Urban Greening Goal 1: Create resilient, ecologically healthy landscapes
CR-1.1: Conserve and restore the region’s urban forests
Recent studies show that urban forests across the metro are in decline due to insects and disease, lack of care, urbanization and insufficient replanting after mortality.
Substantial, multi-benefit tree planting opportunities exist throughout the region. Four specific opportunities include planting around private homes; along streets, parking lots and mobility hubs; in parks; and along area streamways.
Urban forestry—from tree care and forest protection to tree planting—provides many climate mitigation, adaptation and resilience benefits. Importantly, trees cool the city, while reducing flood risks, simultaneously addressing two of the key climate threats facing the Kansas City region. Growing employment demand, from nursery production to skilled arborists, provides a compelling cobenefit. Additional cobenefits from urban forest management include placemaking, increased property values and beautification.
Tree planting in underserved neighborhoods can reduce energy burdens, improve public health and beautify neighborhoods.
Restoring streamside habitats
CR-1.2: Conserve and restore the region’s riparian (or streamside) corridors
Many area jurisdictions adopted stream protection ordinances about 10-15 years ago. While these policies restricted development along streamways (thereby reducing risk to public safety, property and infrastructure), they are not sufficient to mitigate against increased risks of flooding or to enhance ecosystem health along area streams.
Restoring streamside or riparian habitat enables communities to stack multiple benefits from a single investment. The restoration of connected riparian habitat, according to a recent Kansas State University study, is one of the most important measures to reduce peak flows during storm
events while reducing risks of stream channel erosion.
Additional benefits provide for recreation, public health, habitat and biodiversity, and improved air and water quality.
Multi-benefit stream restoration opportunities can mitigate climate risks in vulnerable communities while building community wealth through jobs and business creation.