Urban Restoration at Ballinger Open Space
This urban forest restoration project provides numerous ecological benefits, improves access to green space, and was part of the largest single urban forest carbon credit purchase in history!
Ballinger Open Space is a 2.6-acre green space in the northeast corner of the City of Shoreline. The restoration work at Ballinger, which began in 2018, is an opportunity for the Greenway Trust to work with many partners to sequester carbon, improve access to greenspace, increase evergreen canopy to protect water quality, and engage with community members in Shoreline on the topics of ecological restoration and stewardship.
Located near the nexus of I-5 and I-405, it is exposed to many urban hazards, air pollution, stormwater runoff, and illegal dumping. The open space is named after Ballinger Creek, a small waterway that flows from Ballinger Lake to Lake Washington both above ground and through a series of culverts. Before Greenway Trust crews and volunteers began their work, the site had little tree canopy and was carpeted in ivy, blackberry and a litany of other weeds. These degraded conditions limited the establishment of many native plants which better support local wildlife, protect stream banks from erosion, and block access and visibility into the interior of the open space for the hundreds of neighbors that back up to it. Since implementation, crews have worked to control the non-native species to make room for over 2,200 native plants, almost 2,000 of which are trees. The Greenway Trust, has committed to working at the site through 2040 to guarantee tree establishment and the development of a healthy neighborhood green space.
This project is a part of a climate initiative led by City Forest Credits that recognizes the value and benefits urban forests can have in communities. In addition to increasing access to green spaces, which can improve mental and physical health for neighbors, as trees grow and mature they sequester carbon, improve air quality, intercept rainfall and aid in stormwater management, and help with temperature management. In 2021, the Greenway Trust worked with City Forest Credits to verify the tree plantings and develop carbon credits through their registry. City Forest Credit’s carbon quantification tool projects that these plantings will store approximately 2,200 tons of carbon over a 25-year period. That is the equivalent of taking 475 cars off the road for a full year!
These credits were recently sold as part of the largest single urban forest carbon credit purchase in history! The revenue will support long term site maintenance at Ballinger Open Space, where we are committed to working through 2040 to guarantee tree establishment and the development of a healthy neighborhood green space.
This project was made possible with contributions by many partners, including City Forest Credits, King County Flood Control District, American Forests, King County Wastewater Treatment Division’s WaterWorks Program, and The Nature Conservancy’s Planting Trees for Thriving Communities Project.