The Trees to Offset Stormwater project is a study of the role of Jacksonville’s tree canopy in taking up, storing and releasing water. This study was undertaken to assist Jacksonville, Florida in evaluating how to better integrate trees into their stormwater management programs. More specifically, the study covers the role that trees play in stormwater management and shows how the city can benefit from tree conservation and replanting. It also evaluates ways for the city to improve forest management as the city develops.
The project was spurred by the on-going decline in forest cover throughout the southern United States. Causes for this decline arise from multiple sources including land conversion for development, storm damages and inundation from sea level rise (SLR) and lack of tree replacement as older trees die. Many localities have not evaluated their current tree canopy, which makes it difficult to track trends, assess losses or set goals to retain or restore canopy. As a result of this project, Jacksonville now has baseline data against which to monitor canopy protection progress, measures of the stormwater and water quality benefits provided by its urban forest, and locations for prioritizing canopy replanting or retention.
This report includes those findings and recommendations that are based on tree canopy cover mapping and analysis, the modeling of stormwater uptake by trees, a review of relevant city codes and ordinances, and input and recommendations for the future of Jacksonville. The city-wide canopy is 55.5 percent. However, as the city includes prior Duvall County lands, that figure also includes rural areas. Downtown canopy coverage is much lower, at just over 12 percent. To maintain a high quality of life and to reduce polluted stormwater runoff, the city will need to plant many more trees in the urban areas and reduce the conversion of rural forest land. This report discusses the benefits of the city’s canopy and new tools the city can use to plan for a robust and extensive canopy for the future.
This is one of 12 case study reports produced by GIC for the Trees to Offset Stormwater Project.
You can view the Summary Report here.
You can learn more about this project on our Trees and Stormwater page here.