Around our office, it seems like no matter what the question is, the answer can always be tied back to TREES! When you think about it, trees are true workhorses for the environment. They increase property values, provide shade to help lower energy bills, clean and cool our air and water, reduce runoff from impervious surfaces, reduce the heat island effect, store carbon, and reduce negative effects from greenhouse gases…just to name a few!
One of the exciting tree planting projects that DEP has been working on for the past several years is located at the closed Oaks Landfill in Laytonsville. The first planting occurred on Arbor Day 2011 and since then we have planted more than 45 acres of seedlings. As this grassland transitions into a mature forest, the trees will give us all of the benefits listed above and many more! To protect the seedlings while they grow, we installed a fence around the property that will help protect the trees from damage caused by deer.
This project is made possible by grant money from the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays 2010 Trust Fund, which allows Maryland to accelerate restoration of the Chesapeake Bay by funding nonpoint source pollution control projects. By establishing forests where grassland is mowed, we are helping local jurisdictions meet Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4) permit requirements. Stormwater runoff that flows into County storm drains is often discharged, untreated into local streams. Trees help slow down, soak up, and filter this runoff, thereby decreasing the amount that is traveling through storm drains.
As you can see, there are a lot of benefits to planting trees! If you’re ever in the Laytonsville area, keep an eye out for our little seedlings and watch them grow. For a closer look, stretch your legs on the Blue Mash Trail that provides four miles of surface trails around the buffer area of the Oaks. And always remember…trees are the answer!