ARLINGTON, Va. (WDVM) — Arlington County is updating its Forestry and Natural Resources Plan to conserve, plant, and maintain wildlife there. Over the next year, the project team will be collecting comments from the public about the county’s conservation and maintenance. The county hosted its first public comment session on Tuesday. 

Arlington County’s current Urban Forest Master Plan was approved in 2004. In 2017, the county assessed its tree canopy: the “fundamental benchmark of a healthy urban forest.” From 2011 to 2016, Arlington’s tree canopy increased by 165 acres. 38 percent of the county, including Ronald Reagan National Airport and the Pentagon, was covered by tree canopy. Residential and public spaces were home to the most trees. 

Nearly 3,000 acres were identified as having potential for tree planting. The Davey Resource Group, which assessed Arlington’s tree canopy, recommended the county use that space for planting and preserving trees or “retrofitting them with green infrastructure to…reduce the amount of impervious cover and stormwater runoff. Areas with high percentages of impervious land cover have a high runoff risk potential and should be priorities for tree planting.” 

Deputy Division Chief for Parks and Natural Resources David Farner is the project manager. 

“We think about climate change as being a global problem but everything starts in your own backyard,” he said. “So this plan — even though we’re a small county, anything that we can do locally will benefit the world.”

Farner will present the project to the county board in 2022.