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Posted on: April 18, 2019

City to Launch Green Issaquah Partnership

In the spirit of the City’s 26th Arbor Day as a Tree City USA and to celebrate the City’s long term commitment to caring for our urban forests, the City of Issaquah is excited to announce the Green Issaquah Partnership. 

Uniting with 13 other Green City Partnerships in the Puget Sound region and with the sustainability group Forterra, the Green Issaquah Partnership will build upon existing efforts to establish a city-wide community stewardship program to support long-term restoration and maintenance of Issaquah’s parks and natural areas. The Partnership will work to:

  • Enhance forest health and improve the quality of life and connections to nature for Issaquah residents; 
  • Galvanize an informed and active community of stewards; and 
  • Ensure long-term sustainable funding and community support of forest restoration efforts. 

As the Green Issaquah Partnership is being developed over the next year, stay tuned as the City will have opportunities for community engagement in 2019 to help build support in the development of this program with the goal of full launch in 2020.

 

ABOUT GREEN CITY PARTNERHSIPS

With a focus on regional sustainability, Forterra has been securing and caring for keystone places around Washington for thirty years.  Forterra’s Green City Partnerships bring together community members, local governments, businesses, schools and nonprofits to improve quality of life and connections to nature by restoring, planting and caring for trees in forested parks, natural areas, and neighborhoods throughout the city. 

 

With the addition of Issaquah there are now 14 Green Cities. The others are Seattle, Tacoma, Kirkland, Redmond, Kent, Puyallup, Everett, Tukwila, Snoqualmie, SeaTac, Burien, Des Moines, and Shoreline. Since 2005, collectively, these programs:
  • Serve 1.6M people in communities throughout the region 
  • Have 2,500 acres of parkland in restoration 
  • Installed 1.2 M native forest plants 
  • Mobilized more than 1.33 M hours of volunteerism (valued at $40 million) 

 

WHY URBAN TREES MATTER

A large body of scientific and economic research documents the many benefits of urban trees, including:

  • Filtering up to a third of fine particle pollutants within 300 yards of a tree. 
  • Reducing rates of asthma, cardiac disease, and strokes due to improved air quality. 
  • Cooling city streets by two to four degrees F, reducing deaths from heat and cutting energy use. 
  • Protecting biodiversity, including habitat for migrating birds and pollinators. 
  • Reducing obesity levels by increasing physical activity including walking and cycling. 
  • Managing stormwater, reducing urban flooding, and keeping pollutants out of waterways, including Puget Sound (and its threatened orcas). 
  • Increasing neighborhood property values. 
  • Reducing stress by buffering noise and bolstering mental wellbeing.  

 

Despite their importance, urban trees are disappearing. An April 18 paper authored by two U.S. Forest Service scientists found that metropolitan areas in the U.S. are losing about 36 million trees a year. 

In Washington State, the loss between 2009 and 2014 is estimated at 3,350 acres. Development is playing a part, but so too temperature increases and drought because of climate change. 

Healthy urban trees across the U.S. store an estimated 708 million tons of carbon, or roughly 13 percent of the country’s annual CO2 emissions.


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