Parts of the Chesapeake Bay watershed contain a high percentage of impervious cover – paved or other hard surfaces such as roofs and roadways that prevent rain water from being absorbed into the ground. Instead, water runs along these surfaces, collecting trash and substances such as motor oil, lawn fertilizers, and pesticides. This polluted stormwater flows into streams and rivers, where it threatens aquatic ecosystems and public health.
Effective stormwater management, on the other hand, creates safe paths for polluted runoff to be captured and filtered through the ground before it reaches waterways. This helps keep the environment clean and our communities healthy!
Project Location: Frederick County, MD
Problem: Since 1992 Frederick County has lost over 1,300 acres of forest from development. Forests provide important ecological services such as preventing floods, filtering polluted runoff, cooling streams, fighting climate change, cleaning the air, and creating homes for wildlife.
Solution: Creek Releaf is a multi-year reforestation program that brings more forests to Frederick County and assists with the County’s Clean Water Act permit requirements. Creek Releaf creates permanent reforestation easements and provides private landowners with native trees and shrubs and a guaranteed five years of maintenance. It also provides a payment for a permanent reforestation easement and a restriction against changes to the planted land in order to protect the parcel.
Maintenance: The County pays for the trees and the first five years of maintenance. It mows around the trees, treats weeds with herbicide, and maintains the protective tubes around the saplings.
Vibrant forests: Species planted include Birch, American Plum, Witch Hazel, Sycamore, Elderberry, Pecan, Black Cherry, Persimmon, and many more. Thus far, Creek Releaf has reforested different types of land uses including agricultural, lawn, scrub, and meadow.
Award-winning: The program won 2nd place in the 2019 BUBBA’s for Best Habitat Creation through the Chesapeake Stormwater Network.
Scale: Over 150 acres of forests planted on private and County owned land
Cost: Approx. $17,000 per acre planted
Funding Sources: Frederick County Office of Sustainability Capital Improvement Project and operational budget funding
Monitoring Plan: Mowed and maintained at least three times per year for the first five years. County does an official inspection at Year 1 and then additional spot checks in Years 2-5.
BUBBA Awards: buff.ly/2TuvVdd
Frederick County site: buff.ly/2N1MJqY