In response to enthusiastic resident support for Shoreline's urban forest, the City Council took the first official step toward becoming a Tree City USA by designating a Tree Manager and establishing a Tree Board. Over the coming year the City will work toward putting the rest of the required pieces in place so that Shoreline can assume official status as a Tree City USA city in 2013.
The Tree City USA program, sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation, provides direction, technical assistance, public attention and national recognition for urban and community forestry programs around the country. The Arbor Day Foundation has identified many benefits of Tree City USA recognition, including:
- Better care of community forests;
- Increased public awareness of the many social, economic and environmental benefits of strong urban forestry practices;
- Educational opportunities to improve current urban forestry practices;
- Provision of a blueprint for planting and maintaining community trees;
- Publicity opportunities through presentation of the Tree City USA award and the celebration of Arbor Day; and
- Regional and national branding through community signage that shows the community cares about its environment and supports tree preservation and planting.
To qualify as a Tree City USA, cities must meet four standards established by the Arbor Day Foundation and the National Association of State Foresters. These standards were established to ensure that every qualifying community would have a viable tree management plan and program. The standards as are follows:
1. Designate a responsible tree manager: The City Council has appointed Park Recreation and Cultural Services (PRCS) Director Dick Deal as the acting tree manager. In addition, the PRCS Board has been designated as the Tree Board. In consultation with staff arborists and community experts, the Tree Board will provide oversight of the City’s annual public tree care and management activities.
2. Adoption of a Tree Ordinance: The tree ordinance will provide clear guidance for tree management on public property.
3. Creation of a community Forestry Program with an annual budget of at least $2 per capita: The City’s current budgeted amount designated for tree management easily fits this criteria.
4. Establishment of an Arbor Day Observance and Proclamation: The City will officially observe Arbor Day in April and encourage the community to join the City in recognizing the importance of trees in our community.