D.C. Receives Highest Marks Yet On 11th Annual Tree Report Card

Washington, D.C.: Casey Trees’ Tree Report Card, the only independent assessment of D.C.’s trees on both public and private lands, gives the nation’s capital an A for 2018. Gains in tree planting and protection through partnerships with city agencies, coupled with a strong performance in overall tree canopy coverage helped the District maintain its highest grade on the eleventh anniversary of the assessment.

Executive Director, Mark Buscaino, is encouraged by the progress, but urges that we must act now to preserve healthy soil, so we can plan for future residents, and for future trees. “Despite the progress, a growing threat persists: an increasingly large portion of D.C.’s land is covered by concrete and asphalt. With a growing population and the need for more housing, this trend will only continue. More hard surfaces means more stormwater runoff and increased pollution to the city’s already compromised waterways. It is important to recognize that over 41 percent of the District’s land is covered by impervious surfaces, which exceeds the city’s canopy cover of 38 percent. Think about that – our City of Trees has more roads, buildings and parking lots than trees – and that should concern us all. ”

Recommendations put forth by the Tree Report Card ensure that steps are taken to stem the loss of greenspace and balance impervious surfaces, which are growing at an alarming rate. These include, but are not limited to, adopting a city-wide impervious surface maximum percentage, establishing conservation easements in each Ward, and convening an expert panel to create a tree canopy goal plan.

Ultimately this Tree Report Card is a celebration of our efforts and a call to action for our future. We thank all our partners, from government agencies, to fellow nonprofits, to schools and organizations, for making trees a priority by planting, caring and protecting trees as well as sharing data to track collective efforts.

Since its first publication on Arbor Day in 2009, the Tree Report Card has given the District an overall grade for tree-related activities performed the previous year on public and private lands located in D.C. This grade is based on the average of four key performance metrics — Tree Coverage (A), Health (B-), Planting (A+) and Protection (B). The 2018 Tree Report Card and those from previous years may be viewed in their entirety at caseytrees.org/trc.