For Immediate Release
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Contact: Susan Kalish 703-228-3330 (voice) 703-228-4743(TTY)
ARLINGTON, Va. – The Arlington County Board today acted to enhance the County’s tree canopy by establishing the Arlington Tree Canopy Fund, which will give grants to community groups to plant and maintain trees on private property.
The County will partner with Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment (ACE) to administer the new program and award grants. Arlington County civic associations and other community groups will be eligible for tree-related grants for their neighborhoods.
“What is innovative about this program is the County’s decision to fund, through a non-profit group, tree planting on private property,” said County Board Chairman Paul Ferguson. “In establishing this fund, the Board is underscoring Arlington’s deep commitment to nurturing a healthy urban forest that can help keep temperatures down in our homes and businesses, and make our community an even more pedestrian-friendly place. I see the Tree Canopy Fund as part of Fresh AIRE (Arlington Initiative to Reduce Emissions), the County’s campaign to combat climate change on the local level.”
The main source of funding will be developers, who will contribute when they cannot meet tree planting requirements on their property due to site constraints. Developers will contribute $2,400 for every tree that cannot be placed on site. The money will be distributed to community groups based on an assessment of their needs and their application for the funds. Contributions also are welcomed from businesses, organizations and individuals.
Arlington’s Urban Forestry Advisory Commission helped develop the program, which we believe is the only one of its kind in Virginia.
Since the 1970s, Arlington County has lost a significant amount of tree canopy coverage. It is estimated that more than 3,000 acres have been converted from “heavy” tree cover (more than 50% canopy) to “low” tree cover (less than 20% canopy) in the past three decades. Most of that loss has occurred on private properties.
The County has an aggressive tree-planting program on public property, planting more than 1,200 trees annually. But it will take more tree planting on private land to create a healthy urban forest. Space for planting on public property is limited, and planting strips between the curb and sidewalk are usually very narrow, with limited potential for tree roots to expand and nourish healthy trees. Planting trees in private yards offers more room for roots to grow and a better chance for trees to thrive.
The Board’s action paves the way for the County and ACE to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the program’s administration. Details on how groups can apply for grants and participate in this program will be provided to civic associations and other community groups once the MOU is signed.
To learn more about Arlington’s urban forest and how to care for trees, visit the County website.
Arlington, Va., is a world-class residential, business and tourist location that was originally part of the "10 miles square" parcel of land surveyed in 1791 to be the Nation's Capital. It is the geographically smallest self-governing county in the United States, occupying slightly less than 26 square miles. Arlington maintains a rich variety of stable neighborhoods, quality schools and enlightened land use, and received the Environmental Protection Agency's highest award for "Smart Growth" in 2002. Home to some of the most influential organizations in the world - including the Pentagon - Arlington stands out as one of America's preeminent places to live, visit and do business.