ARRA Tree Planting Project Supports One Million Tree Initiative; Greener Highways
(October 23, 2009) – Next week, the Maryland Department of Transportation’s State Highway Administration (SHA) is adding some green to the tanned sands of the shore with a $211,000 tree planting project in Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s, Talbot, Wicomico and Worcester counties. The project should be complete by summer 2010, weather permitting. SHA will plant trees at 25 locations, throughout more than 33 acres of State property.
SHA is planting more than 14,600 native tree species in medians, roadsides, interchanges and wetlands on the Eastern Shore. The tree plantings are part of the One Million Trees effort, which is part of Governor Martin O’Malley’s Smart, Green and Growing Initiative. Some of the varieties of trees that will adorn the shore include Pin Oaks, Red Maples, Sassafras and Tulip Poplars, as well as other native east coast trees.
“Planting trees is providing enormous benefits to our natural environment,” said SHA Administrator Neil J. Pedersen. “Our aggressive tree planting program is helping SHA move to a greener highway system.”
The simple act of planting trees has a significant benefit to the environment in several profound ways:
• Enhancing water quality for Coastal Bay and Chesapeake Bay Watershed regions;
• Providing habitats for wildlife;
• Stabilizing top soil, which reduces runoff;
• Reducing mowing therefore reducing greenhouse gas emissions; and
• Sequestering carbon dioxide.
This project is made possible through Governor Martin O’Malley’s aggressive management of the requirements of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, bringing critically needed transportation investments to Maryland. Projects such as these are stimulating Maryland’s economy by supporting hundreds of jobs. Follow the delivery of these projects at www.recovery.maryland.gov
, which tracks every category of ARRA spending and provides contract-level details to the public in an effort to achieve new levels of government transparency and efficiency.
To encourage citizen participation in reforesting Maryland, the Governor recently launched Marylanders Plant Trees, through which citizens can receive $25 discount coupons for the purchase of native trees costing $50 or more from participating nurseries across the State. Whether taking advantage of the coupon program or not, citizens who plant new trees are asked to use the State’s new website, www.trees.maryland.gov
– which offers valuable planting advice -- to register the trees they’ve planted and calculate their benefits.
Introduced by Governor Martin O’Malley in October 2008, Maryland’s Smart, