By Elaine Simmons
September 29, 2019
On September 21, ATAG member Angela Dickey and others presented a petition to the County Board: “Trees: Vital Tool to Moderate Flooding and Climate Change.” 153 residents, from over 40 civic associations, signed the petition at ATAG’s booth during the County Fair.
Peter Rousselot’s recommendations:
A reminder of what Arlington flooding looks like:
September 21, 2019
Way to “preserve” those trees, Arlington County!
September 21, 2019 at the New Town Square in Green Valley, Arlington
Meanwhile, next door at the Dr. Charles R. Drew Elementary School, APS celebrates school ribbon cutting while ignoring dead and dying trees — September 21, 2019 –
Letter strongly encourages the School Board to encourage the design team to make some small tweaks that could potentially save one or several more trees at Reed school
Arlington Urban Forestry Commission Commissioner
September 19, 2019
Sustainable solutions to landscaping headaches
Friday Oct 4 or Saturday Nov 2, 2019 (9:30am – 1pm)
NVCC Annandale campus
On October 4th and November 2 you have an opportunity to attend a half day symposium on the importance of sustainable landscape design in community associations.
September 17, 2019
Yale Environment 360, September 12, 2019
The latest from the APS Design and Construction office on the Reed School Project
September 6, 2019
Good day Everyone,
In response to the feedback and concerns we have heard from residents as regards the Reed project and the tree removal we have scheduled a community meeting on Monday September 16, 2019 at 6:30pm at the Reed site, we plan to walk the site and discuss the design and the tree impacts. APS, its design team and Arlington County Urban Forestry staff will be present. We will meet at one of the existing basketball courts unless there is inclement weather. In case there is inclement weather please gather in the corridor area between the school and the library. This is planned as a walking site meeting to address the concerns and issues. Kindly share this meeting notice with your community members. Please let me know If you have any questions.
For information on the project the link to the project website is listed below:
Ajibola (Aji) Robinson PMP. Project Manager,
Arlington Public Schools; Design and Construction
[B]efore you authorize the cutting of mature trees at Reed School, APS will have cut down approximately 640 trees at five schools within the last five years. Many of these trees could have been saved had the School Board been taking its environmental stewardship responsibilities seriously.
Citizens meeting with Adam Lipera, Arlington County Forester, on 9/3/19 re the planned destruction of trees at Reed School park in Westover
This beautiful, shady grove of mature trees is scheduled to be destroyed by the Arlington School Board. The destruction of this grove will remove many large, rain-absorbing trees from the hill just above the scene of some of the worst of last July’s flooding.
NPR, Meg Anderson, Sean McMinn
September 3, 2019
In dozens of major U.S. cities, low-income neighborhoods are more likely to be hotter than their wealthier counterparts, according to a joint investigation by NPR and the University of Maryland’s Howard Center for Investigative Journalism.
August 30, 2019
Facing community unrest in Westover, Arlington Public Schools plans to take another look at the potential of saving more trees during construction of a new elementary school on North McKinley Road near Washington Boulevard.
Catherine Dowling, Arlington
InsideNOVA, August 28, 2019
Arlington Public Schools soon will be razing the relatively new Reed School building to construct a newer school, the planned four-story building unprecedented in the quiet residential neighborhood of Westover.
. . .
APS will be destroying 40-plus trees on the entire site, with the promise to plant little new ones, primarily around the new staff parking lots. They are planning to pretty much clear-cut the massive trees – healthy, mature, beautiful and home to many kinds of fauna – well away from the construction, and not replace them.
August 19, 2019
“We understand that the increase in impermeable surfaces, loss of mature trees, and warming atmosphere have and will cause more frequent and more extreme flooding.
. . .
“We also understand that the storm water pipe system is woefully inadequate and incoherent, and that little has been done to mitigate this problem.”
ATAG hosts booth at the Arlington County Fair
Getting out the message — August 16 – 18, 2019
New Arlington investigative journalism website created: www.TheArlingtonWay.org
August 9, 2019
The Arlington County Board’s repeated claims of powerlessness to take action to protect our environment ring hollow.
Axios, Kim Hart
August 7, 2019
Most U.S. cities are at risk of experiencing extreme heat thanks to the “urban heat island effect” that’s causing cities to warm as much as 50% faster than the rest of the country.
Why it matters: July was the hottest month ever recorded globally, and it was especially brutal for major metros.
On a micro level, trees shelter us from the infernal summer sun. On a macro level and in an age of global warming, the ability of trees to cool the environment while exchanging carbon dioxide for oxygen makes tree planting a no-brainer.
