The Washington Post, May 25, 2020
Letter to the Editor from ATAG member Mary Glass
Arlington gets and deserves high marks for its park facilities and programming; however, it ranked 38th in park acreage. The county’s own 2016 citizen survey showed that natural areas and hiking trails were overwhelmingly needed and favored for future investment.
The Arlington County Civic Federation recently passed a resolution asking that more money be dedicated to the purchase of parkland for open space and natural areas. Despite this, Arlington’s capital budgets and spending for land acquisitions have been scarce. Numerous county master-plan components recommend parkland acquisitions as a priority. Arlington, as a true “world-class” place, has the opportunity to substantially improve its acreage ranking above 38th.
ATAG testifies at NOVA Transportation Authority Meeting on Threats to Trees From Widening the W&OD Bike Path
May 14, 2020
My name is Susan Land and my comments are in reference to project number NOV 002, “Arlington W&OD Trail Enhancements”.
I am here as a representative of the Arlington Tree Action Group (ATAG). The goal of our organization is to protect and maintain mature trees in Arlington to:
improve our environment and air,
protect against creating urban heat islands,
and because 40 – 50 year old trees are simply not replaceable.
We have great concerns about the number of publicly owned mature trees that could be damaged or removed for this trail widening project.
Of particular concern are the following areas:
- Mile 5 – Brandymore Castle Hill – Hundreds of large mature trees cover the Brandymore Castle Hill, several of which also line the bike path.
- Mile 3.75 – Bon Air Park – The majority of this park exists in both a flood plain and a Resource Protection Area. Large trees surround the banks of Four Mile Run creek.
- Mile 3.5 – Bluemont Park – This park also resides in a flood plain and has a designated Resource Protection Area that crosses the existing bike trail. The risk of flooding here due to tree loss and increased paved surfaces is enormous.
- Mile 3.0 – Carlin Springs Rd – This area is identified as a FEMA Special Flood Hazard Area.
Even if trees are not directly in the 22 foot right of way for this expanded bike trail, adjacent trees will certainly be damaged or destroyed by construction cutting into their root systems, construction equipment movement and staging, and the requisite clearing and mowing that may reach up to 3 feet beyond the new paved area.
Before this project is approved we are asking NOVA Transportation Authority to insist that NOVA Parks do the following:
- Conduct a full environmental assessment including a tree survey. The tree survey should list the number of mature trees to be removed for this project and the impact that will have on storm water management.
- Identify what percentage of the construction and land disturbance will be in a designated Resource Protection Area or a FEMA Identified Flood Zone and make this number known to the public.
- Meet with all relevant Arlington county commissions including:
- The Urban Forestry Commission
- The Environment and Energy Conservation Commission (E2C2)
- And The Natural Resources Joint Advisory Group
To get their feedback before design work begins.
Both Bluemont and Bon Air parks were acquired by Arlington County specifically because they are in flood zones and must be preserved to absorb and contain flood waters.
The removal of mature trees and the increase in impervious surfaces in these parks increase the risk of damaging floods in the future.
We ask that NOVA Transportation Authority not fund this project until the environmental impacts of this project are carefully considered. Hundreds of mature publicly owned trees could be removed as a result.
Check out the two new draft design concepts for the Metropolitan Park Public Space! The County will be taking comments through May 14.
The Metropolitan Park Public Space project is a joint effort between JBG Smith and Arlington County as part of the Board approved Met Park Redevelopment Project. . . . The existing two-acre park, will be increased by .56 acres and design for the park will be informed by approved site plan conditions and community input.
Mighty oaks are not as mighty as homebuilders with chainsaws. Still, tree policy changes are a-blooming.
Our Man in Arlington
Falls Church News-Press
In the latest in Arlington’s tree wars, homeowners at 5920 N. 35th St. joined with passionate volunteers from the Arlington Tree Action Group to sound alarms over the threat to a towering water oak outside their home of 28 years, which might soon be a tear-down.
Bats, insects, coyotes, other wildlife make cities their homes. Urban communities are encouraging this.
The Washington Post
The District is an urban paradise for many wild animals, and it’s at the forefront of nationwide efforts to make cities and suburbs better places for wildlife.
Del. Patrick Hope (D-Arlington) this session shepherded legislation through the General Assembly adding preservation of mature trees, as well as the planting of new trees, to the list of activities that the State Water Resources Board is directed to encourage local governments to consider when addressing development in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
The measure “is more a policy statement than anything else,” Hope acknowledged. “But it does send a clear signal to local governments that tree preservation is a legitimate tool to improve water quality and to protect the Chesapeake Bay, and one in which local governments should consider in their plans.”
