FREDERICK, MD - The Frederick County Division of Energy and Environment (DEE) has opened its annual application period for participation in the Creek ReLeaf reforestation program. Property owners interested in having native trees planted on their land may apply between October 15 and December 30, 2023. Since the program's inception in 2018, Creek ReLeaf has helped local landowners enhance the environmental quality of more than 480 acres.
A goal of DEE's Department of Stormwater is to increase forested land in Frederick County. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources recognized the importance of this work and awarded DEE a $1,050,717 grant from the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund. This funding will help expand the County's reek ReLeaf Program, and local landowners are encouraged to consider their property for participation.
Properties included in the Creek ReLeaf program receive considerable benefits at no cost to the landowner. In support of the County’s reforestation goals, the Creek ReLeaf program creates permanent conservation easements for the selected parcels. Then, specialists perform a land assessment, develop a planting plan, install a variety of native trees, and provide five years of mowing and maintenance to help establish the forest. The landowner receives a one-time payment for the conservation easement placed on the planted parcel.
Reforestation initiatives achieve more than just planting trees - they are a crucial investment that protects a community's health, safety, and prosperity for generations. While individual Creek ReLeaf projects directly benefit the participating landowners, the overall program has a tremendous positive impact on our regional watershed. Forested land provides better stormwater control, prevents soil erosion, and reduces the risk of flooding. Trees filter air and water pollutants, sequester atmospheric carbon, and have a positive effect on microclimate temperatures. In addition to providing beauty and recreational enjoyment for humans, forests increase biodiversity and provide food and habitat critical for wildlife.
Information about Creek ReLeaf is available on DEE's website www.FrederickCountyMD.gov/CreekReLeaf. Applicants may apply online or contact Program Manager Linda Williamson for assistance at 240-608-7426 or via email to LWilliamson1@FrederickCountyMD.gov. Those interested in staying up-to-date on the County's efforts to provide ecological restoration and environmental resilience can join the @SustainableFCMD community conversations on Facebook and Instagram.