Update: June 2023
The latest draft Forestry and Natural Resources Plan (FNRP) is now available for public comment and we encourage you to provide your feedback to the County Staff. The final plan, for the first time, elevates our urban forests and natural resources as an integral component of the County’s Comprehensive Plan that drives County decision making. The plan is broad in scope and overall provides a good roadmap to addressing urgent challenges to our tree canopy and natural resources, including acknowledging the importance of creating “resilience in the face of climate change.” EcoAction Arlington had identified a number of areas for further improvement:
- Tree Canopy Equity is rightly placed within the top ten priorities for implementation, a priority for EcoAction Arlington these last few years, but the Draft Plan does not provide any specifics for funding the effort to address the gaping need to plant 20,000 trees in the equity areas.The Draft Plan fails to mention the extensive contributions that EcoAction Arlington, the Arlington Tree Stewards and the Forestry and Natural Resources Commission have made in running the Tree Canopy Fund and more recently in establishing the Tree Canopy Equity Program. More generally, these volunteer efforts and others should be touted as an important County resource throughout the document to encourage community involvement.
- We strongly support efforts to “consider” site plan condition amendments that will foster the urban natural landscape, but would prefer a stronger intent to “pursue” amended site plan conditions for large developments that increase native tree and shrub plantings and that do not exacerbate the already harmful heat island effect that afflicts many areas of the County.
- Deer control should be mentioned throughout the document because this native, but invasive species is depleting our forests of undergrowth and diverse saplings necessary to support a diverse habitat. The Draft Plan is inexplicably nearly silent on the need for deer control.
Complete the online feedback here by June 30. Attend one of two virtual open houses to meet team members, ask questions, and provide feedback on either Monday June 26, 1-3 pm or Wednesday, June 28, 10 am-12 pm – link is available here.
Ways to provide your feedback before October 3, 2022:
- Share your thoughts in the Online Feedback Form – this is a short survey that allows you to indicate your priorities for the plan and provide general comments.
- Provide comments directly in the draft – this allows you to make comments on specific components of the draft plan, which is is almost 100 pages long
- Email your comments directly to the Department of Parks and Recreation staff at: email@example.com
Arlington County is currently soliciting feedback on its draft Forestry and Natural Resources Plan (FNRP), which will guide County efforts to protect and enhance its tree canopy and natural resources for at least the next decade. County staff has produced a comprehensive plan that addresses the importance of equity in public spaces, public participation in preserving green spaces, engagement with Arlington Public Schools, acknowledgment of our natural resources as natural capital that requires sustained investment and maintenance, and inclusion of NOVA Parks in the Plan.
EcoAction Arlington has identified a number of elements of the Plan that should be prioritized and enhanced:
- Creation of a mechanism to assess the value of trees and natural areas in County planning decisions when protecting natural resources may conflict with other County goals to ensure full awareness of costs and benefits.
- More specific actions that rectify long standing inequitable access to tree canopy and green spaces for neighborhoods with low tree canopy and higher than average populations of minorities and poverty rates.
- Inclusion of actions such as conservation landscaping, tree preservation, and replacement of lawn and impervious surfaces that support ongoing County efforts to address stormwater runoff under its Flood Resilient Arlington program.
- Elevation of Action 2.3, Deepen Arlington’s Commitment to the Conservation of Trees and Natural Resources, to a Strategic Direction to highlight the importance of stewardship to the success of the FNRP.
- Greater focus on incentives and programs such as the Tree Canopy Fund, StormwaterWise and tax incentives for conservation easements through the Northern Virginia Conservation Trust to encourage property owners to enhance and protect the natural resources on their property with more trees, shrubs, and native plants and less lawn.
- Strengthened relationships with NOVA Parks to ensure park management aligns with County goals such as reducing invasive plants and erosion.
- Revised zoning, ordinances and site plan standards to better protect and enhance tree canopy and other natural resource goals of the FNRP.
- Expanded cooperation with Arlington Public Schools to help it preserve and enhance natural areas and incorporate nature-based curriculum into lesson plans.
- Inclusion of an indigenous peoples’ Land Acknowledgement at the beginning of the FNRP to highlight the importance of incorporating all voices, including those of future generations, in discussions of policy and actions.
Read EcoAction Arlington’s Letter
This content originally appeared in The EcoAdvocate newsletter produced by the EcoAction Arlington Advocacy Committee. For more information about the Advocacy Committee, please visit ecoactionarlington.org/get-involved/ecoaction-arlingtondvocacy/