This project Trees to Offset Stormwater is a study of Norfolk, Virginia’s tree canopy and its role in taking up, storing and releasing water. This study was undertaken to assist Norfolk 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 re-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, lack of tree replacement as older trees die, and for coastal cities such as Norfolk, inundation from Sea Level Rise (SLR). 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, Norfolk now has baseline data against which to monitor measures for the stormwater and water quality benefits provided by its urban forest, and locations for prioritizing canopy replanting to maximize stormwater uptake.
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 citizen input and recommendations for the future of Norfolk’s urban forest. The GIC previously completed a Green Infrastructure Strategy for Norfolk in July 2018 which included canopy mapping and detailed strategies to re-green the city and increase resilience.
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.