The EcoAdvocate
In This Issue:
  • Shape the Future of Arlington’s Tree Canopy and Natural Resources
  • Last Chance to Sign our Plastic Bag Tax Petition
  • Weigh-in on Arlington’s Development Plans
Shape the Future of Arlington’s
Tree Canopy & Natural Resources
Late last year, Arlington County launched a 12-18 month process to draft and adopt the Forestry and Natural Resources Master Plan. EcoAction Arlington sees this effort as an opportunity to make the natural world an integral part of our community by creating healthy ecosystems for people and wildlife and ensuring equal access to these ecosystems and the benefits they bring
The draft plan will be available this fall. You can sign up for alerts for opportunities to comment here. In the meantime, we encourage you to participate in a cleanup or invasive removal events at local parks, apply for a free tree through the Tree Canopy Fund, and learn more about growing native plants through Master Gardeners of Northern Virginia and Plant NOVA Natives.
We Recommend -
that the plan be built on these key themes:
  • Ensuring all Arlingtonians regardless of race or ethnic origin have equal and welcoming access to public places, as well as an equal opportunity to contribute to preserving them.
  • Connecting fragmented natural areas and creating a Homegrown National Park through public and private participation in managing green spaces to increase the tree canopy, reduce stormwater runoff, mitigate the urban heat island, improve wildlife habitat, and fight climate change.
  • Transforming Arlington Public Schools’ open areas (and other public spaces) into natural ecosystems with native flora and fauna, creating oases for students to learn and play outside and for the benefit of the broader community.
  • Adopting a whole-of-government approach to implement the county’s climate change, natural resources protection, and other sustainability goals and to ensure that natural resources are appropriately valued in balancing competing priorities.
We Encourage -
the incorporation of the following elements into the plan:
  • Tax and other incentives to put privately-held land with valuable natural resources into conservation trusts and to protect mature trees on private property.
  • Strategies to manage deer and remove invasive plants to mitigate the negative impacts on forests and fauna.
  • Revised weed regulations to prevent such rules from discouraging (or removing) landscaping with native plants.
  • Replacement of gas-powered lawn equipment, particularly leaf blowers, with electric-powered equivalents for services provided directly by the county or on county property and state legislation to allow local jurisdictions to ban such equipment within the county to reduce associated noise and air pollution.
Last Chance to Sign our Plastic Bag Tax Petition!
After months of getting the word out, EcoAction Arlington will submit our petition to the Arlington County Board on February 20 to demonstrate community support for making Arlington the first community in Virginia to tax plastic bags. We are seeking at least 1,500 signatures (we currently have over 1,428). If you haven’t done so already, please sign the petition and encourage others to do so to make history and reduce the scourge of plastic pollution in Arlington.
Share Your Input on Arlington’s Development Plans
Citizen participation in Arlington’s long-range sector plans can help shape neighborhoods into livable, resilient, and sustainable communities. The county is seeking public comments on the Clarendon Sector Plan Update. You can help guide future development to make the area around the Clarendon Metro Station a walkable destination with a vibrant mixed-use community that is easily accessible and offers quality open spaces. 
The revised sector plan should reflect the county’s goal for carbon neutrality, requiring new buildings to be carbon zero, highly energy efficient, all electric, and powered by renewable energy. Comments will be accepted through February 22 followed by opportunities for further public comment at upcoming Long Range Planning Commission meetings on March 3 and April 14. More details here.

Amazon recently unveiled previews of its plans for the HQ2 PenPlace site featuring a 350-foot tall spiraling office building. Sustainability commitments publicized for the Helix include 100% renewable energy and LEED Platinum certification, as reported in ARLnow. The design incorporates numerous biophilic elements and an extensive bicycle infrastructure.

Visit the EcoAction Arlington Advocacy webpage for more details and information on how to get involved.
Thank you to this issue's contributors: Carolyn Lang, Leslie Louden, Joan McIntyre