July 24, 2017
Urban Design & Plan Review Division
National Capital Planning Commission
RE: National Desert Storm and Desert Shield Memorial Site Selection
Dear Matthew Flis,
Casey Trees is a Washington, DC-based nonprofit with a mission “to restore, enhance, and protect the tree canopy of the nation’s capital.” To fulfill this mission, we plant trees; monitor the city’s tree canopy; and work with decision makers, developers, and residents to encourage tree planting and protection on both public and private property. We are dedicated to helping the District reach its 40 percent tree canopy goal by 2032. As a city, we will achieve this goal when designs achieve a net gain in tree canopy. We are excited to work with the National Park Service (NPS) and the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) to ensure that trees are prioritized in the design of the National Desert Storm and Desert Shield Memorial (the Memorial).
The two sites proposed for the Memorial are the Memorial Circle Area at George Washington Memorial Parkway on Columbia Island (Site 1) and the Constitution Avenue Terminus Area near 23rd Street, NW (Site 2). Both locations showcase healthy, mature trees which provide shade, manage stormwater, and attract local wildlife. Designing a memorial that incorporates and preserves these trees will help the District achieve its environmental goals and enhance the visitor experience.
After analyzing the site, we urge NPS and NCPC to consider the following:
1. Select the Constitution Avenue Terminus Area as the home for the memorial. Site 2 has less tree canopy and more open space than Site 1, which will allow NPS and NCPC to preserve all trees around the future memorial (Figures 1 & 2).
2. Adopt a 30% tree canopy goal: Tree canopy currently shades approximately 30% of Site. We recommend protecting trees and/or planting new trees to maintain this 30% tree canopy.
3. Build the memorial in open space: To protect the existing trees at Site 2, build the memorial in the estimated 70,000 square feet of open space to the south, west, and east of existing trees (Figure 3).
Thank you for the opportunity to comment. Casey Trees would be happy to work with you to provide tree-related analyses for the National Desert Storm and Desert Shield Memorial Site. If you have any questions about these recommendations, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.