The biggest source of pollution in Puget Sound is the dirty water that runs off our roads, bridges, parking lots and other paved surfaces, carrying chemicals from our cars and trucks and building structures straight into that big body of water.
Stormwater pollution is a hard challenge to tackle, as the problem belongs to all of us and comes from everywhere.
One solution: plant more trees in urban areas!
The Boeing Company is granting The Nature Conservancy in Washington and Oregon $1.5 million for planting trees — $1 million for Washington, $500,000 for Oregon. Funding will be directed to plant trees in the urban areas around Puget Sound, the Portland area and also to help with reforestation efforts in Central Washington to recover from the Jolly Mountain Fire.
“Together with The Nature Conservancy, we are united by nature and guided by science,” says Jenette Ramos, senior vice president of Boeing Supply Chain & Operations and a trustee at The Nature Conservancy in Washington. “Our commitment to community engagement and corporate citizenship is foundational to The Boeing Company. By investing in the work of The Nature Conservancy, we will advance sustainability practices in our community to protect the environment for future generations.”
What do trees have to do with stormwater? They actually prevent water pollution, by reducing the amount of stormwater generated where there’s a good tree canopy.
In other words, the rain falling out of the sky falls on tree limbs and leaves. The trees absorb some and slows and deflect more before it ever hits the pavement. Where there’s a lack of tree canopy, rain falls directly on the impervious urban surface, picks up pollutants and carries them swiftly to streams, rivers, and marine ecosystems.
Tree canopy, especially when hanging over pavement, is a critical method of detaining rainfall and gradually releasing it so that it contributes less flow and pollutants downstream.
Urban Forest Symposium
Learn about partnerships that are enhancing tree canopy to benefit cities and health at the Urban Forest Symposium Tuesday, May 15, at the University of Washington’s Center for Urban Horticulture. The Symposium runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and will include an afternoon panel featuring partners from the City Habitats Coalition. In addition, the Conservancy staff will be on site with a Request for Proposals for canopy enhancement projects.
In addition, urban trees offer a host of other benefits. Research shows more urban trees can cool our cities, improve air quality and bring increased quality of life to neighborhoods with good urban canopy.
“This project promotes cleaner water and air, and makes communities and people healthier,” said Mike Stevens, Washington state director for the Conservancy. “We couldn’t do this essential work without Boeing’s commitment to this region. We’re grateful for Boeing’s support in enhancing and protecting tree canopy in Washington and Oregon.”
To accomplish these goals, the Conservancy will invest in partners working on the ground to enhance the urban canopy to benefit air and water quality, community health, and more.