King County Forest Carbon Program Launch

King County, Washington

Partners at the launch of the King County Forest Carbon Program in May 2019 at Cougar Mountain Regional Park.  Left to right: Stephen Killeen, CEO at Natural Capital Partners, King County Executive Dow Constantine, Lucas Joppa, Chief Environmental Officer at Microsoft, Helena Park, Founder and CEO at Fishermen’s Finest Inc., and Mark McPherson, Executive Director at City Forest Credits.

Partners at the launch of the King County Forest Carbon Program in May 2019 at Cougar Mountain Regional Park.

Left to right: Stephen Killeen, CEO at Natural Capital Partners, King County Executive Dow Constantine, Lucas Joppa, Chief Environmental Officer at Microsoft, Helena Park, Founder and CEO at Fishermen’s Finest Inc., and Mark McPherson, Executive Director at City Forest Credits.

King County and City Forest Credits launched the first urban forest preservation program in May 2019. King County, which includes the City of Seattle, is the largest county in Washington State and is experiencing rapid growth.

In addition to the urban forest preservation program, King County is also preserving rural forestlands. The program advances Executive Constantine’s Land Conservation Initiative, a 30-year vision to protect 65,000 acres of King County’s last remaining and most vital conservation lands and ensure that all the county’s residents have access to green space. It offers the first new private funding source for the Land Conservation Initiative and a rare opportunity for businesses in the Puget Sound region to support land conservation.

Fishermen’s Finest, a Kirkland-based fishing company that operates vessels in the North Pacific and Bering Sea, purchased the first urban forest preservation carbon credits from this program. This also marks the first purchase of urban forest preservation credits in the world.

The company is pushing the Alaska fishing industry to consider climate change and sustainability in fleet operations. Fishermen’s Finest recently commissioned the nation’s first “green” fishing trawler. This reduced their carbon output by 66%, but the company didn’t want to stop there. They contacted City Forest Credits in 2017 to explore how purchasing credits could help them meet their sustainability goal of being carbon neutral.

“Seeing firsthand the effects of climate change on the North Pacific, we felt an urgency to make a change,” said Helena Park, Founder and CEO of Fishermen’s Finest Inc. “Our new vessel is a jumpstart industry investment in clean technology and our carbon credit purchase allows us to invest in the community where we are headquartered.”

Fishermen’s Finest bought carbon credits from the County from forested land being preserved near Sammamish at the Soaring Eagle Regional Park. Between 2009 and 2014, Washington State lost 3,350 acres per year of tree cover in its urban and community forests - equal almost to the land area of the entire city of Bellevue.

City Forest Credits is excited to see Fishermen’s Finest lead the way, and other corporate citizens can join in to help keep our cities green, healthy, and equitable through carbon credits.

 

LANDSCAPE scale RESTORATION GRANT

PUGET SOUND REGION, Washington

Aerial of Puget Sound Region. Photo credit: NASA.

Aerial of Puget Sound Region. Photo credit: NASA.

City Forest Credits, American Forests, The Nature Conservancy and The Davey Institute were awarded a Landscape Scale Restoration (LSR) grant from the US Forest Service and Washington Department of Natural Resources. This project brings together multiple partners to produce a regional urban tree canopy assessment and ecosystem valuation for the urban area of Central Puget Sound (King, Pierce and Snohomish Counties). Using best available science, partners will create a Canopy Action Plan for organizations and jurisdictions to prioritize urban forestry projects that support specific ecosystem goals and to achieve the highest return on investment. The LSR grant will also provide funds to pilot projects using the City Forest Credits carbon projects that can generate carbon credits and new funding sources.

This project ultimately leads to the improved health of communities, people and waters of Puget Sound, as it highlights the gaps and opportunities to enhance urban forests in the region and provides a roadmap for implementation. The Davey Institute, American Forests, and The Nature Conservancy will begin the canopy assessment work starts in summer 2019. In spring 2020, City Forest Credits will work with grant partners and local stakeholders to generate new funding and new funding partners for urban forest projects.

DORIS DUKE CHARITABLE FOUNDATION GRANT

Across UNITED STATES, and RHODE ISLAND FOCUS

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American Forests and City Forest Credits were awarded a Doris Duke Charitable Foundation grant focused on a range of activities across the country that elevate climate mitigation and improved public health as outcomes of urban forestry. In order to achieve this goal, urban forestry efforts will need to align the right kind of tree canopy to places of greatest impact, and use next-generation urban forestry techniques to assure that these urban forests remain healthy and resilient.

Activities under this grant proposal will include research, technical and financial tools, practitioner training and convening, policy incubation, and on-the-ground implementation that will build new capacity across the urban forest movement to undertake this climate and health-enhanced approach. American Forests will begin delivering on-the-ground implementation of this approach in partnership with the State of Rhode Island to provide a scaled-up model of success for the U.S. Climate Alliance and the nation.

CFC will continue to work with local partners to demonstrate the viability of Carbon + Credit projects and programs in select communities, providing technical assistance to interested jurisdictions seeking to develop credits and soliciting corporate buyers. CFC will also develop new protocols to meet market needs such as the Emerald Ash Borer Management Protocol to save ash trees and a Sustainability Certification for corporate buyers that do not want or need carbon offsets.

With better demonstration and quantification of urban forest potential to advance climate mitigation and health resilience, American Forests and CFC hopes to engage public and private finance at new scales.

CITY FOREST CREDITS TEAM ADDITIONS

Liz Johnston  Director

Liz Johnston

Director

Christine Cole  Administrative Manager

Christine Cole

Administrative Manager

Aaron Nordman  Carbon Policy, Protocol and Process Improvement Specialist

Aaron Nordman

Carbon Policy, Protocol and Process Improvement Specialist

We’ve grown! In April and May, we hired Liz Johnston – Director, Christine Cole – Administrative Manager, and Aaron Nordman – Carbon Policy, Protocol and Process Improvement Specialist.

Liz works with partners on projects across the country that are pioneering the development of city forest carbon. She has over a decade of experience leading complex social impact and environmental projects and driving change through innovative strategy, team leadership and meticulous project execution. Working with non-profit organizations, local government and Global Fortune 500 companies, she has demonstrated her commitment to creating a healthier, greener and equitable world.

A native of Phoenix, Arizona, Christine moved to Seattle to explore the vibrant cultures and beautiful landscapes of the Pacific Northwest. A dedication to grassroots urban forest stewardship introduced her to the world of non-profit accounting and grant compliance at conservation organizations. Christine enjoys CrossFit, baking sweet treats, and volunteering.

Drawn to innovative work in the environmental field, Aaron conducts research while developing and editing policies and protocols surrounding sustainability, corporate social responsibility, carbon and climate change mitigation, and equitable development. Aaron grew up in South King County playing soccer, reading, and exploring forests.

SUSTAINABILITY certification

City Forest Credits is also developing a sustainability or corporate social responsibility certification for local urban forest projects. Analogous to other certifications like Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) or Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES), the CFC certification will include quantified environmental benefits generated by local projects, as well as a Tree Equity Index and a Health Index. This verification is targeted for use by companies who want to make local “green” investments reliably and efficiently but who do not want or need a carbon offset. For example, CFC is working with companies such as Microsoft that have internal units for their data centers that are seeking social impact opportunities at a local level, but do not need to purchase a carbon offset. Stay tuned for more updates in November 2019.