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Coordinator’s Corner — November

November 9, 2016

October was a great month for planting trees, and there was plenty of moisture to help new trees re-establish roots in their new permanent location. As a matter of fact, we experienced record-breaking rainfall on both sides of the state; and I thought it was only Olympia, otherwise known as H2Oly, that was awash in precipitation.

Now, as we move into November, I’m reminded of the delight of changing seasons. As days get darker, we tend to spend more time indoors finally attending to those ‘inside’ things, including catching up on reading and planning.

This is a good time of the year to look back over program accomplishments and finalize this year’s annual Tree City USA report (due December 1). It’s also a good time to look forward and plan next year’s tree-related activities. Check out the non-profit Pennsylvania Urban and Community Forests’ annual work plan fact sheet to help identify, prioritize and schedule urban forestry tasks throughout the year.

growth logoOnce you’re done, consider applying for a Tree City growth award. Many communities have made achieving a growth award an annual goal and plan activities toward that accomplishment. You can get some great ideas just by looking over the eligible activities in each of four different program areas.

If you are filling out the Tree City application for the first time, congratulations! You will soon join the ‘family’ of Washington communities who see the value in managing community trees for the many benefits they provide.

Since our grant application season is now open, you might consider looking over this year’s requests for proposals and applying for a community forestry assistance grant or a tree planting and maintenance grant. Grant proposals are due on December 9.

As you read and plan, remember that if you have any questions or need assistance with applications, we are here to help.

Happy reading and happy November.

By Linden J. Lampman, program manager, DNR Urban and Community Forestry Program

2017 Urban & Community Forestry Grants Deadline is Friday, Dec. 9

November 9, 2016

The DNR Urban & Community Forestry Program is pleased to announce our grant program for 2017. There are two big changes to the grants this year: 1) Inventory grants will not be offered; and, 2) the Tree City USA Tree Planting Grants have been expanded to include maintenance projects.

This year’s urban and community forestry grants are available in two categories:

  • Community Forestry Assistance (CFA) Grants (download the RFP and Grant Application)
    • Community Forestry Assistance grants provide financial assistance to communities to help develop powerful, sustainable urban forestry programs. The intent of this grant is to assist communities to develop urban forest planning and programming tools and activities that may not otherwise receive local funding.
    • Acceptable projects shall focus on programmatic development, including urban forestry management plans, maintenance plans based on current tree inventory data (performed or updated within the last 5 years), urban forestry strategic plans, or other critical management components.
    • Community Forestry Assistance grant awards will be up to $15,000 per community. A 1:1 match (in-kind or financial) is required.
    • Community Forestry Assistance Grants are available to tribal governments, educational institutions, and local governments such as cities, towns, and counties in Washington state.
  • Tree City USA Tree Planting & Maintenance Grants (download the RFP and Grant Application)
    • The 2016 Tree City USA Tree Planting and Maintenance Grants support communities working to improve and enhance tree canopy cover as a component of a comprehensive urban and community forestry management program.
    • Grant awards will be up to $15,000 per community. A 1:1 match (in-kind or financial) is required.
    • Proposed projects should be based on an overall vision of enhancing community canopy coverage, sustaining and enhancing the community as a livable place, and developing an extensive, thriving urban forest that provides multiple aesthetic, social, ecological, and environmental benefits.
    • Applicants’ proposed projects must fit into one of the following three categories:
      • Replace trees lost to natural events;
      • Prune trees to restore the health and structural stability of trees within the urban forest.  All pruning must be by an arborist certified by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA); or
      • Demonstration tree planting projects.
    • Tree Planting and Maintenance Grants are available only to Washington cities and towns that have earned the Tree City USA Award or those communities actively pursuing the Tree City USA designation with intention to apply for Tree City USA status in December 2016. (Please contact the Grant Coordinator if you plan to apply for this designation.) Nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, or tribal governments may apply in partnership with TCUSA communities.