March 10, 2020
Join Miriam Gennari as she catches up with Mary Glass of Arlington Tree Action Group (ATAG). You’ll learn more about the important work citizens are doing to preserve and grow Arlington, Virginia’s urban forest. Once you understand the many benefits trees offer to Arlington residents, workers and visitors you’ll want to join them in their mission to keep Arlington green and fulfill the Vision stated in the County’s Urban Forest Master Plan. Then subscribe to the SustainableScoop before leaving the channel to keep up with new developments on the environment.
PBS News Hour
Trees can add beauty and serenity to a neighborhood — but can they also improve the health of its residents? In Kentucky, the University of Louisville — with help from the National Institutes of Health and The Nature Conservancy — aims to find out. Called Green Heart Louisville, the initiative involves a large-scale scientific study of how greenspaces affect public health. John Yang reports.
Patti and John, long-time residents who are looking at retirement, asked ATAG to help protect a beloved Water Oak that turns out to be the largest known in Arlington. ATAG urged Patti to invite an arborist to evaluate the oak, and media to cover it. March 4, Stave Nagy, Davey Tree Expert Company, assessed the tree as healthy, with a strong root flare and stretch marks indicating active wood production. Working in Arlington, Steve finds big trees typically in a 38”-45” range; at 60” DBH, this Water Oak is a rarity! He estimates it is 175-210 years old.
In the picture, Steve describes the oak’s health to Adrian Higgins, The Washington Post garden columnist. Next steps to protect the tree are being assessed. Patti is pleased that the media plans to follow the story of defending her oak–“such a valuable resource to our home, that saved us thousands in utility bills, provides shelter for all kinds of wildlife, and brings a feeling of being established in the neighborhood.”
As Patti further notes: “The knowledge we are only stewards of this tree, and must eventually pass it on to someone else, spurred us to try and make sure it remains standing and in good health. We live in an area that faces enormous developer pressure, and we also know Arlington county provides no protection against developers clear-cutting the lots they obtain (a $2500 fine for violation is a mere cost of doing business for the developers).”
The Arlington Connection:
By Shirley Ruhe
March 15, 2020
Patricia Teutsch and John Malerich own the property where the tree is located and where they have lived for 28 years. She says their yard has been a National Wildlife Federation Certified Wildlife Habitat for several years and they cultivate it to attract bees, their pileated woodpeckers, blue jays and nuthatches and the chipmunks, raccoons and foxes that inhabit the backyard. “The other day we had three deer lying in our Joe Pye weed for most of the afternoon.”
“Should city officials treat urban trees as core infrastructure – as a utility themselves?” ATAG weighs in.
Yet there often remains a gap between rhetoric and reality on the issue of urban trees, researchers and activists warn – like in the leafy D.C. suburb of Arlington, Virginia, which activists worry is becoming less leafy by the day.
Kit Norland of the citizen-run Arlington Tree Action Group said official figures show impervious surface area – covered in materials such as concrete and brick – has been expanding in the city by about nine acres (four hectares) per year.
“Trees are an afterthought,” she said.
The Washington Post
Rod Simmons, a plant ecologist who works for the city of Alexandria, said the cumulative damage to the region’s tree canopy because of stream restorations over the years should be alarming to local government officials.
[P]olluted water still comes gushing down a long concrete chute from a nearby school parking lot during heavy storms.
“They’re not fixing the source of the problem,” said Anderko, a Georgetown University School of Nursing and Health Studies professor who focuses on the public health effects of climate change. “If we’re doing this in the name of the environment, then we should be very thoughtful about how we’re going about it.”
Scientists are learning that large, old trees are the most valuable, especially in cities. They capture the most storm water and take the most pressure off our overtaxed streams and rivers. They put on wood fastest and take the most carbon out of the air. They harbor the most wildlife. They can lower summer temperatures by 20 degrees or more. They raise property values.
County has identified 25 County properties, including parks, that could be made available to meet the growing need for school seats.
Suzanne Smith Sundburg comments on the County Manager’s November 18, 2019 letter
January 20, 2020
JFAC and APS have been working on plans to use public parkland as sites for new public school construction — an extension of the Public Land for Public Good process. This is a continuation of the repurposing of parkland on the Thomas Jefferson site and the combined project that reduced the amount of scarce, publicly owned and accessible parkland on the Wilson School site in Rosslyn.
Not only does building on the modest acreage of County Board-owned public parkland increase impervious surfaces and reduce mature tree canopy (undermining our parks’ usefulness as mitigation against flooding, the urban heat island effect, climate change and air pollution), it also reduces the amount of green and open space that would otherwise be available for full public use and access (schools retain priority use of school grounds and facilities for students).
Though we can all agree that ever-increasing school enrollment must be addressed with additional classroom space, APS has persisted in building out and maximizing building and infrastructure footprints on its own sites. Part of the reason stems from the cost of building up. But part is also due to APS’s unwillingness to use its own land more efficiently because it views public parkland as a “free” land bank that permits it to continue its wasteful and destructive land-use practices.