ARLnow Opinion, July 17, 2019
Arlington’s massive July 8 flash flooding — vividly captured by ARLnow.com in videos and photos — exposes yet again Arlington’s failed approach to stormwater planning. That is the emergency Arlington also should have declared last week.
To follow up with Peter in person:
Flood Prevention in Arlington
When: Wednesday, July 24th/ 10:00 am to 11:00 AM
Description: Arlington Neighborhood Village is hosting a coffee and conversation with ArlNow opinion leader Peter Rousselot on recent flooding events, and policy changes the county can make to curb flooding in our county in the face of climate change.
Location: The Springs Apartments, Multipurpose Room, 4318 North Carlin Springs Road Arlington Virginia Learn more at: https://arlnvil.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/ANV-July2019-coffee.pdf
Washington Post: After years of talk — and flooding — Arlington residents demand fixes to storm drain system
She and other residents say the county government has taken far too long to study the problem without making any fixes, especially in an era where climate change is triggering more intense and frequent storms.
Five years ago, several projects to fix Arlington’s aged storm drain system were on the capital improvements program list, only to quietly fall off without explanation.
. . .
He said that board member Erik Gutshall (D), after listening to him, said: “Perhaps you should reconsider where you live.”
By Patricia Sullivan
Washington Post, July 13, 2019
By Suzanne Smith Sundburg, July 31, 2019
In response to:
July 13, 2019
Fall Module on Planting, Tree Anatomy and Tree ID
Tuesdays, Sept. 24, Oct. 1, Oct. 15, Oct 22 7 – 8:45 PM and
Outdoor Tree Planting Oct. 4, 14, 19, 26 (choose 2)
TreeStewards are volunteers dedicated to improving the health of our urban trees through educational programs, tree planting and tree maintenance throughout the community.
We work with the arborist staff of Arlington, Alexandria, and Falls Church to provide tree care in public spaces, assist in planting trees, and notifying staff of tree problems. We provide education through our Tree Information Tables at farmers’ markets and libraries, Earth Day events, plant sales, and other neighborhood events. As concerned citizens, we advocate to protect our urban tree canopy.
A new study suggests that restoring forests could help reverse global warming.
By Margaret Renkl, The New York Times, July 22, 2019
The secret to curbing your cigarette, alcohol and junk food cravings could be spending more time outside
MarketWatch, July 12, 2019
Letter to the Editor, by Steve Young, Arlington, July 18, 2019
By Kendra Pierre-Louis, The New York Times, July 11, 2019
And the structure of cities may exacerbate the problem even further, said Gabriele Villarini, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Iowa.
At issue: Dirt absorbs water, but paved surfaces such as roads, sidewalks and even the footprint of building homes that make up cities don’t. The end result is that less water gets absorbed and the excess inevitably has to go somewhere.
“We’re starting to see evidence that the number of extreme events will increase,” said Barbara Mayes Boustead, a climate scientist and an author of the latest installment of the National Climate Assessment, a report written by 13 federal agencies that explores both the current and future impacts of climate change.
By Katharina Wecker, DW.com, January 3, 2019
We might not love creepy-crawlies, but if insects were to vanish within a century, as some scientists predict, there would be dire consequences for us humans. Is it too late to save bees, bugs and butterflies?
County will hold public meeting July 17 at 6:30 PM on the Gulf Branch “restoration” project
While developers are one part of the mature tree loss in Arlington, the County is an even bigger problem with its extensive building of facilities, roads, curbs, utilities, and yes even parks and bike trails. No one denies that all these are necessary to some degree, the real question is do they need as much land disturbance as suggested. Rather than building a new Parks and Recreation headquarters in Lubber Run removing over 100 trees, could it have been located in the Rosslyn-Ballston Corridor where facilities and parking already exist? Does the planning for any construction project emphasize early and throughout the process the important environmental issues like the Chesapeake Bay and mature tree loss? A good example is the planned stream “restoration” project in the Gulf Branch Nature park which will remove numerous trees and permanently change the natural environment. The County’s own survey of unmet recreational needs shows overwhelming support for more natural areas and hiking trails!
If you would like to encourage the County to value our disappearing natural areas, there is an important opportunity at Gulf Branch. On Wednesday, July 17 at 6:30 pm at the Nature Center, 3608 N Military Rd. there will be a Public Meeting on the Gulf Branch Stream “Restoration” project with opportunities to provide input and feedback. The County contact is Lily Whitesell – 703-228-3042 or email@example.com. Please attend if you can because the County will listen the more people speak up.
by SCOTT McCAFFREY, Sun Gazette Newspapers
June 7, 2019
The May 31, 2019 County Memo on the Dawn Redwood:
Chesapeake Bay Foundation VoiCeS (Volunteers as Chesapeake Stewards) Course Starts June 6
This is the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s basic course on environmental stewardship and advocacy, highly recommended by those who have attended.
