Letter to the Editor: Substantive proposed tree codes are being denied

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

To the Editor

The Tree Preservation Code Team (TPCT) submitted proposed tree codes to the City in November 2020. Several of these proposed codes are tree definitions, and Amendment 10 will require 6’ height of tree protection and removal of floppy orange plastic at construction sites, which the Planning Commission recommends to Council.

However, several of the substantive proposed tree codes are being denied. These tree codes come before Council on March 21, 2022. Amendment 2, item 4, will make a difference in preserving trees in Shoreline. This proposed code revises the measurement of a Significant tree from 8” dbh (diameter at breast height) for conifers and 12” dbh for non-conifers, currently in Shoreline Municipal Code, to 6” dbh for all trees.

This measurement change means more established trees will mature and contribute to Shoreline’s tree canopy. The survival rate of tree replacements can be as low as 30%, but 6” trees are already established and will thrive.

On February 3, Commissioner Lin said she agrees with the recommendation of the 6” definition and Chair Sager agreed. Their consensus was they would like to see more study regarding this recommendation. TPCT provided more study including three science-based research articles supporting the importance of tree maturation. The three studies confirm that trees, if allowed to grow larger, will store greater amounts of carbon.

If Shoreline protects more trees 6” dbh trees, which are already established, these trees will have the opportunity to grow into mature trees, contribute to carbon sequestration, and be part of Shoreline’s tree canopy.

In addition, Shoreline will join many jurisdictions that include the 6” dbh Significant tree measurement including Edmonds, Lake Forest Park, Kirkland, Seattle, Redmond, Mountlake Terrace, Issaquah, Lynnwood, Woodinville, Bellingham, and Snohomish.

Bill Turner
Shoreline
former North Cascades National Park forester


1 comments:

Unknown March 15, 2022 at 2:10 PM  

I would 100% agree that we should protect these 6" established trees. But we also need to do something about the dismal (as low as) 30% survival rate for replacement trees. I see it often on my walks. A new development is built, trees planted, water bags installed, and then nothing. No one is taking responsibility to water the trees and they die during the first summer.

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