The FY2019–2028 Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) contains $0 for the acquisition of new public parkland, and there is increasingly less open land available to purchase for parks. So the use of existing park space for schools will likely result in the permanent loss of public parkland.
Below is a map (contained in the attached letter) of the parks being targeted for school construction. Please remember that staff has eliminated the height limits and reduced building setbacks for school construction on public parkland. Essentially, there is no limit either on building footprints or height for new school buildings and associated infrastructure that are constructed in our public parks.
Jan 22, 2020
I generally trust government, and give the county government the benefit of the doubt. But it is both disappointing and alarming to have several 70-year-old trees – which reduced the sight, sound and smell of heavy traffic – suddenly and irrevocably removed with no explanation.
At the December 14 County Board meeting, ATAG calls for more urban foresters as Single Family Plan Reviews jump from
241 (2016) to 293 (2018)
Click HERE for ATAG PowerPoint presentation.
The Washington Post, December 11, 2019
One thing seems certain: The need for street trees is only going to get greater. They shade, they cool, they grab carbon from the atmosphere. Oh, and they can be beautiful if spared the butchery of life with the aerial power line. A 2015 study confirmed what we might have already known — people who live in the shelter of mature trees are healthier than folks in neighborhoods that don’t have them.
Friends of Upton Hill, December 9, 2019
A treeless, ugly flat space coming soon
Despite efforts to increase Philadelphia’s tree canopy, the city has lost the equivalent of 1,000 football fields worth of leafy shade in the last 10 years.
So the city is creating a 10-year Urban Forest plan to reverse the trend.
To create the [Tree Canopy Assessment Report], the city commissioned the University of Vermont Spatial Analysis Lab, which used aerial imagery, light detection, and ranging (LiDAR) data.
The City of Alexandria, WMATA, and Coalition for Smarter Growth, among others, are risking public safety in their push to build the Potomac Yard Metro Station Alternative B (PYMS) on top of wetlands in a floodplain of the George Washington Memorial Parkway. … [The proposal] will destroy functioning forested floodplain and wetlands, significantly increase impervious surface runoff, and degrade adjoining freshwater tidal wetlands by using them for stormwater management – all greatly exacerbating dangerous flooding along the parkway and serious threats to public safety.” WTOP news story also at link.
By Stephanie Hanes Correspondent
The Christian Science Monitor
June 10, 2019
In 2006, though, the Forest Service, working with researchers from the University of Vermont’s spatial analysis lab, put together a new type of land cover map in Baltimore using a combination of aerial imagery, light-reflecting technology, and high-resolution landowner data. This novel approach not only allowed a closer look at trees, it also let scientists synchronize forest maps with other information that was also newly computerized and manipulable – everything from health records to census figures, crime statistics to property values.
Arlington County’s Tree Canopy Fund Program
Arlington Department of Environmental Services
November 22, 2019
Apply for a free tree now! This is your opportunity to get a beautiful free (FREE) tree, professionally planted on your property where you want it. Submit an online application form by Friday December 20.
Arlington property owners can beautify their yard, add value to their real estate, lower their heating and cooling bills, and provide a new home for birds and butterflies by applying for a tree from Arlington County’s Tree Canopy Fund (TCF). The cost of the tree and its planting in spring 2020 is paid by the TCF.
The goal of the program is to plant more trees on private property within the county. Private property includes condominiums, apartment buildings, townhomes, single-family homes, non-profits (churches e.g.). The chief requirement of those receiving trees is to properly care for them, especially watering the trees consistently for two years while they get established, then watering in following years whenever rainfall is inadequate.
Please note that if you wish to apply for more than one tree, you will need to fill out the application separately for every tree.
New for Spring 2020 – we are offering the opportunity to apply for small trees for property owners with small front yards impeded by utility lines.
Here is the available tree list for Spring 2020. Details on each species are online.
We will do our best to accommodate your first or second choice of species, but we will use a lottery for selection if necessary.
All trees will be planted March-April of 2020. More information, including the program guidelines for Spring 2020, is online.
Nearly a dozen people spoke in opposition the project during Tuesday’s meeting. Many stressed that the project it could destroy a large number of trees and damage storm water management, while others expressed disappointment in what they describe as NOVA Park’s lack of public outreach.
If a Tree Falls in the Forest and Everyone Is There to Hear It
Chain Bridge Forest loses over 200 trees to developers.
The Arlington Connection, November 20 – 26, 2019 edition
Click HERE and go to page 4.
More Arlington trees destroyed – including trees around the edges of a lot
October 31, 2019
At 3511 North Potomac Street, Arlington, a rare wooded lot —
Which included mature trees along the perimeter —
Now looks like this:
More destruction of trees around the perimeters of lots – Is this really necessary?