(Links below won’t work.)
If you’re a lover of big trees, this is the event for you!
Friday, June 21 in Charlottesville
– LEARN about the Virginia and National Big Tree Programs
– PRACTICE field techniques for measuring and scoring Big Trees
– MEET fellow tree lovers
Who should attend:
– Tree Stewards, Master Naturalists, Master Gardeners
– Citizen Scientists
– Arborists, Foresters, Horticulturists, Ecologists
– Big Tree Enthusiasts
Community Opposition To Arlington Zoning Changes That Would Reduce Our Tree Canopy and Degrade Single-Family Neighborhoods
Claremont Civic Association Asks County Board To Delay Consideration of the Accessory Dwelling Proposal
(May 9, 2019)
Dear Arlington County Board Members,
On behalf of the Claremont Civic Association we are submitting the attached letter to ask for the County Board to delay consideration of the Accessory Dwelling proposal.
Board of the Claremont Civic Association
Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) (May 7, 2019)
The Washington Post Opinion (May 6, 2019)
Just one battle in the fight to save tree canopy.
Shirley Ruhe, Arlington Connection (May 5, 2019)
ARLnow (May 4, 2019)
Peter Rousselot, ARLnow (April 24, 2019)
ATAG members join Eco-Action Arlington’s stream clean-up on Volunteer Arlington Day (April 23)
In our rapidly developing County, proposed changes in the uses of land all come with direct and opportunity costs and must be justified by data that backs up proposed changes.
The County is being paved over at an unsustainable rate, and flooding is a severe problem.
County Board Chairman Christian Dorsey calls for you to send proposals of “asks” of Amazon:
Arlington County will be requesting cooperation from Amazon. Please email the County Board and Manager urging them to seek concessions to save matures trees and acquire permeable land. Arlington County‘s POPS (Public Spaces Master Plan) page 70 “actions” plan includes acquiring additional natural acres to serve the growing population of Arlington. Please request that Arlington work with Amazon to move this goal forward to thoughtfully balance the new development and growth with much needed natural space. (For one idea see ATAG statement made at 9/22/18 County Board meetingbelow)
You can also join County Board public speaking time 8:30 am Saturday March 16
Voice your ideas NOW on environmental issues and green space!
Email your comments to County Board members (firstname.lastname@example.org), County Manager (Mschwartz@arlingtonva.us), and Vincent Verweij, urban forester with the Department of Parks and Recreation (email@example.com)
One response to chairman Dorsey’s call for “asks”:
March 6, 2019
Falls Church Tree Commission releases its 2018 annual report
March 19, 2019
ATAG public comment statement to Arlington County Board on Sept 22, 2018
Margie Bell, Arlington Tree Action Group
Subject: POPS draft page 70 “actions” plan to acquire additional natural acres
As building expansion, paving, and tree removal are increasing on county, school and private properties—
I am here to urge you to live up to the POPS draft page 70 “actions” plan to acquire additional natural acres to serve the growing population of Arlington. I ask you to be the ones to put Arlington on the map for forward thinking in this regard — while there is still land to acquire.
Erik, we have talked about the concept of an “emerald necklace” of natural spaces like green ribbons throughout Arlington. I urge you all to take the leadership that will leave an essential green legacy in our rapidly urbanized community.
Purchasing parcels of tear down homes now is more critical than ever – while they are still available. These should not be manicured paved parcels, but instead small nature preserves, especially in neighborhoods where clear cutting and large footprints are replacing our necessary healthy green vents.
Properties near these natural parcels would become more valuable, thus adding to our tax base; and Arlington could be a nationwide leader, proudly pointing to its unique contribution to a genuinely green developing area.
These would require little maintenance, other than removal of invasives a couple times a year — a good volunteer project for the likes of tree stewards, neighborhood civic associations, and other community groups.
Please make this your legacy to honor Arlington’s green commitments by purchasing land throughout clear cut neighborhoods to create small nature preserves while we can.
(The places we can save money throughout the county are relevant here—and for another discussion.)
February 19, 2019
By Euan McKirdy, CNN
February 11, 2019
Developers buried our streams. It’s about time we exhume them.
Related: 39% of Arlington County streams are buried (see page 20 of this 2015 dissertation):
Delegate Keam’s HB 2333 gives localities important options
Chesapeake Bay Foundation January 2019
[Update January 30, 2019: Unfortunately this bill died in committee. Nevertheless, it represents a good approach to saving tree canopy and hopefully will be revived next year and be passed into law.]
