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Urban Forestry

RVARC's Green Canopy Initiative

The Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission (RVARC) is actively involved in urban forestry, particularly through initiatives like the Urban Tree Canopy (UTC) analysis for the Roanoke Valley. This project is a collaborative effort involving RVARC, the Virginia Department of Forestry, the City of Roanoke, the City of Salem, Roanoke County, and the Town of Vinton.

The UTC analysis is a significant undertaking that utilizes advanced technologies such as Geographic Information System (GIS) and aerial photography to classify land cover in the study area. This classification includes tree canopy, non-tree vegetation, impervious surfaces, buildings, and water. The data collected from this analysis assists local governments and stakeholders in setting goals for urban tree canopy, developing urban forestry plans, and promoting increased tree canopy in the area. This is particularly important as neighborhoods with higher tree canopy tend to be healthier, both socially and economically.

2024 Urban Tree Canopy Assessment

The Roanoke Valley UTC project study generally area includes the “urbanized” areas of the Roanoke Valley and covers all of the cities of Roanoke and Salem, and the Town of Vinton, and Roanoke County.

The Roanoke Valley UTC Analysis project utilized National Agriculture Imagery Program (NAIP) aerial photography, Geographic Information System (GIS) technology, and other spatial data to classify land cover in the study area into the following categories: tree canopy; non-tree vegetation; non-building impervious; buildings; and water. UTC data is available to assist participating localities and stakeholders in setting urban tree canopy goals, complement existing urban forestry plans, and support initiatives to promote increased urban tree canopy in the study area.

The UTC analysis land cover classification (GIS shapefile) and other spatial data are available. Contact the Regional Commission to request available data.

Notice of Award

September 6, 2023PlanIT Geo, Inc
Notice of Conditional Award under the Urban Tree Canopy Request for Quotes
This notice is in regard to the subject Request for Quotes (RFQ), issued by the Roanoke Valley – Alleghany Regional Commission for preparation of an Urban Tree Canopy Study. RVARC has evaluated the proposals received, and is hereby announcing award to the following bidder:
PlanIT Geo, Inc
Full details on the RFQ and the project can be seen below.


The Regional Commission, in partnership Virginia Department of Forestry, City of Roanoke, City of Salem, Roanoke County, and the Town of Vinton is conducting an updated Urban Tree Canopy (UTC) analysis for the Roanoke Valley, which was last completed in 2010. A link to the full RFQ is below. Interested parties should contact Amanda McGee at amcgee(at) Quotes are due Tuesday, August 29th.