The Community Forestry Assistance Grants are available to tribal governments, educational institutions, 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations and local governments such as cities, towns, and counties in Washington state.  The Tree City USA Tree Planting and Maintenance Grants are only available to Washington cities and towns that have earned the Tree City USA Award or to communities that are actively pursuing the Tree City USA designation and intend to apply for Tree City USA status in December 2016.

Grants are due by 4:00 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. Please contact the Urban & Community Forestry Program Manager, Linden Lampman at 360-902-1703 or linden.lampman@dnr.wa.gov for any questions about the 2017 applications.

Urban Forest Carbon Registry Works to Create New Revenue for City Trees

November 9, 2016

The urban forests of Washington and the United States are long overdue to earn certified carbon credits.

Carbon buyers purchased $700 million in carbon credits in the U.S. over the last decade ($4.5 billion worldwide). Yet, not a single dollar of that money can go to the trees in the cities and towns of America.

Research has documented tremendous benefits and values of ecosystem services provided by trees in cities; however, urban forests receive relatively little funding as municipalities struggle to meet basic utility and human service needs.

Our organization, the Seattle-based Urban Forest Carbon Registry (the Registry), is a 501(c) 3 non-profit that is working to open a new funding source for urban forests.

Currently, we are developing a practical carbon protocol for urban forestry projects, which will be the “rulebook” that projects must follow to earn certified credits. We are also establishing a registry to certify and track urban forest carbon projects and credits.

We assembled a national group of stakeholders from many areas of urban forestry—municipal foresters, non-profit organizations, utility providers, tree care industry professionals, scientists, etc.—to draft two urban forest protocols, one for tree planting and a second for tree preservation.

Here is how the credits will work:

An applicant wishing to obtain credits will design an urban forestry project according to our protocol. The applicant will then submit an application to the Registry requesting credits for their project.

The Registry will review the application, verify compliance with the protocol, and certify the project. As the project is implemented, the Registry issues credits in intervals over a 25-year period as specified project benchmarks are met. The Registry verifies that credited trees are still alive and healthy at each project benchmark before the next round of credits can be issued to the applicant.

Carbon buyers will purchase credits from project applicants directly and not from the Registry. This puts revenue from certified carbon credit sales directly in the hands of those who need those monies to recoup initial project costs, maintain the credited trees, or fund other urban forestry projects that in turn may be eligible for additional credits.

Carbon offset credits in established markets account for one metric tonne of carbon per credit, however Urban Forest Carbon Registry is creating “bundled” credits with our own brand, called Community Carbon Credits. These credits will include the added value of other ecosystem benefits, such as storm water retention and cooling, in addition to the value of carbon.

This system will establish a new funding source for urban and community forestry in the United States, however there is more work to be done. Would you like your urban forest projects to generate carbon revenue? You can help our effort by reviewing the protocol drafts and submitting comments on them.

With your help, we can finalize workable urban forest protocols that could enable cities and towns, non-profit organizations, educational institutions and other stakeholders to supplement their urban forestry program dollars with carbon revenues.

Please go to www.ufregistry.org to download copies of the protocols or learn more about Urban Forestry Carbon Registry. Questions about the Registry can be directed to info@ufregistry.org.

By Mark McPherson, Executive Director, Urban Forest Carbon Registry. Mark is a Seattle-based lawyer and business person and has been active in urban forestry for many years before founding the non-profit Urban Forest Carbon Registry in 2015.  

POLL: 2017 Urban Forestry Seminar Topic

November 9, 2016

The 2016 Community Trees Seminar, “Quality Trees, Quality Cities” has been a success in eight Washington cities this year: Bellevue, Mount Vernon, Olympia, Poulsbo, Richland, Spokane, Vancouver and Wenatchee.

We’re now planning a new seminar in 2017 and have developed a short list of potential topics. Whether you’ve participated in one of our past seminars or would like to attend a future one, please vote for the topic that you would most like to see offered in 2017. Each respondent may select up to two options.

Other details such as the dates and locations of 2017 seminars are yet to be determined. The 2017 seminars will be formally advertised no later than March 1, 2017. Keep an eye on the TreeLink for updates and announcements.

