Operation ReTree Baltimore County, a new equity-based tree planting initiative in highly populated, lower-income neighborhoods, is being expanded with enthusiastic support.
Operation ReTree was developed as a systematic approach to ensure that trees are planted in densely populated communities with lower average incomes and insufficient tree canopy. These areas tend to be more challenging and costly because they have less land available for planting due to tightly condensed roads and utilities – both above and below ground.
“Trees are good for all of us: they improve air quality, support health, and deliver critical long-term benefits to our neighborhoods,” said Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski. “Operation ReTree will facilitate the planting of more than 450 urban trees this spring alone, further supporting our commitment to making Baltimore County greener, healthier, and more sustainable.”
According to a County press release:
In this second season for the program, Baltimore County Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability (EPS) will plant more than 450 native trees at single family and apartment homes in eligible single-family and multi-family communities in Dundalk, Essex, Owings Mills and Randallstown. Olszewski launched Operation ReTree Baltimore County last fall in the Dundalk community of West Inverness, where the County planted some 300 trees in residential yards and public spaces.
Baltimore County EPS will designate additional neighborhoods around Baltimore County for similar hyper-local planting efforts this fall and in future years. Operation ReTree Baltimore County is funded through a combination of sources including $400,000 in Baltimore County capital funds and $1.5 million through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 federal stimulus program (ARPA). The County has applied for additional support from the Chesapeake Bay Trust, which is administering the State of Maryland’s strategy to plant five million trees by 2030 in accordance with the 2021 Tree Solutions Act.
The County’s goal is to achieve and maintain a 50 percent tree canopy Countywide and within the three drinking water reservoirs by the year 2025. Additionally, the County is striving to achieve and maintain 40 percent tree coverage within the more populated areas inside the Urban Rural Demarcation Line (URDL) and for each of the Census Designated Places (CDPs).