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Addressing Loss of Tree Cover in Urban Watersheds: The Importance of Local Codes and Policies

Addressing Loss of Tree Cover in Urban Watersheds: The Importance of Local Codes and Policies
May 13, 2020

Across the country, a number of cities are setting ambitious tree canopy goals to fight the trend of a decline in tree canopy. Among the many causes of canopy loss, development is a key driver, and is one that communities can significantly influence through local codes, ordinances and other planning tools. In 2018, the Center for Watershed Protection released the guide “Making your Community Forest-Friendly: A Worksheet for Review of Municipal Codes and Ordinances” to help communities better address these challenges. In this webinar, Karen Cappiella of the Center for Watershed Protection will provide an overview of this tool and share a related research project that is being conducted in the Delaware River watershed. Lydia Scott of the Chicago Region Trees Initiative will share successful strategies and lessons learned from efforts to help strengthen tree preservation ordinances across the 284 municipalities in the Chicago region and also across the state of Illinois.

Presentations

View the webinar podcast »

Addressing Loss of Tree Cover in Urban Watersheds: The Importance of Local Codes and Policies

Evaluating Municipal Forest Protection Capacity with the Forest–Friendly Code and Ordinance Worksheet
Karen Cappiella
Director of Natural Resources
Center for Watershed Protection

Ordinances and Policy Tools, Lake Michigan Watershed – Chicago Region
Lydia Scott
Director
Chicago Region Trees Initiative

Resources

Resources Mentioned in the Webinar

Making your Communities Forest-Friendly: A Worksheet for Review of Municipal Codes and Ordinances
This worksheet was designed to help communities review and revise their development regulations, so that future projects conserve and protect valuable trees and woodlands and encourage new plantings.

Chicago Region Trees Initiative:

CRTI provides a three tiered model ordinance structure (gold/silver/bronze) which allows different entry points for a community to become engaged and opportunities to move to a higher level of ordinance as time and resources permit. The approach recommends ordinances be based on an Urban Forest Management Plan, with adaptable plan template provided.

By combining forest composition, canopy cover, operational capacity, and socio-economic data, CRTI looks for patterns and identifies priority areas for improving the urban forest.

This storymap allows users to explore where trees are expected to have the most impact across a suite of variables. 

US Forest Service Resources

Vibrant Cities Lab: Urban Forestry Toolkit online guide, adapted from Michael Leff, The Sustainable Urban Forest: A Step-by-Step Approach. U.S. Forest Service and Davey Institute, 2016.

Urban Watershed Forestry Manuals, Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3. Three part series produced in partnership with Center for Watershed Protection.