Action Needed Now to Protect Seattle’s Trees!
Public Comments are needed now supporting draft SDCI Director’s Rule 13-2020 for Increased Tree Protection – Deadline August 17th
Public Comments are needed now supporting draft SDCI Director’s Rule 13-2020 for Increased Tree Protection – Deadline August 17th
Click here to see Seattle Urban Forestry Commission’s draft Seattle Tree and Urban Forest Protection Ordinance,
The Seattle Urban Forestry Commission made the following recommendations to King County regarding it’s 30-year Forest Plan. You can see the original letter here.
March 11, 2020
Christie True, Department of Natural Resources and Parks Director
King Street Center, 201 S Jackson St
Seattle, WA 98104-3855
Dear Director True,
The Seattle Urban Forestry Commission (UFC) thanks Sarah Brandt for her updates regarding King County’s 30-year Forest Plan. The UFC supports this undertaking on a county level because of the complexity and interaction of the many different land uses and environmental issues involving forestry across the county.
King County is well-positioned to coordinate and share best practices and planning across the county by bringing together the many diverse stakeholders that benefit from and are impacted by decisions affecting our forested landscape. Seattle and other cities in King County have overlapping interests in maintaining, protecting, and
enhancing the benefits that urban forests provide to their dwellers. The following suggestions for the County may help municipalities better manage environmental concerns relating to forestry.
Assist Collection of High-Quality Tree Canopy Cover Data across the County
Without good data on trees and canopy cover, municipalities manage urban forests in the dark. The UFC suggests that King County could assist in periodic LIDAR studies to measure canopy cover across the county to provide baseline data for all cities, towns, and unincorporated areas in the county. Importantly, these studies
should be repeated at least every five years. These data will allow decision makers to assess gains and losses in tree canopy over time.
The UFC recommends that these studies measure canopy volume in addition to canopy cover. King County is losing large trees, especially in cities. Replanting with small trees may give a similar canopy area over time but does not fully replace the benefits large trees provide particularly well, including carbon sequestration,
stormwater mitigation, air quality improvement, wildlife support, and heat island impacts reduction. A LIDAR study can also help to clarify forest species diversity by doing a leaf off study to determine the percentage of evergreen and conifer species in an area.
Consider Cumulative and Ecosystem Level Impacts
Sharing information on climate impacts to trees and forests and ensuring species diversity and resilience is important. Looking at the total ecosystem impacts must be considered. Forestry is more than just trees. It includes associated plants, shrubs, and wildlife. The totality, interrelationships and functionality of forests, both
rural and urban, must be considered as the region grows in population.
Take Stock of and Value King County’s Natural Capital
Seattle is starting a Natural Capital Assessment to assign dollar values to its natural features and the benefits they provide. King County should consider a similar assessment as part of its forestry plan.
Convene Stakeholders, Leverage Partnerships, and Share Resources
Another way that King County can assist urban areas is by working with entities like the Washington State Department of Natural Resources’ Urban and Community Forestry Program, the US Forest Service’s Urban and Community Forestry Program, and King Conservation District in organizing workshops for municipalities to develop effective tree and urban forest ordinances and management plans. Convening stakeholders to discuss challenges and opportunities would greatly benefit the County in implementing an effective forest plan. By leveraging partnerships and sharing resources, cities across the county can manage urban forests in a regionally
coordinated manner and improve on efforts from work done in other areas.
The UFC also urges King County to make efforts to include other entities in its outreach and future involvement. These include dealing with Washington state entities like the Washington State Department of Transportation and the Washington State Department of Ecology as well as Federal Agencies that own land in King County.
Other important entities to include is exploring ways to involve school districts and students in efforts to protect and increase forests. These will be their forests in the future.