For questions about this poll or the community tree seminars in general, contact us at urban_forestry@dnr.wa.gov.

From the Field: Celebrating Urban Forestry, Recognizing Advocates in Spokane

November 9, 2016

Autumn is a wonderful season for trees, and Spokane is an equally wonderful place to celebrate them.

As you may recall, Spokane was walloped with a windstorm of historic proportions approximately one year ago in November 2015. The city’s Webster Park and surrounding neighborhoods in Northwest Spokane were hit particularly hard, resulting in downed trees and a reduction in tree canopy coverage.

When the Washington Community Forestry Council (WCFC) decided to hold their October meeting in Spokane, they saw it as an opportunity to help the city restore their urban forest as a celebration of Urban and Community Forestry Month. On Tuesday, Oct. 18, some 40 new trees were planted in three locations, including Spokane’s Webster Park.

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Patty Danner, a Spokane conservationist, center, blue, throws a shovel of dirt on a newly planted Japanese tree lilac during a public ceremony on Tuesday, Oct 18, 2016, at Webster Park in Spokane, Wash. (Photo by Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

Representatives from Avista Utilities and other Tree City USA communities in the region also attended this event, including Colfax, Fairfield, Farmington, Liberty Lake, Millwood and Ritzville. Washington’s State Forester, Aaron Everett, was on hand to thank these cities for the work they do, and to offer his sincere appreciation for those advocating for healthy urban forests in the Spokane area.

Forty trees were planted because 2016 marks the 40th anniversary of the Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree City USA Program. Spokane has been recognized as a Tree City USA for the last 13 years. In addition to all the awards and accolades, some of the trees planted became part of the Susie Forest.

The Susie Forest is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization based in Spokane that works to plant trees with greater meaning attached to them. Susie Trees are trees that celebrate, commemorate or memorialize, so it was only fitting to help grow the Susie Forest as part of this celebration.

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Ed Lester receives the Urban Forest Stewardship Award from WCFC member Cindy Deffe. Photo by Linden Lampman / DNR

The following day, on Wednesday, Oct. 19, the WCFC held its October meeting at Finch Arboretum in Spokane. As the council paused for lunch that day, they recognized another local tree advocate, Ed Lester, by presenting him with their Urban Forestry Stewardship Award.

Ed Lester is a retired orthopedic surgeon with a relentless passion for trees and forests. He and his wife Kay own two tree farms in Washington, which are frequently used as outdoor classrooms to teach students, master gardeners and other forest landowners about forest stewardship. Ed volunteers with the Spokane Master Gardeners to teach classes on tree identification and has designed and led numerous tree walks in Spokane. He is particularly interested in trees that may be the oldest, largest and rarest for their species, so much that it drove him to write a 600-page book about such noteworthy trees in the greater Spokane area. Considering these and his other accomplishments, it comes as no surprise he should be recognized by the WCFC as well.

So…

To the elected officials, staff, non-profit groups, volunteers, advocates and other urban forestry stakeholders in the Spokane area, THANK YOU for all of your hard work on behalf of trees.

Gypsy Moth Catches Down, No Catches in Areas Treated this Spring

November 9, 2016
WSDA gypsy moth trapper

WSDA setting Gypsy Moth traps. Photo by WSDA

The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) has caught 25 gypsy moths during its annual trapping, down from the 42 moths caught in 2015.

Beginning this past June, WSDA placed more than 30,000 orange triangle-shaped traps on trees throughout the state to monitor for gypsy moths. The traps contained a pheromone lure to attract male gypsy moths. WSDA caught moths from July 21 until their last catch on Sept. 8. Moths were captured in Clark (1), Cowlitz (1), King (7), Kitsap (8), Kittitas (1), Mason (1), Pierce (4), Spokane (1), and Thurston (1) counties.

