Protecting and Restoring Urban Tree Canopy for Stormwater Management Grant

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Current Size: 80%

A Technical Assistance Grant to Incorporate Trees as Stormwater Management

Project Announcements

1. Grant Began: August 1, 2016

2. First Public Meeting: May 25, 2017

3. Second Public Meeting: July 25, 2018


Public Meeting: July 25, 2018

On July 25, staff invites community members to learn about the health and extent of Harrisonburg’s urban forest canopy, review strategies for best management of the canopy, and find out how trees play a role in reducing stormwater runoff. The community meeting will be from 5:30-7:30pm in Classroom 1 at the Cecil F. Gilkerson Community Activities Center at 305 S Dogwood Dr.


Public Meeting: March 25, 2017

The City of Harrisonburg hosted a presentation and discussion at the Massanutten Regional Library’s on May 25, 2017, for community members to participate in the City’s urban tree canopy management initiatives. This meeting invited community members to share their ideas for improving the City’s stormwater management efforts through tree canopy protection and restoration. Community members can still participate by reviewing the presentation and posters below and submitting comments to during the public comment period. Comments can also be submitted on Be Heard Harrisonburg during the comment period.  


Public Comment Period on the Tree Canopy Grant: May 30 - June 13, 2017

Public Meeting Presentation PDF[10MB]

Poster 1: Land Cover Northeast Quadrant PDF[2MB]

Poster 2: Land Cover Northwest Quadrant PDF[3MB]

Poster 3: Land Cover Southeast Quadrant PDF[2MB]

Poster 4: Land Cover Southwest Quadrant PDF[1 MB]

Poster 5: Possible Planting Areas Northeast Quadrant PDF[1MB]

Poster 6: Possible Planting Areas Northwest Quadrant PDF[2MB]

Poster 7: Possible Planting Areas Southeast Quadrant PDF[2MB]

Poster 8: Possible Planting Areas Southwest Quadrant PDF[3MB]

The public is invited to submit comments related to this project. Please submit comments, in writing, to or by mail to ATTN: Stormwater, Harrisonburg Public Works, 320 E. Mosby Road, Harrisonburg, VA 22801. Comments will be accepted June 13, 2017.



What is this Project?

The City of Harrisonburg is one of thirteen southern localities that has received funding to carry out a project to link urban tree canopy to stormwater mitigation, specifically for cities with Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4) permits to manage stormwater.  The project is helping southern cities utilize their urban forests to better manage and reduce stormwater runoff.  Urban trees soak up tremendous volumes of stormwater.  The more treed the landscape, the less runoff and flooding may occur.  This project will assess the city’s tree canopy and determine its role for treating and adsorbing stormwater.

Streamside Plantings

An example of a stream side planting completed in April 2017

Project Partners:

Project partners include the City of Harrisonburg, The Virginia Department of Forestry and The Green Infrastructure Center (GIC).  Funding is provided by the USDA Forest Service and matched in-kind though participation by the city. City agencies involved on the Project’s Technical Review Committee include the Public Works, Planning, and Parks and Recreation staff.  This group advises GIC and coordinates Harrisonburg community events.

Why has the Project Been Funded?

Rapid urbanization and climatic fluctuations have led to increased risk of flooding and degraded water quality in cities. Trees can be utilized as a key strategy for addressing this problem. Trees intercept, store, and transpire stormwater and are a vital tool in abating and cleaning stormwater runoff. One urban tree can intercept thousands of gallons of water annually.  But while the benefits of trees are well known, most cities do not include trees as a component of their stormwater management strategies.

What Will Harrisonburg Get for Participating? 

The primary outcome is a process for integrating trees into the city’s stormwater management program. Ultimately, Harrisonburg will have a more strategic and effective process for combating stormwater runoff.

Harrisonburg will receive:

  • Updated tree canopy and impervious land cover map used to map current canopy and analyze runoff, stormwater benefits and potential for mitigating stormwater.
  • Potential planting areas map (digital GIS) used for strategic planning to set future canopy goals.
  • Codes and Ordinance Audit for urban trees to facilitate better management and care.
  • Analysis of stormwater benefits for both the current and potential canopy including analysis of currently available Chesapeake Bay TMDL requirements (MS4 Permit) and determination of how the PPA contributes to the city's Chesapeake Bay and local TMDL requirements
  • Workshops with local committees to provide education and solicit input.
  • Model ordinance language or other program/policy documents for using trees to meet stormwater regulations.
  • Written step-by-step- strategy and methodology for linking urban forest systems to urban MS4 requirements for each of the specific partner city(s).
  • Case study of the project suitable for sharing at workshops, with elected and appointed officials and other agencies and stakeholders.

In addition to the outcomes listed above, by better evaluating and planning for its trees, Harrisonburg will also realize other ‘ecosystem services’ of the urban forest such as cleaner water, air, aesthetic values, open space, walkable and bikable streets, safer pathways, improved climate for businesses and better real estate values.

Who is GIC?

The Green Infrastructure Center (GIC) is providing the technical support and project management. The GIC is a non-profit organization. More information about GIC is available at

How Long Will This Take?

The project is estimated to take 14-18 months. 


Comments or Questions?

Contact Kelley Junco at 540-434-5928 or