Urban Forestry Program Evaluation

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The Urban Forestry Program Evaluation has concluded. The report is posted on this page. 

The quality, health, and connectivity of our urban ecosystem is a major contributor to the quality of life for Fairfax City residents. Caring for the city’s urban forest is an important part of growing a sustainable, healthy, and vibrant city.

The City of Fairfax is developing an Urban Forestry Program to protect and enhance the city’s urban forest – trees, shrubs, and other vegetation within parks, along streets, in private yards, on empty lots, and in natural areas.

This project includes:

  • Evaluating existing policies and plans to gauge the city’s readiness for improved urban forest management;
  • Discussions and research to chart the city’s existing workflows and operations;
  • Assessments and analyses of existing conditions;
  • Benchmarking research to compare the city’s urban forest to industry standards;
  • Community engagement;
  • And a systematic urban forest audit.

Outcomes of these planning elements will inform recommendations in the Urban Forestry Program Evaluation Report. The final report will establish a clear set of attainable goals, priorities, and objectives related to the goal of maintaining a productive and beneficial urban forest.

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The quality, health, and connectivity of our urban ecosystem is a major contributor to the quality of life for Fairfax City residents. Caring for the city’s urban forest is an important part of growing a sustainable, healthy, and vibrant city.

The City of Fairfax is developing an Urban Forestry Program to protect and enhance the city’s urban forest – trees, shrubs, and other vegetation within parks, along streets, in private yards, on empty lots, and in natural areas.

This project includes:

  • Evaluating existing policies and plans to gauge the city’s readiness for improved urban forest management;
  • Discussions and research to chart the city’s existing workflows and operations;
  • Assessments and analyses of existing conditions;
  • Benchmarking research to compare the city’s urban forest to industry standards;
  • Community engagement;
  • And a systematic urban forest audit.

Outcomes of these planning elements will inform recommendations in the Urban Forestry Program Evaluation Report. The final report will establish a clear set of attainable goals, priorities, and objectives related to the goal of maintaining a productive and beneficial urban forest.

Join the Conversation

For the best experience, register to participate in all the activities. Take the poll, share your story, suggest an idea, and leave a comment.

Use the social buttons to invite others to participate in the discussion.

Share your stories about trees in the city.

Thank you for sharing your story with us. Please take the poll, suggest an idea, and leave a comment. 

CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

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    "...to PROTECT and enhance...."

    by incorrigible1, 5 months ago
    Delighted to learn of City of Fairfax efforts to move in Subject direction!


    During (but not restricted to) the past year, I've been dismayed to see the wholesale slaughter of many acres of fine mature trees that could have served as valuable enhancements to a new landscape as well as providing continuity to our ecosystem and to the beauty of our skyline. This has taken place, without any apparent City supervision or developer accountability, in various locations throughout Fairfax--and all in the name of "progress."


    Neglect of our environment is not progress; it is regress. Exercising conscientiousness about... Continue reading

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    Inequitable, costly ordinance

    by Stonewall Resident, 6 months ago

    My experience speaks to my experiences regarding personal, residential and church properties only. I cannot speak to the details of all of the city’s tree ordinances; just to one in particular about which I feel strongly.

    As I understand one of the ordinances, residential properties over a half an acre require a permit to remove a tree. It doesn’t matter if the tree is dying, already dead or is presenting a danger to the homeowner or neighbors. IF a permit is granted and the tree is removed, there is a part II to the permit. If removal of the tree... Continue reading

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    Creating an Urban Forester Position- a Step in the Right Direction!

    by Katy J., 6 months ago

    The City needs to fully fund and equip an Urban Forestry Program to be successful in the building and maintaining of our Urban Forests.

    With a replacement value of of $11.3M as noted on page 18 of the report, the Urban Forester Position needs to carry sufficient authority to be able to actually protect this valuable and irreplaceable resource.

    This position should not be buried in an existing department out of convenience.

    Our Urban Forester needs to be able to work across departments and would fit nicely into an Environmental Sustainability Department, which I hope the City is working toward... Continue reading

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    Hooray for Urban Forestry Program - Scenario D!

    by Erin, 6 months ago

    I urge the city to go with Scenario D in the report which would include the Program in a new Office of Environment and Sustainability. It is the only option that would give us an Independent Urban Forester with sufficient authority to protect our trees. It would not work for the Program to be buried within PRD, or even DPW and certainly not CDP. It may require more effort to set up a new office but will save in the long run. Scenario D would eliminate redundancies across departments and make it easier to identify, budget for and, yes, reduce... Continue reading

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    Unbiased Urban Forestry Officer Needed

    by Leslie, 6 months ago
    Currently, the emphasis in Fairfax City seems to be to build as much as possible to increase our tax base given how much tax revenues have dropped. I understand this to an extent, we need tax money to keep up all the amenities that make Fairfax such a good place to live. However, we need someone to manage the outdoor areas of this city who can be outside that nucleus of people focused on bringing in tax revenue; someone who will fight to keep our parks and forested areas (neighborhoods included) as beautiful as they are now and not just... Continue reading
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    I support creating an urban forestry program

    by Doug, 6 months ago
    This is a good start - glad to see the city stepping up. We need to be part of efforts across the region to provide continuity of the urban forest and support the regional wildlife.
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    We urgently need an Urban Forestry Program

    by Gaia, 6 months ago
    Our City has a mature tree population and many wonderful woodlands, natural areas and streams. However, left without proper management these areas are being overrun by invasive plants, which can destroy even large trees over a surprisingly short span of time, and inadequate protection and no long term planning. Our staff does its best, but we need expertise in a position of authority within the city organization to implement a robust and focused urban forestry management program. I am very supportive of the overall endeavor exemplified by this report to do a better job of caring for and ensuring the... Continue reading
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    Tree Planting

    by Dak, 7 months ago
    City of Fairfax does have the right to force private property owners to plant new trees in their property if it is a redevelopment or a new development to meet the canopy requirement per city code.


    City of Fairfax needs to prevent landscape contractors from applying volcanic mulch to existing trees which are killing hundreds of street tree every year.

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    Judicial Drive trees

    by DJS, 7 months ago
    The trees planted on Judicial Drive near Main Street are in a foot wide grass strip between the curb and sidewalk. Trucks regularly clip the branches that stretch toward the street, and it’s only a matter of time before tree roots uplift the sidewalk. The only reason I can think of as to why they were planted there is for the benefit to the developer. As the trees mature, who is responsible for trimming them and repairing the sidewalk - the Cameron Glen HOA, or my tax dollars?
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    Forester and Arborist perspective.

    by Edward, 7 months ago
    I have read the report and several alarm bells have gone off. The report is full of buzz words and statements that makes one think that the city has the best intentions while implementing this new program, however when the term “private property” is used I find this extremely bad. I would like to remind the city, you have no jurisdiction on privately property when it comes to trees. Development and hazardous conditions that affect public land is where your authority ends. You go to far with this expect law suits.