Priority Action 3.1. Update the Urban Forest Master Plan and the Natural Resources Management Plan through a combined process. 

The process for updating both the Urban Forest Master Plan and the Natural Resources Management Plan is expected to begin following the completion of the Public Spaces Master Plan. The Urban Forest Master Plan (adopted in 2004) and the Natural Resources Management Plan (adopted in 2010) are sub-elements of the Public Spaces Master Plan. These plans identify significant natural resources, including trees and forests, and provide recommendations and best practices to enhance, preserve and protect the County’s natural resources.  

The update of the Urban Forest Master Plan will include planning for the future of Arlington’s tree canopy, street trees and forests, taking into consideration the stressors of an increasingly densely populated urban environment, diseases and climate change. The update will also address preserving trees on public land, regulations and policies affecting trees, land use and development and tree planting strategies, along with setting long-term goals for improving Arlington’s trees, forests and tree canopy. The updated plan will also explore and recommend strategies to encourage preservation of trees on private property. The tree canopy studies performed in 2008, 2011 and 2017 and the i-Tree Eco study of 2016 will be used as benchmarks for planning. These studies showed significant tree loss on private property in many of Arlington’s neighborhoods. This information will inform tree canopy goals for the County.  

The update to the Natural Resources Management Plan will build on the successful implementation of many of the recommendations in the existing plan, focusing on strategies to minimize the loss of natural lands and resources, improve ecosystems and wildlife habitat through restoration, preserve and increase meadow and pollinator habitats, manage invasive species and provide educational outreach. In addition, the update will include best practices for natural resources protection and expansion, stream restoration, wildlife corridor planning and habitat improvement.  

Both plan updates will explore: 

  • Outreach strategies to neighborhood associations, faith-based communities and other resident-based groups. 
  • Strategies to collaborate with and utilize non-governmental and volunteer organizations. 
  • Discussions on methodology used to value trees and natural resources in the County. 
  • Explore ways the County can use economic incentives to preserve and promote tree canopy and natural lands on private property.