County Executive Leopold Announces Initiative to Plant More Than 12,000 Trees in South County
Multi-faceted program will expand tree canopy
Annapolis, MD (June 28, 2010) - County Executive John R. Leopold today announced a major initiative to plant more than 12,000 trees at the headwaters of Rockhold Creek in South County.
"Keeping South County rural and protecting our environment are critical priorities for this Administration," County Executive Leopold said. "We had to work on many fronts to make this initiative happen. Planting this enormous number of trees at the headwaters of Rockhold Creek will expand our tree canopy, reduce air and water pollution and decrease stormwater runoff."
A study of the County’s tree canopy by the University of Vermont was commissioned by the Administration in 2007 at a reduced price because it overlapped with projects in nearby jurisdictions. The study found that Anne Arundel County has 59 percent of its land area covered by tree canopy-more than almost every jurisdiction studied. The study was done in order to establish a baseline for improvement.
Next, legislation requested by County Executive Leopold was introduced in the Maryland General Assembly that eliminated a restriction on the use of reforestation money paid by developers. With that legislation now law, the County is able to proceed with large-scale reforestation projects. A 400-acre farm on Rockhold Creek will be reforested with 11,738 trees in addition to hundreds of trees recently planted on a small parcel of the property. The County is also in the process of purchasing 54-acre Spriggs property on the Magothy River using reforestation funding.
"Our goal is to achieve environmental benefits with little reliance on taxpayer money," County Executive Leopold said. "This program reduces air and water pollution, provides habitat for wildlife and facilitates educational opportunities using fees paid by people who do not include the required reforestation in their development plans. Anne Arundel County will continue to be a leader in preserving and protecting our environment."