NOTE: Effective November 1, 2017, updated tree regulations will be in effect for both construction and non-construction tree removal.
Trees are a valuable resource to any community. They do an excellent job at slowing erosion, increasing property values, providing wildlife habitat, cleaning our air, reducing stormwater runoff, and abating wind. Mercer Island has regulations governing the removal and pruning of trees (MICC 19.10).
Do I need a tree permit?
In general, a tree permit is required when cutting trees 10" or greater, or when a tree sits in a Critical Tree Area. Click here to see if you need a permit. For specific questions, please send an email to: email@example.com.
NOTE: The City Arborist does not provide general tree consulting services. Citizens who need a detailed assessment about the condition or quality of trees on their private property should contact a certified Arborist via The International Society of Arboriculture.
What are the requirements for Construction projects?
The updated tree regulations (Nov 2017) have changed then requirements for tree removal due to construction. Refer to the Trees and Construction handout for more information.
Do I need a tree permit to cut or prune my tree?
Click here to view Frequently Asked Questions about trees. This handout covers questions such as:
- When a permit is required
- Definition of a critical tree area
- Criteria for granting a tree permit
- Seasonal restrictions on tree work
- Replacement of trees after cutting
- Cutting/pruning trees on City Streets/Right-of-Way
- Federal and State requirements regarding trees
- Regulations about pruning public trees
- Choosing an Arborist
Can I Prune or Cut a Tree in the Right of Way Adjacent to My Property?
City right of way (ROW) is typically 60 feet in width and includes streets, paths, shoulders, underground/ overhead utilities, and even the extension of yards. Trees and shrubs located in the ROW are regulated by the City. When a resident wishes to trim or remove a tree in the City's ROW, they should first contact the City's ROW Arborist to discuss the situation and learn about the process and costs involved. Contact Hannah Van Pelt, City ROW Arborist at (206) 275-7819 or Hannah.VanPelt@mercergov.org
. Be prepared with the following information:
- Property Address and where the tree is located (e.g. NW corner of property, adjacent to mailbox, etc.)
- Type of tree (evergreen vs. deciduous) and species if known.
- Approximate tree height and/ or trunk diameter (at chest height).
- Reason for request to prune/ remove the tree(s).
If the Arborist determines that pruning/ removal may be allowed, the resident will need to submit a ROW Tree Pruning/Cutting permit and a ROW Use permit applications to the ROW Arborist. Chick here
for more information about ROW tree pruning/ cutting and permit applications.
Tree Permit Forms and Other Information
How should I care for my tree?
Click here for information on how to care for trees, and find information about:
- Useful tips and guidelines for pruning
- How to protect a tree during construction
- Tree fencing information
- Selecting a tree service company or arborist
Are my trees affected by the eagles on the Island?
Click here to view a map of the properties on Mercer Island affected by bald eagles.
The Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act was originally enacted in 1940. It prohibits taking or possession of and commerce in bald and golden eagles, parts, feathers, nests, or eggs with limited exceptions. Limited activities may be authorized by a permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). The City does not have jurisdiction and cannot enforce federal regulations regarding eagles. For more information of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service federal eagle regulations and permit requirements, go to: http://www.fws.gov/pacific/eagle/
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife no longer conducts annual nest monitoring or bald eagle nest management activities, but continues to update the statewide database of nest locations and activity as new information becomes available.
Bald Eagle Nests
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) appreciates and wants firm documentation and information regarding the following:
- The location of a new eagle nest or breeding territory
- A new nest within a known territory
- A more accurate location for an existing nest structure
- Loss of nest structure or a nest tree
- Information about occupancy of the site by eagles between January & August
- The number of young eagles observed in a nest
The WDFW website outlines this process at: wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/bald_eagle/. To share new nest locations or breeding observation details with WDFW please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. To inquire about conducting activities near a nest or to report immediate concerns about project impacts to a nest site, please contact USFWS.
Violating provisions of the Bald & Golden Eagle Protection Act may result in fines and/or imprisonment.
The International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) also provides a series of useful brochures that discuss many of the basic principles of tree care, including: New Tree Planting, Why Hire an Arborist, Tree Values, Recognizing Tree Hazards, Why Topping Trees Hurts Trees, Benefits of Trees and many more. Please visit the International Society of Arboriculture’s website for more information and more resources.