Consider a County-level Urban Forestry Advisory Board
King County has already created a Rural Forestry Commission. There is a need for a similar board for urban areas. Multiple tree and urban forest protection ordinances and management plans exist across the county. Each municipality has its own process for drafting and updating these ordinances and plans. While the basic issues are similar, cities act independently and frequently lack the resources and expertise to evaluate the benefits or problems associated with different ways of regulating tree and forest protection. The County could help coordinate efforts.
Thank you for your outreach and efforts to create a 30-year Forest Plan for King County. The UFC supports your efforts and looks forward to working with you.
Weston Brinley, Chair; Steve Zemke
cc: Mayor Jenny A. Durkan, Council President Lorena González, CM Lisa Herbold, CM Debora Juarez, CM Andrew Lewis, CM Tammy Morales, CM Teresa Mosqueda, CM Alex Pedersen, CM Kshama Sawant, CM Dan Strauss, Jessica Finn Coven, Michelle Caulfield, Josh Baldi, Warren Jimenez, Sarah Brandt, Jessica Engel, Kathleen Farley Wolf, Paúl Quiñonez Figueroa
Sandra Pinto de Bader, Urban Forestry Commission Coordinator
City of Seattle, Office of Sustainability & Environment
PO Box 94729 Seattle, WA 98124-4729 Tel: 206-684-3194 Fax: 206-684-3013
For Release: April 28, 2020
Contact: Justin Bush
Washington Recreation and Conservation Office
Scotch Broom Census Set for May
OLYMPIA–The Washington Invasive Species Council, state agencies and researchers are calling for a census in May to help determine the location of Scotch broom throughout the state.
“We need everyone’s help to size up the problem,” said Justin Bush, executive coordinator of the Washington Invasive Species Council. “Without baseline information about the location and population size, we don’t have enough details to determine solutions. The information from the census will help us set short- and long-term action plans.”
Yellow flowered, Scotch broom is hard to miss when blooming. It can be found in 30 of Washington’s 39 counties. While known to be spread across the state, specific locations and patch sizes are not well documented, leading to the council’s call for a month-long census.
How to Participate in the Scotch Broom Census
“We’re asking people to send us information from their neighborhoods,” Bush said. “The information can be transmitted easily to the council by using the Washington Invasives mobile app or by visiting https://invasivespecies.wa.gov/report-a-sighting/. Sightings should include a photograph of the plant that shows enough detail that the plant can be verified by an expert. A description of the size of the patch is also helpful, such as whether the patch is the size of a motorcycle, a car, a school bus or multiple school buses. Photographs also can be shared with the council on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter by using the hashtags #TheGreatScotchBroomCensus and #ScotchBroom2020Census.”
Scotch broom is a problem because it crowds out beneficial native species and clogs healthy habitats. It can form dense, impenetrable stands that are a problem for grazing, farming and recreating and it creates fire hazards. Dense stands may prevent or slow forest regeneration and harm sensitive areas near streams and wetlands. Scotch broom also produces toxic compounds, which in large amounts may poison grazing animals.
While widespread and not likely to be fully eliminated from the entire state, action is being taken to remove Scotch broom from parks, roadsides, forests, riverbanks and other at-risk landscapes. The information from the Scotch broom census will help invasive species managers better understand the needs of landowners and managers.
“We don’t have the resources at a state or local level to remove every Scotch broom,” said Greg Haubrich, pest program manager with the Washington State Department of Agriculture. “But organizations like your local noxious weed control board can provide education and technical assistance so that you can efficiently and effectively manage Scotch broom on your property. In some instances, there also could be cost-share funding available from your local conservation district to remove your Scotch broom.”
What You Can Do to Prevent the Spread
When around Scotch broom and any other invasive species, care should be taken not to inadvertently spread it to new locations. Each mature plant can produce thousands of seeds, which are viable up to 80 years. Taking precautions not to move seeds on boots, tires, pets or vehicles is very important.
