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Hey Kirkland, How Do We Feel About Our Trees?

The city wants residents to take an online survey by Sept. 14 so it can shape its urban forest management.

The city of Kirkland is reaching out to the public through a 16-question survey aimed at gauging how the public understands and values its trees. Citizens have until Sept. 14 to respond. The results of this survey will be incorporated into a strategic plan and presented to the Kirkland City Council at the Oct. 2 study session. Ultimately, the resulting management plan will guide the way Kirkland manages its urban forest.

For more than a decade, the city of Kirkland has managed its urban forest through piecemeal policies, such as street tree planting requirements in developments. With these measures, Kirkland steadily progressed toward its city-wide 40 percent tree canopy cover goal, improving from 32 percent in 2003 to 36 percent in 2010. And then, on June 1, 2011, Kirkland achieved its canopy goal all at once—with the annexation of Kingsgate, North Juanita and especially Finn Hill. 

“Many of the old ‘To Do List’ items are checked off,” says Deb Powers, Kirkland’s Urban Forester. “The city has taken huge steps to manage its tree resource. But, if we’re thinking about sustainable cities, the questions now are: were these measures effective? Where do we go from here?”

To answer these questions, the city of Kirkland contracted the Davey Resource Group to analyze the city’s existing policies and practices. The resulting Urban Forest Strategic Management Plan—paid for with a Washington state Department of Natural Resources grant—will be Kirkland’s first comprehensive guide for creating efficient urban forest operations, policies and programs.

In 1998, American Forests completed an analysis of the Puget Sound's regional and neighborhood forests. The resulting report said decision makers should use tree canopies as indicators of communities' health.

Urban forests provide a variety of benefits including reducing stormwater runoff and erosion, improving air and water quality, and contributing to a city’s overall attractiveness and livability, the report said.

To take the City of Kirkland survey, visit https://www.research.net/s/K28JXQ5. For more information or for questions about the survey, contact Deb Powers, Urban Forester, (425) 587-3261 or by email dpowers@kirklandwa.gov

--Information provided by the city of Kirkland

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