In the spring of 2016, WSDA conducted the second largest gypsy moth eradication effort in its history, treating more than 10,000 acres, including areas of Seattle and Tacoma. WSDA used a biological insecticide approved for organic farming and gardening. Six of the sites were treated for Asian gypsy moth and one site (Seattle) was treated for a European gypsy moth introduction.

None of the moths caught this summer were located in the areas that were treated for gypsy moth this past spring. Additionally, no Asian gypsy moths were caught this year after last year’s record catch of 10 Asian gypsy moths.

gypsy moth caterpillar us fish and wildlife service-ATTRI-REQ

Gypsy moth caterpillar. Photo by US Fish and Wildlife Service

“While it is too early to declare the spring treatments a success, this year’s trapping results are very encouraging,” said Jim Marra, WSDA’s Pest Program Manager in charge of the gypsy moth program. Two to three years of trapping after treatment are necessary before WSDA determines whether a treatment has been successful.

This news comes on the heels of the largest gypsy moth outbreak in Eastern states since 1980, where the defoliation from hundreds of thousands of acres of trees could be seen from space this past summer. “By supporting eradication treatments when necessary and allowing insect traps, our communities are helping ensure that kind of destruction never happens here,” Marra said.

WSDA’s next step is to conduct egg mass surveys to look for signs of reproducing populations of gypsy moths in the catch areas. Once completed, the catch and egg mass survey data will inform WSDA’s decision about what, if any, gypsy moth treatments may be necessary in 2017.

Visit WSDA’s website at agr.wa.gov/gypsymoth for a detailed list of the 2016 gypsy moth catches.

By Karla Salp, Community Outreach and Environmental Education Specialist, Washington State Department of Agriculture.

Coordinator’s Corner — October

October 10, 2016

October is proclaimed by Governor Inslee as Urban and Community Forestry Month in Washington. This month, we pause to recognize the social, economic and environmental values trees provide to communities, plus we dig in the dirt a bit as we add new trees to the landscape.

Fall is a great time to plant, whether it is a single tree in the landscape or hundreds in urban natural areas. You can find events throughout the state, if you’d like to join a planting party.

One event will be held in Spokane on Oct. 18. The city will be planting 40 trees to celebrate October as Urban and Community Forestry Month, commemorate the 40th anniversary of the national Tree City USA program, recognize the excellent urban forestry program in Spokane, add to the number of trees in “the Susie Forest” and to help the city, in part, to recover from the large number of trees lost during last winter’s devastating wind storm.

Funding for the 40-tree planting project is through a grant from the DNR Urban and Community Forestry Program in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service.

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Historic Morton Barn, Arbor Day Farm, Nebraska City, NE. Photo: Ben Thompson.

Grant Offerings

October is the month we announce requests for proposals for urban forestry grants. This year, we are offering two funding opportunities for 2017; the Tree City USA Tree Planting and Maintenance Grant and the Community Forestry Assistance Grant.

The Community Forestry Assistance Grant provides funding for tree management in communities, particularly targeting those with recent tree inventory data. Funding is for the development of or updates to a city tree ordinance, long-term tree management plans, or short and long-range maintenance plans.

We’ve offered tree planting grants in the past, but this is the first year we have offered maintenance grants for structural, health, or recovery tree pruning. Because Tree City USA-designated communities are actively managing trees, the grant is open only to these communities or to communities who apply to become a Tree City in 2016.

In addition to the larger grants, we still have Tree City USA Arbor Day Grants available. These small ($500) grants are intended to help your community purchase a nice landscape tree for your fall Arbor Day celebration. Find more information about these grants on our webpage.

Application Portal

October is also the month that the online Tree City USA application portal is open. You can start your re-application any time now. If you are applying for the first time, then you’ll need to follow the prompts from the portal to establish a username and password first.  If your community is interested in submitting a first-time Tree City USA application in order to be eligible for grant funding, please contact us at urban_forestry@dnr.wa.gov or call one of the urban forestry staff (listed in the side bar under contacts).

Best wishes for a tree-ly fantastic October!

By Linden J. Lampman, program manager, DNR Urban and Community Forestry Program