“Scotch broom is widespread, but it is not everywhere,” Bush said. “By taking simple precautions, you can prevent the spread of this invasive species. Clean your boots, bikes, pets, vehicles and other gear before you venture outdoors to stop invasive species from hitching a ride to a new location. Conversely, follow the same practices before you head home to protect your own property.”
People that have Scotch broom or would like to get involved in stopping it can find additional help with an online seminar series June 2-4 being organized by the council and its partners, who are working together to share the newest information from throughout the Pacific Northwest so everyone can better address this shared problem.
1111 Washington ST SE
Olympia WA 98501
PO Box 40917
Olympia WA 98504-0917
Dear Shoreline City Council and Shoreline Manager,
We are respectfully proposing that the Shoreline City Council strongly consider asking the Parks/Tree Board to appoint a special committee to study Alternative Sidewalk Designs. Potential losses of large numbers of mature trees such as that proposed on Dayton Ave N with the WSDOT project are of great concern.
The special committee would deal with considering ways to resolve existing conflicts that naturally occur when new sidewalks are proposed, and large trees are impacted or slated to be removed. These conflicts are likely to continue and escalate if this issue is not more proactively dealt with. Shoreline needs to work to alleviate the problems with creative solutions instead of relying on exceptions. Maintaining existing trees and the urban forest has to be a high priority for Shoreline as the city grows and becomes more dense.
Shoreline has already deployed such designs in many cases over the last decade for the purpose of more sustainability and practicality. For instance, at Southwoods Park a sidewalk was required when the new park was created. It included a 3 ft ADA path, winding through the trees along NE 150th Street, alongside a natural drainage swale planted with natives. The path had 3 different treatment, including 1/3 of it being permeable pavement. There are many other examples that Shoreline has utilized as well around town. There are also many other examples deployed in Seattle and other neighboring cities.
This committee at Parks would be best if it included several Parks Board members and some members of the community. It could devote a few months to come up with a portfolio of potential alternative solutions for the Council to consider as amendments to the Development Code and Engineering Code.
We hope you will seriously consider this suggestion offered in good faith as a solution to some inevitable tree loss conflicts which are likely to persist otherwise.
TreePAC is an all volunteer organization that works to promote protection of Trees and Urban Forests and promote quality of life for all cities in the Seattle Area.
Steve Zemke – TreePAC Chair
2131 N 132nd St
Seattle, WA 98133
Letter and recommendation adopted Feb 26, 2020 by Tree PAC Board.
In June 2019, The Seattle Urban Forestry Commission submitted, at the request of Seattle City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw and Lisa Herbold, a draft Tree and Urban Forest Protection Ordinance to the Seattle City Council and Mayor Jenny Durkan.
The Coalition for a Stronger Tree Ordinance is urging the public and organizations to submit letters of support on the draft ordinance through the website www.DontClearcutSeattle.org. A pre-written draft letter for individuals is available on the site to which additional comments can be added. A draft resolution is available for organizations to use to express their support.
1. Expand the existing tree removal and replacement permit program, including 2-week public notice and posting, as used by the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) – to cover all trees 6” DBH and larger on private property in all land use zones, both during development and outside development.
cross posted on www.Friends.UrbanForests.org
Thirteen of the fourteen candidates running for the Seattle City Council District elections in the 2019 General Election have returned questionnaires to Tree PAC. Overwhelmingly, the responses were positive for supporting key provisions to strengthen the existing Tree Protection Ordinance. You can see our TreePAC endorsements and questionnaires on this link. These questionnaires were weighted heavily, but were not our sole criteria for endorsement.
Earlier this year, the Seattle City Council unanimously passed the following two resolutions that support the updating of Seattle’s Tree Protection Ordinance.
3/18/19 Seattle City Council Resolution 31870 Section 6 deals with updating Seattle’s Tree Protection Ordinance.
