Saturday, February 18, 2012

New from RMA: How to protect trees from construction

February 2012 
Everything that goes around comes around. It's Embassy Row's turn to have huge street-digging machines as guests for coming months, as DC Water (formerly WASA) digs streets, sidewalks and yards.

The Big Dig is part of a zillion dollar replacement, mile by mile, of the city's antiquated Combined Sewer System (CSS) to comply with a settlement with EPA under the Clean Water Act. Fancy words aside, we neighbors don't want sewage overflowing from the pipes into Rock Creek during "rain events." Or do we?

DC Water warned the neighborhood its monsters would invade.  For DC Water, Bruce Beall presented the plans to our Advisory Neighborhood Commission and has been responsive to our concerns including for the trees. Tree roots carry storm water into the ground, lessening flow into Beall's pipes.

In a Big Dig, in just seconds, one of these behemoths can wreck a tree limb or an entire tree, or trench the root systems.  (The digger is liable for tree damage.) Building contractors pile huge loads next to young trees, and leave them there, compacting soil and stalling tree growth.

To protect city trees, especially the newer trees that Restore Mass Ave and dozens of property owners are trying to grow, we made a flyer. It gives highlights of the rules, and  steps you can take to stop workers and machines that threaten trees. It has links to regulations, and whom to call if.

Download our free flyer to learn how you can protect trees from nearby construction.

We're grateful to RMA's main TreeWatchers: Donna Hays and Alan Jacobs are out on the sidewalks "reminding" Big Dig crews to be careful. And to Kindy French, and the Kenya Embassy, for helping to publicize our flyer. <need link to the pdf here> Below, we hung it to a tree at a bus stop - at eye level - so people will learn how to save trees while waiting for the bus.

Uncle Tree Needs YOU!  If you want to make a phone app, so more people in DC learn to protect trees, contact us at

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