By Tara Luckie, Education and Outreach Program Manager at Snohomish Conservation District

The Puget Sound region is experiencing an incredible amount of growth and with this surge in development comes more impervious surfaces, more surface water runoff, and significantly fewer trees. Not only does this change our landscape, it also results in the loss of an important asset in stormwater management. 

Growth planning and management policies rarely embrace trees as part of the stormwater solution, despite the fact that they can reduce flooding, filter pollutants, and prevent erosion, in addition to providing wildlife habitat, shade, and improved air quality. 

The Puget Sound Urban Tree Canopy and Stormwater Management Handbook is one part of a recent effort to change this. Developed by the King Conservation District, this handbook brought together urban forestry and stormwater management professionals to create a document that provides research on the benefits of urban trees, the findings of a tree canopy/hydrology modeling study, and case studies on the advantages of collaboration when designing and implementing green stormwater infrastructure.

Tours of Green Stormwater Infrastructure Projects: 

Throughout May, there are opportunities across Puget Sound where you can participate in tours of on-the-ground green stormwater infrastructure projects:

May 12 in Puyallup– Tour Clark’s Creek Basin, a partnership between the City of Puyallup Water Resource Division and Pierce Conservation District, which relocated approximately 1,000 linear feet of a creek from an existing ditch into a natural meandering stream with an adjacent floodplain, wetlands, and riparian habitat. Register and learn more here.

May 19 in Renton– Tour the recently completed Renton Green Stormwater project. Renton’s urban forester, project manager, and surface water utility staff will share the journey to this successful implementation in a residential neighborhood and discuss the importance of embarking on green stormwater infrastructure with interdepartmental collaboration. Register and learn more here.

May 26 in Arlington-Tour the City of Arlington’s 10+ acre Old Town Wetland, which has been designed to deposit sediment and litter; filter and store nutrients; foster the photodegradation of chemicals; lower water temperatures; restore dissolved oxygen; recharge groundwater; and enhance summer baseflow in the Stillaguamish River. Register and learn more here.

Coming Soon! Urban Tree and Forest Canopy Cover Toolkit

Snohomish Conservation District, in partnership with Whatcom Conservation District, cities, state agencies, and nonprofit partners, is also working on the Urban Tree and Forest Canopy Cover Toolkit which will be released in the fall. This web-based toolkit will help municipalities develop policies and implement community investment programs to enhance tree cover for stormwater management and habitat restoration, and address equity disparities related to urban tree cover.

Interested in learning more? 

Find out more about The Puget Sound Urban Tree Canopy and Stormwater Management Handbook with this 40-minute webinar. It dives into the handbook’s information, incentives, tools, and other resources related to the many benefits of urban trees. 

Thank you to the Department of Natural Resources Urban & Community Forestry Program for funding our green infrastructure city tours and the Handbook webinar.