Section 6. The Council recognizes the environmental, social, and economic benefits of Seattle’s urban forest and commits to working with community members and City departments to update the City’s tree regulations, advancing the goals of the Urban Forest Stewardship Plan across Seattle. Potential measures may include, but are not limited to, the following:
9/17/2019 Seattle City Council Resolution 31902 – A resolution declaring the City Council and the Mayor’s intent to consider strategies to protect trees and increase Seattle’s tree canopy cover
All of the candidates (13 out of 14) who responded to the TreePAC questionnaire indicated that they support these two resolutions.
The Seattle Urban Forestry Commission on June 15, 2019, at the request of Councilmembers Bagshaw and Herbold, submitted to the Mayor and City Council a draft Tree and Urban Forest Protection Ordinance. Council action on an updated Tree Protection Ordinance is expected next year. TreePAC is encouraged by the strong response of the city council candidates in support of updating the current Tree Protection Ordinance.
Tuesday, October 15, 2019
N 145th St and 1st Ave NE, Shoreline (just north of Lakeside School)
Tree PAC and Neighborhood Treekeepers held a protest and press conference after a developer clearcut many large trees and a grove of large mature tress on a 12 lot townhouse development in Shoreline
Shoreline, WA recently passed an up zone for development near the proposed NE 145th St light rail station. Shoreline’s new ordinance “does not require that any trees be protected” in this upzone area and so allows 100% removal of existing trees. The disastrous result of this policy can be clearly seen on the 14 lot development of townhouses planned at the corner of 1st Ave NE and N 145th in Shoreline. The 12 lot development spreads north to 147th and then east along the north side of the block.
Although much of the 12 lot property did not have many trees, those that were there were large The developers removed almost all the trees on the project as well as a grove of large Douglas Fir trees.
These trees would have provided great benefits for the new residents as well as the community at large. Rather than save some trees, the developers choose to “remove almost all of the trees” on the lots to maximize their profit, given the loosening of development requirements by the city of Shoreline.
Bulldozers and construction equipment were visible on the lots. Bulldozers were removing stumps of the cut trees. Other machines were stacking logs and a huge pile of branches and stumps to be removed.
The cut trees were 80 – 100 years old. It takes 80 years to replace an 80 year old tree. The neighbors and Shoreline just lost a lot of natural environmental services in that old trees accumulate more much carbon sequestration than young trees. Also lost is the air cleaning and pollution removal benefits of trees and reduction in stormwater runoff.
This tree removal is in addition to the massive clearcutting of trees along I-5 for the construction of light rail heading north. That project will remove some 5300 trees along the I-5 corridor.
The Seattle City Council just passed legislation to limit SEPA appeals by Seattle citizens on upzones for housing.
It took them only 3 months to pass this legislation giving more authority to the Departmental of Construction and Inspections to fast track developer projects. Meanwhile they have not updated the Tree Protection Ordinance in 10 years. The Council first passed a Resolution to update the Tree Protection Ordinance in 2009 and passed two similar resolutions this year, including one in Sept saying they needed more time to study the issue. Right.
In 2017 they studied the issue in a report entitled “Tree Regulations Research Project” that they kept hidden from the public and only released after a public records request. Their findings included:
“Current code is not supporting tree protection.”
“We are losing exceptional trees (and groves) in general”
“We are losing exceptional trees (and groves) in general” “Conifers and large tree species are coming out with deciduous and dwarf species are coming in.”
“Landscaping Standards final inspection is not consistently applied.”
“Design Review and code-required tree protection are being avoided.”
And then publicly they continue to say, as they did in the introduction to this ordinance, “The Mayor and City Council find that the City’s codes have evolved in recent decades such that there is generally less need to employ SEPA, because other City codes and requirements effectively mitigate environmental impacts.”
The Seattle Urban Forestry Commission in June provided the Council and the Mayor with a draft “Tree and Urban Forest Protection Ordinance” which the city has put on the back burner while they consider the issues. They have put the issue off until 2020 saying they need more public input.
Citizens can support this draft by going to www.DontClearcutSeattle.org and urging the city pass this legislation.