Sustainable Management

The Lower Watershed
Downstream urban forest habitats

The Lower watershed members promote urban trees and their benefits, like stormwater management and healthier cities.

Our downstream urban forests provide significant environmental, social, economic and health related benefits to the watershed and all who live, work and play here. However, a growing population and increased development is putting pressure on these special environments.

Members of the Forest Community of Interest are working to expand forest stewardship in the Lower Watershed, focusing on public lands – such as those owned by the cities of Tacoma and Puyallup – as well as private properties through education and outreach, tree coupons, and other mechanisms. These efforts are already paying dividends as partners have launched and expanded multiple collaborative programs.

Everyone can help support the urban forest. Here are some ways to get started:

The Pierce Conservation District Discounted Tree Program educates homeowners about the benefits of the urban canopy and helps remove barriers to planting trees on private property. This innovative program includes a technical workshop and discount prices for trees. Homeowners reserve a selection of young trees (5-7 gallons), and pick them up at community events where they receive information for tree planting and maintenance.

The City of Tacoma Tree Coupon Program offers discounts on residential tree purchases at select local tree retailers. For a limited time during the fall planting season, coupons are valid and available to Pierce County residents for use. Trees purchased may be planted on private property or in the right-of-way (such as the planting strip) areas abutting their property. In 2016 the program was expanded to Pierce County residents.

Tacoma Needs Trees. In order for the City of Tacoma to reach stated tree canopy establishment goals, Tacoma citizens and community groups must mobilize to support our urban forest. In cities like Seattle and Portland, citizens advocate on behalf of trees by forming “Friends of Trees” groups. Tacoma Needs Trees will help lay the groundwork for a similar effort in Tacoma. Initial efforts will achieve the design and implementation of a website, printed materials and social media. With a communication foundation in place, we can host public events that bring people together to rally around reformed tree ordinances in the City of Tacoma.

The Green City Partnerships will engage community members in the Summit / Waller community, City of Tacoma, City of Puyallup, and Pierce County citizens who are interested in the Pipeline Trail and concerned about trees and the environment. This effort seeks to establish a plan for connecting Orange-gate Park with Swan Creek Park via the Pipeline Trail. As such, Puyallup Watershed Initiative partners will work with the community to identify opportunities for tree planting and green space restoration along the Pipeline Trail and Orange-Gate Parks.

Trees reduce crime. Apartment buildings with high levels of greenery have 52% fewer crimes than those without any trees.
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The lower watershed
The Lower Watershed
Mt. Rainier