While trees alone won't solve all the woes of living in a modern city, they go a long way to making a our community a more livable place.    Benefits of trees include reducing flooding, mitigating urban heat during the summer, counteracting air and water pollution, improving human health factors, and making our community a more beautiful place to live.  See Benefits of Urban Trees at ( to see more benefits. 

The Indian River Planning Area Study sets the goal to preserve and expand the neighborhood tree canopy. The Elizabeth River Project Watershed Action Plan sets a goal a net increase in the tree canopy of 5% of the total land area of the watershed over the next 10 years. An analysis using the i-Tree Canopy Assessment Tool puts the tree canopy of the Indian River Watershed today at around 26%; that is 940 of the 3600 land acres in our community is covered by trees and shrubs. About 30% of the land is turf grass or bare ground.  Increasing the tree coverage to 30% would mean increasing the tree canopy by 140 acres - nearly twice the size of Indian River Park South.

How can we get that much more tree coverage by 2034?  Luckily, trees grow!  

  • We estimate that encouraging homeowners to protect and maintain existing trees in community and letting those tree grow by an overall average of 10% will give use 94 more coverage.
  • Planting 200 new trees per year by homeowners would add 2 acres per year, or 20 acres over 10 years.
  • Planting 200 new trees per year by businesses and institutions and along streets would add 2 acres per year, or another 20 acres over 10 years.
  • In the Campostella neighborhood, 16 acres of land is kept empty and mowed because of buried coal ash.  Mitigation of a third of this acreage and planting of trees could yield another 6 acres of trees.
Achieving these goals would also require more diligence with regards to the City tree ordinance including enforcing tree replacement ordinance on all new construction and advocating for City to adopt stricter tree conservation/replacement ordinances.

Will you take our Tree Pledge to protect trees in our community? 

Steps you can take to help protect trees in our community include one or more of the following:
  • Cherish, protect and maintain the trees on your land.
  • If concerned about the health and safety of mature trees, check with a Certified Arborist to give the tree a check-up and risk assessment to make informed decisions on options to best manage the tree.
  • Plant one or more new trees on your land in 2024.  The River Star Homes program is one source to get free trees for your home (depending on availability).
  • Advocate for trees and stronger tree protection in local ordinances and regulations.
  • Volunteer to help care for trees in public spaces.
  • And/or share your thoughts on "Other" steps you can take!
Start protecting trees by clicking here! 

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