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 Urban Tree Sale 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 Tree Foundation is a nonprofit dedicated to increasing access to trees in Tacoma and the South Sound. Tacoma Tree Foundation offers programs for all ages and levels of tree fan, including a Nature Explorers educational program, Tree Stewards trainings, and frequent pop-up tree giveaways. They also offer a wide array of virtual opportunities, such as monthly webinars on tree topics.
Forest Health Watch is a community science project to keep forests healthy, and individuals can contribute to research that will help scientists track and study emerging forest health problems. The current pilot project is focused on western redcedar dieback, and uses the iNaturalist platform to collect observations of dieback.
Trees promote human health. Research has found that city residents who live adjacent to green space have lower levels of illness and disease than other people of similar income levels.
Mitchell and Popham, 2008.