Protect Our Urban Tree Canopy!
A healthy city has a tree canopy of at least 40%. Baltimore City currently has a 28% tree canopy. In order to continue to grow our city’s tree canopy, we must protect our existing trees. Trees clean our air and water, reduce flooding, lower temperatures and energy bills, improve public health and social cohesion, and beautify our neighborhoods.
In 1991, Maryland passed the Forest Conservation Act to establish rules to minimize tree loss during development. To comply with the Forest Conservation Act, the City of Baltimore enacted local legislation to enforce the Forest Conservation Program. But the City has not made any changes to our local Forest Conservation Program in over a decade.
Council Bill 20-0546 Natural Resources - Forest and Tree Conservation would make updates to the Code and the City’s manual in order to comply with state law, codify existing policies, and coordinate with other City environmental regulations. These updates will help curb future tree canopy loss due to development and build toward a greener, healthier city.
The Judiciary Committee passed the bill on August 4th but added an amendment that exempts the Department of Recreation & Parks from state-level afforestation requirements. This amendment should be removed -- Rec & Parks should be required to plant new trees as a matter of course, for every park project, not exempted from a critical forest conservation rule.
Ask your Baltimore City Council Member to support Council Bill 20-0546 today and remove Amendment 5.