Help Needed NOW! Urge Washington State Senators to Pass E2SHB 1216

Thanks to everyone for your  previous strong support and e-mails sent to the Senate Agriculture, Water, Natural Resources and Parks Committee. The Committee voted to remove a bad  amendment added to E2SHB 1216 at the last minute in the House. It would would have let private property owners “opt out” of local tree and urban forests ordinances. Public support to remove the bad amendment won in the end. It was removed.

E2SHB 1216 is currently in the Senate Ways and Means Committee. A Hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, March 30th at 1:30 PM.

E2SHB 1216 would provide $2.7 million per biennium for the Washington State Department of Natural Resources to assist cites, counties and tribes in doing tree inventories and canopy studies, developing Urban Forest Management Plans, and drafting Tree and Urban Forest Protection Ordinances. 

Your help is critical now to keep the bill moving and get it enacted into state law. Here’s how you can help.

Sign in “Pro” on E2SHB 1216

This must be done 1 hour before the Committee meets.

Send an e-mail now to State Senators urging they pass this bill!

Click on the link above to send Senators a pre-written e-mail that you can edit.

Once passed out of Ways and Means, E2SHB 1216 will go to the Senate floor for a final vote. Like we did in the House, we need to show strong public support to get this bill passed!

Thanks for your help.

Support SHB 1216  and all bills helping Urban and Community Forests

 

Support SHB 1216  and all bills helping Urban and Community Forests

 by Richard Ellison, Tree PAC Vice-Chair

comments to the WA State House Appropriations Committee on Feb 16, 2021

I am a botanist with a MS degree from Washington State University, and a retired community college adjunct professor, having taught over 20 years in the Puget Sound area. I am also a board member of TreePAC.org, a non-profit group advocating for the protection of the urban forest and its place as critical infrastructure in a climate changing world.

Urban trees and the few remaining forest fragments are critical in public health and for the ecosystem services they provide. The remaining big trees intercept the record rainfalls and slow down the movement of water into our overloaded combined sewer systems.

Trees provide essential habitats for our native wildlife who otherwise would be gone from urban areas. They provide a critical function of filtering our air of particulates and chemical pollutants, especially notable during hot summers, peak fire seasons, and temperature inversions. Trees provide critical shade in summers during record heat waves, greatly reducing the urban island heat effects. They provide emotional comfort to citizens stressed from a dense urban community and bring great pleasures to the elderly, families, and children.

Climate change is here, it’s no longer a myth. The summers are setting new record high temperatures. Is this year going to be the hottest, or do we get a lucky break like last summer? You know the trend is getting hotter and hotter. That’s what this is all about. Trees help keep us cooler, physically and emotionally. The urban island heat effect is real, and increased air conditioning won’t help us survive, and a long drought may just dry up a lot of hydropower availability as well.

Winter peak storm events? Record rains? Well the PNW has a long term answer to that – forests and wetlands. But now the wetlands are getting pinched and the forests are the remnant trees that developers and urbanists sometimes consider expendable, when we are most desperately in need of more tree canopy, not less.

Salmon and orca and even the ignored native octopus require clean runoff waters from our cities, and tree roots and healthy soils can help provide this. Ever see woodpeckers, owls, eagles, and osprey in our cities? I have, and they need big trees for habitat, that’s where they live, roost, reproduce and hunt, and their other wildlife kin need habitat, and urban trees provide those remnant habitats so necessary to keep the matrix of our states wildlife healthy.

And the poorest of our urban communities are being heavily impacted by rapid urban development, and we must help reduce environmental inequities of poor air quality, urban blight, and bad development practices by increasing our support to maintain and increase our support of tree planting and tree maintenance in these communities.

Washington State’s Department of Natural Resources currently partners with the US Forest Service’s Urban and Community Forestry Program. SHB 1216  would expand this partnership and so enable the Department of Natural Resources to assist communities with tree inventories and canopy analysis, the development of Urban Forestry Management Plans, and the drafting of local Tree Ordinances.

Additionally, these bills help set up the Evergreen Community Recognition Program to acknowledge those communities that are making strides in the management and protection of their urban and community forests.

Thank you for your consideration. Please support legislation to study, protect and improve our precious urban forest resources.

Take Action – Urge Washington Legislators to Pass HB 1216 to Increase Protection for Urban and Community Forests

 

 

Take Action – Urge Washington Legislators to Pass HB 1216
to Increase Protection for Urban and Community Forests

 

 

We need your help to increase protection for urban and community trees and forests in Washington State. HB 1216 has been introduced by Rep. Ramos and 8 other sponsors in the Washington State Legislature. It is a high priority bill to pass this session.

HB 1216 would direct the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to assist Washington cities and towns and counties in our state conducting tree inventories and canopy analysis, developing Urban Forestry Management Plans and drafting local Tree Ordinances.

This bill was requested by the Department of Natural Resources and is supported By Governor Jay Inslee. Governor Inslee has earmarked $2.1 million dollars in his proposed State Budget to support DNR’s efforts to increase protection for trees and urban forests. HB 1216 would help the state meet its goals of increasing climate resilience, protecting human health and addressing environmental equity.

HB 1216 had a hearing on Tuesday, Jan 26, 2021 at 10 AM in the House Rural Development, Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. To stay alive in the session, HB 1216 has to be voted out of the committee by Feb 15, 2021. It is currently scheduled for executive session on Wed, Feb 3rd, 2021 at 10 AM.  Once voted out of committee it will go to the House Appropriations Committee. It must be voted out of the Appropriations Committee by Feb. 22, 2021.

The quickest and easiest way to let House Rural Development, Agriculture and Natural Resources committee members know you support this bill is to send them an e-mail via Action Network. We have written a short e-mail draft supporting the bill to which you can add your own comments to personalize the message. With one click it will be sent to all the Committee members as well as the bill sponsors.

Submit Public Comment Now!

Thanks for your help.

Steve Zemke – Chair – Tree PAC
stevezemke@TreePAC.org

Bill information – HB 1216 – Go to this legislative page to see the proposed text of HB 1216, to see the sponsors of the bill, the House Bill analysis, the history of the bill, to indicate your support for the bill, to send an e-mail of support to your own Legislative District Legislators and to sign up to get e-mail notifications of any changes in the bill’s status.