A newly planted tree. Courtesy photo

A newly planted tree. Courtesy photo

One Million Trees Celebration with Green Issaquah

Volunteer events, new forest stewardship program.

Green Issaquah is on a mission to help plant 1 million trees in King County by 2020. The city has partnered with the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust (MTSGT) for two volunteer planting events this month.

On Saturday, Nov. 16, volunteers will plant trees at Sammamish Cove. The property, which used to be a dairy farm, is adjacent to Lake Sammamish State Park and also borders Tibbetts Creek. Volunteers have previously worked to remove invasive species along the creek, planted more than 2,000 native plants in the area and completed a half-mile mulched loop.

Then there will be an additional planting event on Nov. 23 at Front Street Properties, across from the Julius Boehm Pool in Olde Town, along Issaquah Creek. Restoration there will aid in ongoing salmon habitat efforts.

The Green Issaquah Partnership is a new, collaborative effort between the city and Forterra, as well as nonprofits, schools, businesses, community groups and volunteers. The common goal is to preserve Issaquah’s open spaces and forested parks, building upon existing city stewardship efforts and fostering community support for the long term maintenance and restoration of natural areas and parks.

“We are really excited to launch the Green Issaquah Partnership as a way to foster and grow forest stewardship. This program will provide more volunteer opportunities to maintain and protect our forested parks and open space in a way that meets community needs,” said Chante Floreani, city park planner and project administrator.

The partnership is undergoing a forest health assessment. Other assessments and community outreach will take place, and a 20-year restoration plan will be developed, as well as a volunteer and forest steward program. Volunteer stewardship events are tentatively scheduled to begin in the summer or fall of 2020, according to the city’s website.

Floreani said the work was prioritized by the community in the 2018 Parks Strategic Plan to create a management plan for Issaquah’s natural resources lands and urban forest.

“The Green Issaquah Partnership program will foster volunteer opportunities for residents and add capacity for this important work,” Floreani said.

Launching the Green Issaquah Partnership coincided with King County’s One Million Trees initiative, which resulted from the county’s adoption of its Strategic Climate Action Plan in 2015.

“The goal is to plant 1 million trees throughout the county by 2020 as a way to support carbon reduction and healthy forests, streams and neighborhoods,” she said.

Issaquah also was awarded a grant funding opportunity to plant 10,000 trees across about 28 acres of city parks and open space properties along Tibbetts and Issaquah Creek. Floreani said the city is able to maximize the planting effort through the city’s partnership with the MTSGT, Washington Conservation Corps and community volunteers.

Both of the upcoming planting events are already full, but the Nov. 23 event also will feature educational opportunities and community engagement. A Green Issaquah booth will be set up from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and people can interact with Forterra and city staff who will be collecting public input on the new program.

Soon, the city will also distribute an online survey to collect feedback for shaping the city program.

More information about Green Issaquah and events can be found online at greenissaquah.org.

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