October 31, 2019
Beautiful tree at the edge of the lot at 5907 Williamsburg Blvd, Arlington, apparently marked for destruction.
Trees at the rear of the lot at 5907 Williamsburg Blvd, Arlington, apparently marked for destruction.
By Suzanne Sundburg
October 24, 2019
On Thurs., 10-17-19, four civic associations (Highland Park-Overlee Knolls, Leeway Overlee, Tara Leeway Heights and Westover Village) in the Torreyson Run watershed (the Westover area) met w/county staff Mike Moon (DES), Demetra McBride (bureau chief of the Office of Sustainability and Environmental Mgmt.) and County Board Chair Christian Dorsey.
The meeting was civil but contentious. Many audience members audience expressed frustration and anger.
Click HERE for full report.
Neighbors’ letter to developers who destroyed some 200 trees in one project in Arlington
October 2, 2019
River Street Residences
c/o Mr. Liviu Floroaie
205 Yoakum Pkway #1610
Alexandria, VA 22304
Mr. Floroiae, Mr. Simionov and Mr. Edson (developers of “River Street Residences”):
This entire neighborhood is incensed at the unnecessary, wholesale razing of some 200 trees and all vegetation from 3865 N. River Street. You needlessly ripped out very large screening trees right at the borderlines of the adjacent homes, destroying privacy and beauty that took more than 50 years to establish, and undercutting the resale value of every nearby home. Now, because you want to cram in four huge McMansions that are more than twice or thrice the size of the surrounding homes, you have left no room on the sides and backs of your proposed over-sized houses to put up code-required screening and replacement trees.
Over the past year, you have deliberately misrepresented your building permitting status to the Chain Bridge Forest community, and especially to the homeowners with properties adjacent to yours. The “by-right” ownership status you claim applies only if you meet all Arlington County zoning ordinances, and as of this writing, you have not even submitted your building permit application which begins the long review process. You told us that the County had fully permitted the placement, setbacks and size of your 6,500 sf McMansions and further lied that the County would “not allow” you to make any adjustments in house sizes or placements because the Civil Engineering Plan had already been approved. You proffered this deception in order to dupe existing homeowners into injurious agreements with you to put up screening trees on their lots instead of yours, as required by law.
In answer to your letter of 9/20/2019, no, my husband and I are NOT interested in helping you meet your screening or tree replacement requirements in our small backyard. To do so would endanger the critical root zones of a beautiful 50+ year old tree at the back of our lot, and ensure that all future maintenance costs would be borne by us, so that you can reap the benefits, all the while claiming to the County BZA that you have made us happy by paying for half of the screening tree expense.
Moreover, you must protect the roots of our 50+ year old Poplar and Beech trees, so please push out the tree protection zone fence accordingly.
And yes, you absolutely do have an obligation to consult with the affected neighbors, despite your claim otherwise.
Our neighborhood group has retained Arlington-based zoning lawyer Aris Chronis to represent us. Any further correspondence should be directed through him.
Carol Lynn MacCurdy and Russ Travers, 3853 N. River Street, Arlington, VA 22207
Mr. Eric Gutshall, Arlington County Board
Ms. Libby Garvey, Arlington County Board
Ms. Arlova Vonhm, County Zoning Director
Mr. Clifford Hogan, Zoning Office
The Arlington County Board of Zoning Appeals
Mr. Claude Williamson, Dept of Environmental Services
Ms. Lucy Garrah, DES site inspector
Ms. Pattie Walker, Chain Bridge Forest Association (CBFA) President
Chain Bridge Forest HOA Board Members and Treasurer Denny Bedell
CBFA Liaison to Arlington County Joe Pelton
The CBF homeowners immediately surrounding 3865 N. River Street
Mr. Aris Chronis, Esq., Chronis Law
Before and after pictures of tree destruction at 3865 N. River Street:
December 4 @ 8:00 am – 5:00 pm EST
Montgomery Parks and Casey Trees, Washington D.C., present the eighth annual conference — Trees Matter Presents: Green Cities Summit. Presentations will focus on the health and welfare of trees in our increasingly developed landscapes. Learn from some of the country’s leading experts about innovative efforts to plant, protect and preserve trees in urban and suburban settings.
Trees provide many benefits: they clean and cool our air, stabilize our soils, provide wildlife habitat and beautify our urban and suburban areas. We encourage all arborists, landscape industry and environmental/green industry professionals, engineers, designers, housing developers, and interested citizens to take advantage of this opportunity to learn new techniques and concepts on what can be done to ensure the survival of trees in our built environment.
Click HERE for information on the Green Cities Summit.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 (email@example.com), County Manager (Mschwartz@arlingtonva.us), and Vincent Verweij, urban forester with the Department of Parks and Recreation (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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