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Three city forest preservation projects in King County contribute to the largest urban forest credit purchase in U.S. history

Summary

Forestry projects with King County, City of Issaquah, and Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust -- along with several other partners throughout the country -- earned more than $1 million combined in the first bundled sale of carbon credits generated exclusively by urban forests.

Story

Forest carbon
The City of Issaquah and King County partnered to protect this 46-acre property. Click or tap to enlarge.

In a landmark purchase, city forests in King County received much-needed funding from the largest single urban forest carbon credit purchase in U.S. history.

The three city forestry projects with King County, the City of Issaquah, and the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, along with several other partners throughout the country, earned more than $1 million combined in the first bundled sale of carbon credits generated exclusively by urban forests.

The sale helps ensure urban forests are preserved to maintain their environmental and recreational benefits.

“Our region is now part of the largest sale of urban forest carbon credits in U.S. history, thanks to partnerships among King County, cities, and nonprofits,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “We will steward the newly protected urban forests so they can continue to absorb carbon, contribute to cleaner air and water, and create more greenspace where people, families, and communities can gather.”

Organizations selling carbon credits continue to own and manage the protected property. In this record-setting $1 million transaction, the nonprofit City Forest Credits issued the credits, which were then purchased by Regen Network Development, a blockchain software development company.

The City of Issaquah and King County partnered to purchase a 46-acre property in 2018 and save it from development. The credits generated from the property — renamed the Harvey Manning Park Expansion Area because it shares a border with Harvey Manning Park — aided both organizations in their goal to support urban forest management programs such as the King County Forest Program.

Issaquah’s portion of the property was renamed Harvey Manning Park Expansion Area because it shares a border with Harvey Manning Park, while King County’s portion was added to Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park. The sale of credits will support urban forest management and additional forestland acquisition and protection.

The credits generated from the property aided the organizations in their goals to support urban forest management programs such as the King County Forest Carbon Program, which in turn advances additional forestland acquisition and protection.

The Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust generated carbon credits through an urban tree planting project at Ballinger Open Space, a 2.6-acre greenspace in the City of Shoreline.

The site is exposed to many urban hazards, including air pollution, stormwater runoff, and illegal dumping. Before Greenway Trust crews and volunteers began their work, the site had little tree canopy and was carpeted in ivy, blackberry, and other invasive vegetation.

Since restoration work began, crews have worked on controlling those non-native species to make room for more than 2,200 native plants and trees. City Forest Credits estimates the new plantings will store approximately 2,200 tons of carbon over a 25-year period – the equivalent of taking 475 cars off the road for a full year.

Revenue from the carbon credit sale will support long-term site maintenance at Ballinger Open Space, where the Greenway Trust is committed to working through 2040 to guarantee tree establishment and developing a healthy neighborhood greenspace.

“City trees are a critical component to reverse and mitigate against the impacts of climate change,” said Jon Hoekstra, Executive Director for the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust. “We are excited about the opportunities carbon credits can provide as a new revenue source to support this important work.”

Executive Constantine in 2109 launched King County’s Forest Carbon Program, making it the first local government in the nation to offer certified carbon credits that protect local forests.

Relevant links


Quotes

Our region is now part of the largest sale of urban forest carbon credits in U.S. history, thanks to partnerships among King County, cities, and nonprofits. We will steward the newly protected urban forests so they can continue to absorb carbon, contribute to cleaner air and water, and create more greenspace where people, families, and communities can gather.

Dow Constantine, King County Executive

City trees are a critical component to reverse and mitigate against the impacts of climate change. We are excited about the opportunities carbon credits can provide as a new revenue source to support this important work.

Jon Hoekstra, Executive Director, Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust

For more information, contact:

Doug Williams, Department of Natural Resources and Parks, 206-477-4543
Thomas Rush, City of Issaquah, 425-837-3013
Katie Egresi, Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, 206-678-2183