Region Forward Blog

More trees hybrids and sustainable plans are making metro Washington greener

Apr 12, 2012


In our first week of celebrating Earth Month 2012 MWCOG and Region Forward have highlighted several actions and plans that put metro Washington on a path toward a more sustainable future (on Facebook and Twitter).

On April 5 one of our region’s most populous jurisdictions announced its tree canopy had grown over the past five years. And it wasn’t a suburban county. The District of Columbia announced that its tree canopy increased by more than two percent and now covers nearly 40% of the city.

Several cities and counties have committed to updating their fleets with greener vehicles. Falls Church is one of them. It recently announced delivery on 12 new 2012 Chevy Silverado hybrid pickup trucks to add to its green fleet. Over in Takoma Park there are plans to turn Flower Avenue into a green street with low-impact stormwater facilities new sidewalks and other features.

Preserving rural land and promoting local agriculture has been a focus of several jurisdictions in metro Washington including Loudoun County which has preserved over 40000 acres for rural and agricultural development.

Finally this week’s social media posts featured plans by Maryland cities Gaithersburg and Rockville to become more sustainable cities. While Rockville’s strategy is primarily targeted at City activities Rockville has encouraged similar actions by individual businesses and residents. Gaithersburg is also committed to promoting sustainability and improving the quality of life for its citizens and the City is seeking designation as a Sustainable Maryland Certified community.

For more information on each of these green highlights please see excerpts below from press releases and web sites of the localities.

District of Columbia

Preliminary data from a study of multispectral imagery shows the District of Columbia is getting greener. According to the assessment DC’s urban tree canopy has grown by 2.1 percent over the past 5 years and now covers 37.2% of the city. “A greener DC is a more livable sustainable DC and it is very encouraging to see we are heading in the right direction” said Mayor Vincent C. Gray. “We want to ensure the District remains known as the ‘city of trees’ because they provide immeasurable benefits for our quality of life and our health.” The study was conducted by AMEC E&I as part of the grant Metropolitan Washington Urban Tree Canopy Analysis – Phase I funded by the US Forest Service Northeastern Area on behalf of the District Department of Transportation’s (DDOT) Urban Forestry Administration and the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.

Takoma Park

Flower Avenue which runs along the border of the City of Takoma Park is proposed to be converted into a “green street” with low-impact stormwater facilities new sidewalks and with improvements to street lighting bus stops etc. The project is to be funded by $696000 from the Maryland SHA $200000 from Montgomery County and $20000 from the Chesapeake Bay Trust.

Falls Church

The City of Falls Church has taken delivery on 12 new 2012 Chevy Silverado hybrid pickup trucks. The vehicle purchase was fully funded by a grant from the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) Improvement Program and enables the City to address an important air quality and transportation project as expressed in the Comprehensive Plan. The pickup trucks will replace aging fleet vehicles for the departments of Public Works Public Utilities Recreation and Parks and the Urban Forestry Division. The new vehicles are under warranty and will minimize the costs associated with operation and maintenance.

Loudoun County

Known for its beautiful rural scenery Loudoun County is a major contributor to Virginia’s Agricultural and Forestal District Program (Ag District Program) which was formed in 1979 to encourage the development of “agricultural and forestal” lands. The county has preserved over 40000 acres in 24 districts for rural and agricultural development.

Loudoun County asks businesses to join their Green Business Challenge and residents to try the Green Home Program


In 2007 the Mayor and Council adopted the Strategy for a Sustainable Rockville a comprehensive strategy to make Rockville more sustainable and environmentally sensitive. While this strategy primarily targeted City activities the City encouraged similar actions by individual businesses and residents. Rockville also celebrates Earth Day each year which is April 22 with a variety of activities throughout March and April including lectures and workshops. and


In its commitment to promoting sustainability and improving the quality of life for its citizens the City of Gaithersburg is seeking designation as a Sustainable Maryland Certified community. The mission of this program is to enhance livability for all Marylanders by helping municipalities choose a direction for their sustainability efforts improve access to resources needed to implement action measure their progress and gain recognition for their accomplishments. Gaithersburg’s efforts in conservation cost-effective resource protection and community revitalization will be recognized by this program. The City will also host its 11th Annual Gaithersburg Environmental Awards to recognize individuals businesses schools homeowner’s associations nonprofits and scouting groups for their commitment to the environment. and

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