February 1, 2006
The Sacramento Tree Foundation's Greenprint has put the urban forest on our region's agenda!
Our region is remarkably well suited to capture the benefits of trees. Our hot summers and cool winters enable us to maximize the benefits of shade trees in energy savings, air quality improvement, stormwater runoff retention, and community enhancement. These are some of the many reasons the Sacramento Tree Foundation has developed a regional plan for the planting and maintenance of trees within the Sacramento region. The “Greenprint” is a revolutionary plan that calls for cities and counties to work together to improve the quality of life for everyone in our area by planting and maintaining trees.
The Greenprint provides guidelines and goals to improve the way we plan, design and manage our trees and urban forest. The three main elements of the Greenprint are the management of public trees, policies and ordinances, and community partnerships. Each element contains long-term goals and benchmarks for incremental improvement called growth rings.
With the championship of many regional elected officials, 24 Sacramento Area Council of Governments cities and counties have formally adopted the Greenprint by resolution. Elected officials from around the region will meet with fellow elected urban forest champions on February 3rd to discuss regional urban forest goals and identify priorities and next steps. We are well on our way to building the best urban forest for our region!
The nine guiding principles of the Greenprint are included in the adopted resolutions:
1. We recognize the importance of tree canopies and their contributions to clean air and water, stormwater runoff reduction, energy conservation, improved public health, and increased property values;
2. We support the protection of native trees, woodlands and riparian areas as key features to sustain our ecosystems and promote our natural heritage;
3. We support the importance of citizen awareness and community involvement as major contributors to healthier urban forests, and in building neighborhood unity, community pride and civic trust.
4. We support the value of public-private partnerships with business and nonprofit organizations in order to mobilize resources, widen funding sources and increase the understanding of the importance of trees.
5. We support the development of urban forest best management practices, policies and ordinances and the adoption of urban forest master plans for each of our communities.
6. We support coordinated tree planting plans in order to double the tree canopy in our region.
7. We support the importance of nurseries and other green industries in providing highest quality tree stock and state-of-the-art tree and urban forest services.
8. We support a regional Greenprint steering committee of elected officials.
9. We support a Greenprint clearinghouse to provide high-quality technical information, education and funding resources to communities so they can expand, protect and steward their community trees and urban forest.
Action in our urban forest has already begun in the City of Elk Grove, where City staff members are revising the tree protection ordinance, developing a new oak tree mitigation program, and embarking upon a tree canopy cover assessment for the City. In Placerville, a volunteer citizen group has formed to develop landscape guidelines for the City of Placerville and El Dorado County. Other communities are reviewing their existing policies and programs to identify priorities for improvement.
Greenprint efforts began region-wide five years ago, following the State of the Trees Report (PDF), published by the Sacramento Tree Foundation in 2000. Elected officials from 20 cities and counties in the SACOG region signed a compact to collaborate on a framework for the region to double its tree canopy. Since the compact was signed, the Sacramento Tree Foundation launched an educational and public involvement campaign, developing educational materials and conducting more than 55 workshops, public meetings, and special presentations throughout the region. This campaign reached over 5,000 people including elected officials, government staff, community groups, residents, and tree advocates.
For a copy of our Greenprint, or more information, visit our website www.sactree.com.