• City of Tacoma QA
  • City of Tacoma Data




Canopy Cover

Growing Our Tree Canopy Cover From 19% to 30% by 2030

The City of Tacoma created EverGreen Tacoma to manage, protect and expand Tacoma's tree canopy cover.

In 2010, the City Council adopted a new chapter in Tacoma's Comprehensive Plan - the Urban Forestry Policy Element (UFP). This chapter houses the vision for Tacoma to enhance urban forest resources, including increasing the tree canopy cover from approximately 19 percent in 2009 to 30 percent in 2030. The UFP also provides guidance on urban forest management goals such as:

UW canopy cover Tacoma map
  • Creating a citizen advisory board;
  • Increasing education and outreach;
  • Clarifying ownership and maintenance responsibilities of right-of-way trees;
  • Maintaining public safety;
  • Addressing diverse land uses;
  • Building and supporting partnerships;
  • Increasing the sustainability and health of our urban forest through species and age diversity, invasive species removal, creation of Heritage tree program;
  • Establishing planting priorities;
  • Coordinating planning and design of public infrastructure to include trees, both new and preservation of existing trees; and
  • Supporting urban agriculture such as through community gardens and orchards.

Read the UFP (PDF)

Canopy Cover

In the summer of 2011, the University of Washington's Remote Sensing & Geospatial Analysis Laboratory completed an analysis of 2009 data (aerial photos and LIDAR), with funding support provided by the Washington's Department of Natural Resources Urban and Community Forestry Program, to provide Tacoma with an updated approximation of our tree canopy cover.

UW's Report and Data

Tacoma's Canopy Cover

Class

Approximate Percentage of Cover

Trees

19%

Ground Impervious

13.6%

Water

0.2%

Roads

10.7%

Bare Ground

.01%

Buildings

12.7%

Sidewalks

0.7%

Paved Driveways

8.3%

Unpaved Driveways

.13%

Irrigated grass/shrub

9.4%

Non-irrigated grass/shrub

25%

Tacoma's Canopy Cover by Land Use and Goals

Obviously there are parts of Tacoma that can grow more trees and there are parts that can grow less due to development. In order to break the city-wide goal down into more manageable goals, we completed further analysis. Using the data from above and Tacoma's existing zoning and current land uses, we've devised the following goals for canopy cover by land use.

Land Use Percentage of City Actual Cover Goal Cover
Commercial/Mixed-Use 7.3% 3.7% 15%
Downtown 1% 3.1% 15%
Developed Park 3.9% 28.7% 35%
Major Institution 6.1% 6.8% 25%
Multi-Family Residential 4.4% 19% 25%
Manufacturing/Industrial 11.4% 3.7% 10%
Parks Natural Areas 8.5% 74.6% 80%
Single Family Residential 31.4% 23% 30%
Right-of-way/non-parceled areas 28% 9.2% 30%
Total 100% 19% 30%

Canopy Cover by Neighborhood Business District - Commercial/Mixed-Use

In order to assist us with achieving our goals, particularly in our Neighborhood Business Districts which were identified as priority planting areas by the Urban Forest Policy Element, we further analyzed our canopy cover data to give us approximations of the canopy cover in each Neighborhood Business District to determine what amount of growth is needed in each district. The table below shows canopy cover by Neighborhood Business District in both actual and needed cover for the entire NBD and for the rights-of-way (ROW) within each Neighborhood Business District. You may also be interested in our Strategic Urban Forest Management Plan (SUFMP) for Neighborhood Business Districts.

Neighborhood Business District (NBD) Percentage of Right-of-Way (ROW) in NBD Actual NBD Cover NBD Cover Needed Actual NBD ROW Cover  NBD ROW Cover Needed
Portland Avenue 42.2% 2.4% 12.6% 0% 30% 
South Tacoma 39.7% 0% 15% 0% 30% 
Stadium 49.6% 4.9% 10.1% 4.5% 25.5% 
6th Ave 41.3% 2.1% 12.9% 2.3%  27.7% 
Proctor 41.2% 4% 11% 7.3%  22.7% 
Oakland/Madrona 41.3% 7.1% 7.9% 0.2%  29.8% 
Fern Hill 34.4% 7.3% 7.7% 2.8%  27.2% 
Lincoln 37.7% 0% 15% 0% 30% 
McKinley 48.1% 1.1% 13.9% 1.2%  28.8% 
Narrows 43.9% 3.3% 11.7%  2.7%  27.3% 
Dome  36.1%  1.9% 13.1%  1.8%  28.2% 
Hilltop  43%  0.9% 14.1%  1.1%  28.9% 
Ruston / Pt. Defiance  41.2%  2.6%  12.4%  0% 30%
Old Town 44.8%  2.8% 12.2% 1.2%  28.8% 
Pacific  40.7%  3.4%  11.6%  0.9%  29.1% 

How can you help? Help us grow, get involved.