Frederick County recently announced the opening of applications for the 2021 Creek ReLeaf Program.
The Creek ReLeaf Program is a reforestation program designed to increase forest acres in Frederick County and to meet goals for clean streams. The program is administered by the Frederick County Office of Sustainability and Environmental Resources and is an integral part of County Executive Jan H. Gardner’s efforts to reverse the trend of tree loss in the county. The Creek ReLeaf Program plants eligible areas with native trees/shrubs and provides the first five years of maintenance to ensure successful planting efforts, at no cost to the landowner.
There are several advantages to forested lands, including stormwater control, reducing temperature impacts on county streams, and increasing wildlife habitat. The area that is planted will have lasting protection by a permanent conservation easement, which will continue even if the property is sold. If accepted into the program landowners will receive payment for the permanent conservation easement, which is based on 75% of fair market value of the land to be planted, up to $9,000 per acre. The landowner still owns and uses the land under an easement as long as the use does not violate the terms of the easement. Selective harvesting is allowed as part of a forestry management plan under certain conditions, which may provide long-term revenue to the landowner from having a healthy forest.
The application period for the 2021 Creek ReLeaf Program will run through December 1, 2021. Plantings are tentatively scheduled for spring/fall 2023.