Trees are an important part of Kirkland's community character, providing enormous environmental, economic, and social benefits; all of which are increasingly important in urban settings. Unfortunately, many elements negatively affect trees, shortening their normal life expectancy. Because of this, the urban forest
requires active stewardship to ensure trees remain healthy, sustainable, and functioning assets.
Recognizing the value and benefits of the urban forest, the City developed a coordinated and adaptive approach to the care and maintenance of our trees. Adopted in June 2013, the intent of Kirkland's Urban Forest Strategic Management Plan
is to establish a foundation for well-coordinated, consistent, efficient, and sustainable urban forest management over a long term horizon.
The resulting plan is organized by four areas of sustainable urban forest management: the Asset
or the trees themselves; the City's Guiding Policies and Regulations
meant to protect the asset; the Municipal Program
, or the organization and resources dedicated to the resource; and Community Interactions
of groups and individuals outside the City who are engaged in urban forestry issues.
Public feedback was sought during the development of this Plan to ensure that the City's efforts are aligned with the community. The resulting objectives are considered the most feasible accomplishments that can be addressed by the City in the next six years:
- Update and maintain public tree inventories
- Determine the value, functions, and benefits of the urban forest
- Conduct public outreach re: tree regulations
- Update tree codes and ordinances
- Establish tree planting and maintenance guidelines
- Further develop the urban forestry program
- Provide adequate public tree maintenance resources
- Quantify the value, functions, and benefits of the urban forest
- Develop annual report/annual work plans with tracking and performance measures
- Support community involvement in urban forestry issues
- Dedicate resources for ongoing public outreach & education (Heritage Tree program, etc.)
- Support further growth of the Green Kirkland Partnership
Operational and management priorities will be reviewed on an annual basis, with an annual report provided to the Kirkland City Council and appended to the strategic plan document. With annual review and periodic updates, the Plan remains effective and relevant to the community through 2037, while providing a template for sustainable urban forest management for the next 20-year planning cycle.