Last week the City of Seattle created a nine-member Urban Forestry Commission “to advise the Mayor and City Council concerning the establishment of policy and regulations governing the protection, management and conservation of trees and vegetation in the City of Seattle.” The group will be made up of professionals of varying backgrounds (from wildlife biologists, arborists and non-profit representatives to LEED developers and economists, etc.) and will be concerned with assisting the city in

“undertaking efforts that promote the benefits of retaining and protecting the urban forest through the adoption of plans, policies and regulations protecting these resources including trees and vegetation…[and]… to balance their stated goals of protecting, maintaining and enhancing the Urban Forest while supporting future growth and density as provided in the City’s Comprehensive Plan and by other City actions taken in support of the Growth Management Act.”

Basically, if you like trees (and all the fun stuff they come with, like shade, clean air, reduced stormwater runoff, wildlife habitats, and beautiful fall colors), this is good news.

And if all this talk of trees and urban forests has you in a tizzy, you may be interested in Tree Fund 2009, brought to you by the Neighborhood Matching Fund and Seattle reLeaf. All you need is five or more households on a street to be able to receive 10 to 40 trees for your neighborhood and to fill out a simple application. New this year: Tree Fund participants who plant street tress in a group can also select one fruit tree to plant on their private properties (one per household). Applications are due August 21st and are served on a first-come, first-served basis. There is a catch: at least two neighbors must attend a “tree planting and maintenance training” session on Saturday, October 10th at 9:30am, and your trees will show up in October or November.

If you have general questions, you can call SuJ’n Chon at 206.615.1600 or Anne Takekawa at 206.684.4523 at the Department of Neighborhoods. If you have questions on tree planting requirements or tree varieties, call the City Arborist’s office at 206.684.8733 or e-mail

– Audrey

ECOSS News, Neighborhood News