Committee will launch a collaborative on November 30th that focuses on saving trees as private development proceeds in Arlington. The virtual workshops will convene selected stakeholders to develop tree friendly actions, discuss policy options and build consensus. County documents show many neighborhoods lost a significant amount of tree canopy between 2011 and 2016, a trend that continues. The workshops will be conducted by an experienced facilitator and include a wide range of stakeholders from developers to government to individual citizens.

The results of the first scoping sessions will be summarized in a report with any recommended follow-on actions to the ACCF and the public. ATAG will send out an announcement when the report is released to all members of our email list.

2017 Co Tree Canopy by neighborhood

2021 VA General Assembly Environmental Preview Dec. 4

2021 VA General Assembly Preview – Join Virginia Conservation Network Zoom Friday, December 4 to learn about priority environmental topics

Fri, December 4, 2020, 11:00 AM – 1:30 PM EST

Register at:

In preparation for Virginia’s 2021 General Assembly session, Virginia Conservation Network and its Network partners are convening for a preview of what’s in store for our natural landscapes and resources. Volunteers, board members, and staff of partner organizations — as well as those interested in getting more involved in Virginia’s conservation community — are invited to learn about priority environmental topics and discuss our collective approach to advancing policy in the upcoming legislative session.

Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions at the conclusion of each panel and to participate in the regional breakout discussion about next steps. Conferencing information will be sent to all ticket-holders via email in advance of the event.

Event is free with a suggested donation of $10 to help VCN continue to coordinate and advocate on behalf of our Common Agenda. If you choose to donate, your donation will count as one “ticket,” and you do not need to sign up for a free ticket unless you are registering multiple people.

Questions? Contact Lisa McLaughlin at or 804.644.0283.


11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.          Presentations

12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.      Regional breakout rooms



8/9/20 Urban Forestry Commission Legislative Priorities to Board

In a letter to the Arlington County Board, UFC chair Phil Klingelhofer recommended three key areas needing attention in the County’s Legislative Package to be presented in Richmond for 2021. The first, incentivize tree preservation and planting, supports giving credits for Chesapeake Bay Preservation to meet County requirements. The second, Strengthen Tree Replacement Ordinances , would start to allow the County to add stiffer requirements on private developers to preserve and replace trees. The third, Recognize the importance of tree canopy to Virginia’s economy and public health , supports legislation that recognizes and highlights the importance of the tree canopy, e.g. require jurisdictions to include the net carbon sequestration and storage from forests in their energy plans.

Crucial Meeting on New Integrated Forest and Natural Resources Master Plan Monday 10/5/20 7 p.m.

Virtual meeting of the Natural Resources Advisory Group, Monday, October 5th 7 pm to 9 pm. Directions on how to joint the meeting and how to provide written or verbal comments can be accessed at:

All are urged to comment on the scope of work as presented in this PowerPoint presented at the last meeting on August 3rd.  Even a brief written comment is valuable. Areas of interest include consideration of the policies in the current Urban Forest Master Plan ( , the adequacy of the resource databases available to evaluate policy options and the benchmarks to be used for the study including:

  • Legislative Benchmarking (Task 4.1)
  • Standards and Best Practices Benchmarking (Task 4.2)
  • Standards and Best Practices Development (Task 4.3)
  • Assessment of Current Practices (Task 4.4)


ATAG Letter to County Manager Requesting Pause for Donaldson Run restoration – high costs and excessive tree loss

 August 31, 2020                                                                                                Via email

Mr. Mark Schwartz
Manager, Arlington County
2100 Clarendon Blvd., Suite 318
Arlington, VA 22201                                                                                                      

Dear Mr. Schwartz

At a time of severe Covid-induced budget shortfalls in Virginia, it is more important than ever that capital improvement projects in Arlington be as cost-effective as possible. Projects such as the Donaldson Run stream restoration project should take advantage of the best current design and environmental management methods to use County resources as efficiently as possible.

 For this reason, we are writing to call your attention to the fact that the Donaldson Run (Tributary B) project is based on outdated methods and, as a result, is far more expensive than it needs to be. The current proposed design is based on Rosgen’s “natural channel” approach, which averages a cost of nearly $2,000 per linear foot ($2.6 million over 1300 feet).  Redesigning the project using a state of the art “regenerative” stream restoration approach could cost less than half the price. The resulting stream stabilization and repair would achieve Chesapeake Bay credits. The attachments to this letter provide details on the methods and costs.

 Moreover, a state-of-the art approach will result in the destruction of far fewer trees which, if the benefits of trees are appropriately accounted for, will show the cost-effectiveness of a regenerative design to be even greater. Using a new technique that maximizes wood-based methods will allow the use of some materials sourced from the site thereby eliminating the costly and environmentally damaging hauling of large amounts of stone.

As a steward of Arlington taxpayer resources, we ask you to immediately pause the Donaldson Run Tributary B project and reevaluate it using state of the art methods. We have stream restoration experts already familiar with Donaldson Run who can hold informational briefings on these updated techniques with County staff as soon as can be scheduled.  Also, the Arlington Tree Action Group (ATAG) which numbers among its members, environmental and landscape design professionals with decades of experience, will be glad to help you with this effort.

ATAG is a movement of citizens working to preserve and grow Arlington, Virginia’s urban forest. Our mission is to keep Arlington green and fulfill the vision for a “sustainable urban forest that contributes to the livability of our urban community” in the County’s Urban Forest Master Plan.


 Mary Glass
Alisa Cowen
Angela Dickey
Bill Roos
Eric Ackerman
Liz Grossman
Kit Norland
Ann Bodine
Rod Simmons
Suzanne Sundberg
Natasha Atkins
Elaine Simmons
Carol Rakatansky
Stefan Fink
Ann Marie Thro
Edward M. Barrows, Ph.D., Professor of Biology, Georgetown University

Cc:        Arlington County Board
Greg Emanuel, Department of Environmental Services
Jane Rudolph, Parks and Recreation Department

Berg webinar wood stream restoration
6-2-20 Regenerative Stream Mgt. highlights
7-13-20 Simmons Why Natural Channel Design Projects are Incompatible With Natural Resource Protection and the Preservation of Native Biodiv

8-31-20 ATAG letter Schwartz Donaldson Run

ATAG joins Civic Federation for Tree Canopy Collaborative

ATAG members Mary Glass and Eric Ackerman presented the 2020-21Work Plan for the Environmental Affairs Committee to officers of the Arlington County Civic Federation (ACCF) via zoom on August 18.  A key new project will be a public collaborative to build consensus among key stakeholders on new policies to protect trees. Ackerman, an experienced facilitator, has used public collaboratives effectively with electric utilities to find consensus solutions to problems affecting the public. Policies (e.g., tax, zoning, water) that create incentives to preserve trees in Arlington will be the focus.  Next steps will be to identify key stakeholders and get their viewpoints to plan future meetings. For a description of public collaboratives click here.