Kirkland’s Planning Commission reviewed the city’s tree code in the summer and fall of 2018, and will recommend changes next year. File photo

Kirkland’s Planning Commission reviewed the city’s tree code in the summer and fall of 2018, and will recommend changes next year. File photo

Changes to Kirkland tree code aim to preserve canopy

The city has lost 270 acres of tree canopy since 2010, when the code was last updated.

Kirkland’s tree code, last updated in 2010, will receive another look in 2019.

The city’s Planning Commission has been reviewing the code, and on Feb. 14, 2019, will discuss proposed revisions. Trees provide numerous public benefits, which is why communities protect and maintain urban forests through tree codes, according to a city newsletter.

The purpose of the 2018 tree code revision is to support the goals established in Kirkland’s Comprehensive Plan and the Urban Forestry Strategic Management Plan, to address issues and challenges that have arisen since the last tree code revision and to update the code so that it is effective and practical to use.

When the tree code was first adopted, its goal was to achieve an overall 40 percent tree canopy cover citywide. That goal has since expanded through updates to the Comprehensive Plan to include achieving a healthy and resilient urban forest.

The city uses three performance measures to determine urban forest health and resiliency: canopy cover (the 2-D outline of tree leaves as seen from above), species diversity (more variety lowers the risk of losing entire tree populations) and uneven-aged trees (so that old and new trees provide an even succession of benefits over time).

A new urban tree canopy assessment shows there was a slight decrease in Kirkland’s canopy cover from 40 percent in 2010 to 38 percent citywide in 2018. This decrease amounts to about 270 acres of tree canopy — the size of two Juanita Bay Parks. The decrease in canopy cover may not be surprising given the unprecedented development that occurred in Kirkland during this timeframe, according to the city.

When looking at the pre-annexed city boundary, canopy cover increased from 32 percent in 2002 to 36 percent in 2010, then dropped to only 35 percent in 2018, showing that within the same boundary area, Kirkland’s canopy cover didn’t drop dramatically in the last eight-year measurement cycle.

Even though a city within 75-100 percent of its canopy cover goal is considered in the “optimal” range of performance, Kirkland still wants to look at ways to slow the loss of canopy cover. The city is taking that into account while considering changes to the tree code.

See www.kirklandwa.gov/treecodeupdates for more.

More in News

In this file photo, marchers make their way from Trinity Episcopal Church in Everett on Feb. 26, 2017. Muslim refugees’ admissions into the U.S. have declined by 85 percent since the Trump administration came into power in 2017, according to the International Rescue Committee. Sound Publishing file photo
Report: Fewer refugees settling in U.S. and Washington state

Admissions are on pace to only reach around one-fifth of their limit in 2019.

Caller concerned over dying racoon | Police Blotter

Police blotter for May 30-June 3.

Nurses, physicians and social workers continue their education on proper responses for human trafficking patients. Madeline Coats/staff photo
Health care professionals improve response for human trafficking victims

EvergreenHealth partnered with Seattle Against Slavery in the fight against labor and sex trafficking.

Kirkland faces a $10 million deficit next biennium

The city is already looking for ways to address it, but details will be scarce until this fall.

A high tide at Raymond’s Willapa Landing Park in Grays Harbor County, Washington. Sound Publishing file photo
On the West Coast, Washington is most prone to sea level rise damage

Report by the Center for Climate Integrity shows multibillion-dollar cost of battling back the sea.

Triplett talks 2019-20 Kirkland plans

The city manager addressed residents a Greater Kirkland Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

What’s next for Washington’s 2045 green energy goal?

The Legislature set the goal, but how does the state actually get there?

LWTech board extends contract for Morrison

College president Dr. Amy Morrison’s contract has been approved through 2024.

Most Read