January 17, 2019
January 6, 2019
Trees: The Best Carbon Sequestration Method to Fight Climate Change
December 22, 2018
Though not recognized as being solar-powered, carbon-sequestration devices, trees perform this essential task every day of their lives. Rather than building expensive, human-engineered “solutions,” we must take better advantage (and care) of what the good lord has already given us. Wishing you all happy holidays and a greener 2019! —Suzanne Sundburg
The Best Technology for Fighting Climate Change Isn’t a Technology
Forests are the most powerful and efficient carbon-capture system on the planet
Recent scientific research confirms that forests and other “natural climate solutions” are absolutely essential in mitigating climate change, thanks to their carbon sequestering and storage capabilities. In fact, natural climate solutions can help us achieve 37 percent of our climate target, even though they currently receive only 2.5 percent of public climate financing.
Here’s a quote from the New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation: https://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/47481.html
However we don’t have to wait for high tech sequestration. We can increase carbon sequestration now by working with some experts. They’re called trees, and they have almost 350 million years’ experience in sequestering carbon. Trees, like other green plants, use photosynthesis to convert carbon dioxide (CO2) into sugar, cellulose and other carbon-containing carbohydrates that they use for food and growth. Trees are unique in their ability to lock up large amounts of carbon in their wood, and continue to add carbon as they grow.[Alternately, cutting down trees releases CO2.]
And the Alabama Forestry Commission provided calculations to determine tree biomass and directly measure the carbon storage of trees: http://www.forestry.state.al.us/HowMuchCarbonHaveYourTreesStored.aspx?bv=5&s=0. [Hint: The larger the tree, the more carbon it stores.]
If both New York and Alabama can agree on trees’ value in carbon sequestration, then Arlington County should be able to grasp this important concept. If you want to fight climate change, you need to preserve your mature tree canopy and improve the long-term survival of the new trees being planted. Below are a couple of after-and-before pictures from the Lubber Run community center site:
12-19-18 Community Center’s driveway apron on N. Park Drive (N. Geo. Mason Drive is a couple hundred yards to the right)
And here’s the same area (the driveway apron is to the right) taken in July 2017.
(December 19, 2018)
ATAG member Angela Dickey thanks Board member John Vihstadt for his work on complex issues including climate change and storm water runoff.
Healthy, large, mature trees destroyed to build a parking lot at Lubber Run Park
(September 21, 2018)
“Don’t it always seem to go,
“That you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.
“They paved paradise, put up a parking lot.”
Big Yellow Taxi – Joni Mitchell
December 2, 2018 update from Suzanne Sundburg:
Arlington County government’s war on trees rages on……Lubber Run clearcutting, Nov / Dec 2018
It is up to 17 degrees hotter than the coolest areas inside the District.
(October 16, 2018)
Letter to the Washington Post
(October 15, 2018)
(October 15, 2018)
UVA loves its trees:
Another reason for preserving mature trees:
VIRGINIA STATE CHAMPION DAWN REDWOOD IN RESOURCE PROTECTION AREA (RPA) IS DESTROYED BY BUILDER AS ARLINGTON COUNTY GOVERNMENT WATCHES
(August 21, 2018)
(August 22, 2018)
ATAG Press Release in response to County’s Abdication of Responsibility for the Dawn Redwood (August 16, 2018)
Charlie Clark, Our Man in Arlington: Arlington faces tough choices between money and environmentalism (July 18, 2018)
Local DVM.com: Arlington residents speak out against idea of cutting down 114-foot Redwood tree (July 11, 2018)
See “Tree planting is a key tool in addressing climate change, and redwood trees are the gold standard for “treequestration,” or the ability of trees to absorb atmospheric carbon dioxide” for a testimonial to the impact of redwoods on fighting climate change.
Yale Climate Connections:
(August 29, 2018)
ATAG stands up for trees
(July 14, 2018)
Testifying to the Arlington County Board —
Being interviewed by an “Arlington Connection” reporter —
The Dawn Redwood we’re trying to save:
Comment on this article: There are plenty of things the board could do to encourage the preservation of trees, if it were so motivated. Here are but a few:
Arlington Department of Environmental Services (July 2, 2018):
[David] Hondula [Arizona State University professor] attributes about half of this to climate change and the rest to the built environment. Those parking lots and wide roads, strip malls and air conditioners all keep the city hotter, what’s called the urban heat island effect, especially overnight.
But most of all, Hondula says, the city needs a lot more trees.
We are looking forward to the UFC report on this tree loss, to include lessons learned so this does not happen again.
