Frederick County is home to about 7,800 new saplings after the Chesapeake Bay Foundation helped fund tree planting projects on two separate farms.
Trees were planted on about 17 acres of land by creeks that run into the Monocacy River.
The effort is not only good for the environment but it’s also part of the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program and allows the farmers involved to receive incentives, including easements, for implementing best environmental practices on their properties.
Farmer Eddie Harrison put his entire property under a permanent easement after purchasing it in February. He has a CREP contract for the trees and an easement for his property.
The Chesapeake Bay Foundation helped fund the projects after new applications for the Maryland Agricultural Water Quality Cost-Share Program — a state program that funds projects like this — temporarily stopped being processed.
The federal government wanted to complete the projects, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Frederick asked the bay foundation to help with funding, which came from its carbon reduction funds.
The first project took place on Harrison's farm on Fountain School Road near Libertytown and consisted of nine acres of riparian forest buffer with about 4,000 trees planted along Dollyhyde Creek. Cattle fencing will also be installed.
The second project took place at a farm on Green Valley Road in Keymar and includes 8.5 acres of riparian forest buffer with about 3,800 trees along Linganore Creek. Cattle fencing will also be installed.
Frederick County contractor Parkton Woodland Services did both plantings. The business is based in Myersville and “is a full-service forest consulting company,” specializing in “timber sale administration, timber appraisal, tree planting and management plan preparation,” according to their website.
Rob Schnabel, a restoration scientist at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, said planting trees along streams is one of the best things to do for water quality because when polluted water runs off the land and into the water, the trees act as a filter. They can also help reduce erosion by holding the stream banks together.
Cattle fencing helps keep livestock out of streams, which is important for several reasons including the health of the animals and because nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus in animal waste cause algae blooms, which are a big problem in the Bay.
Harrison said the fencing isn’t part of his CREP contract but maintaining the trees is and the fence will help him do that. He also said he chose the area for the project because he knew it was good to have the creek fenced off from livestock.
Frederick County has the most buffers to plant in the state in order to meet the state’s 2025 goals for bay restoration.