Creek ReLeaf - Reforesting Frederick County

About the Program

The Creek ReLeaf Program is a multi-year reforestation program assisting with the County’s MS4 permit requirements, and is designed to increase the total amount of forested area within Frederick County, including privately owned lands and public properties. Forested lands provide stormwater control, reduce temperature impacts on County streams, and increase wildlife habitat.  

The program provides private landowners with native trees and shrubs planted on their property, 5 years of maintenance to establish the forest stand, and payment for a permanent conservation easement that will be placed on the planted parcel.  

After the initial 5 years, the property maintenance reverts to the land owner with County inspections every three years. 

Download Creek ReLeaf Program Overview.


What is a Conservation Easement?

Conservation easements are legal agreements between a landowner and a local government or land trust that permanently limit certain uses of the land to protect the conservation values. The landowner still owns and uses the land under an easement as long as the use does not violate the terms of the easement. The easement is permanent, even if the landowner sells the property. Selective harvesting is allowed as part of a forestry management plan under certain conditions, that may provide long term revenue to you from having a healthy forest.

Creek ReLeaf Application Process

The application period for the 2022 Creek ReLeaf Program is now closed.

Prior to Applying

Interested property owners should do the following prior to applying for the program:

  • Determine the area proposed to be reforested
  • Review the proposed Permanent Conservation Easement
  • Know where any easements are located on the property
  • Know where the septic field is (if present on property)
Creek ReLeaf Property

Prioritization of Properties

The Creek ReLeaf Program will rank and prioritize proposed reforestation areas on a yearly basis using the scoring criteria listed below: 

  • Size of proposed reforestation project (multiple property owners can join together to increase their chances of being  accepted as the minimum acreage to be reforested must be at least 2 acres)
  •  Potential to expand or connect existing forests
  •  Proximity to a stream with high or poor water quality
  •  Presence of Brook Trout within the watershed
  •  Access to site for planting, maintenance, and long-term monitoring
  •  Presence of other nearby restoration efforts to improve watershed health
  • Sites outside of the following jurisdictional boundaries: Brunswick, Emmitsburg, Frederick City, Middletown, Mount Airy, Myersville, Thurmont, and Walkersville

Know Your Land:

 Reforestation will not be permitted in:             

  •  Existing easements such as water, sewer, power lines, etc.
  •  Existing or proposed septic fields
  •  Existing agricultural easements where conflict may occur

For questions, please contact:

Linda Williamson, Project Manager


Phone:  301-600-1741

This project is funded in part by Maryland’s Chesapeake & Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund. For more information, visit