Urbanization is on the rise; so is the urban heat island effect—a situation that is worsening with the decline of tree cover in U.S. metropolitan areas
(May 7 2018)
Mass arrests, poisoned-tea plots and the unravelling of a secret £2.2bn PFI contract. Colin Drury delves into the inside story of the battle to save 17,500 trees being felled in a single city
(April 12, 2018)
Local newspaper cartoonist James Whitworth’s take on the Sheffield tree massacre (James Whitworth):
Free — Large trees planted in your yard.
Check out the Arlington Tree Canopy Fund.
Although the County is interpreting and publicizing the Assessment as showing that our urban forest has grown one percent since 2011 in the face of continuing population growth and development, this conclusion is not justified by the Assessment itself. For one thing, one percent is within the Assessment’s margin of error. For another, the 2017 and 2011 studies used different methodologies, so precise comparisons are not warranted.
The real headline is that many neighborhoods have suffered significant tree losses since the last report in 2011. See the map at page 10 of the 2017 Assessment:
This is the message that matches what we are seeing in our neighborhoods as more and more trees are taken down.
The situation is even worse when compared to the 2008 report.
See additional responses to the Tree Canopy Assessment:
Friends of Aurora Highlands Parks identify a pattern of County errors that consistently overestimated demand for recreational fields and narrowed supply, despite overwhelming resident feedback placing much higher priorities on other needs and park uses like trails and natural and open parkland.
“Please Save Me” tree destroyed (March 5, 2018)
On about March 1 a builder destroyed the beautiful magnolia tree noted below (December 15, 2017) that had worn a sign asking that it be spared. Also destroyed was another wonderful tree in the back yard. The entire home has now been bulldozed.
A remembrance of the lost magnolia tree:
In regards to the magnolia tree at 6255 Williamsburg Blvd:
That was my childhood home from 1976 (moved with my mom when I was 3 into her mother’s house) through 1996 or so when I moved out on my own. That old magnolia was there through my childhood and along with those border hedges all the way around served as sort of a welcome flag every time we returned home. I can’t count how many times I swung on the lower branch going by and how many hours I spent throwing those cones the tree dropped everywhere when I was young. That tree stood right where you drove in to welcome you back in every season, recall it full and vibrant in the summer and snow covered and beautiful in the winter. It was there before me and it stood long after I left, had its own personality and life about it and although I had already seen on Google Earth from above that the house had been demolished it hit me especially hard to see that the old living magnolia was now gone forever. Thank you for your efforts to save it but progress yields to nothing I suppose, not even something alive and beautiful. I believe the absence of that old house and unique yard will forever change the landscape of that once quaint little circle where once upon a time Santa handed out presents on the island between Sharp Park and People’s Drug. Time moves on relentlessly but I’m still here for a bit longer to remember it all as it once was.
August 29, 2018
Arlington Tree Action Group (ATAG) pleads for builder to save beautiful trees on Williamsburg Blvd (December 15, 2017)
After we saw a poignant plea to save a possibly endangered tree —
ATAG sent a letter to the responsible party requesting the tree be saved:
December 15, 2017
20023 Belmont Station Drive
Ashburn, VA 20147-000
Dear Mr. Saxena,
On behalf of the Arlington Tree Action Group, a group of residents promoting the economic, health and other benefits of trees, we are writing to draw attention to trees we hope your company will save while developing the lot at 6255 Williamsburg Boulevard.
As you know, trees have tangible economic, health, and environmental benefits, as underscored again in recent research by Arlington County:
https://newsroom.arlingtonva.us/release/arlingtons-trees-the-benefits-by-the-numbers/ It is also calculated that a mature tree adds 10K in property value.
In particular, please work to save the magnificent magnolia in the front corner of the property, on which an anonymous citizen posted a poignant sign: “Please Save Me.” By doing just that, and saving the small tree in the back corner, your company can be seen as:
–responsive to residents;
–understanding of the myriad benefits of mature trees;
–a trendsetter in building a community that seeks a future that is sustainable.
ATAG, web site https://arlingtontreeactiongroup.org, is developing an award for builders who preserve and care for trees.
One small act can have big returns.
Thank you for your consideration; we look forward to hearing from you.
Kit Norland Bill Roos
Margie Bell Angela Dickey
Mary Glass Eric Ackerman Natasha Atkins
Arlington Tree Action Group (ATAG)
Other views of the property:
Arlington Tree Action Group (ATAG) held a very successful event to rally support for preserving and growing Arlington’s urban forest. (November 15, 2017)
See here for more information.
Arlington Tree Action Group (ATAG) spreads the tree message at
Marymount Farmers Market Saturday, September 9, 2017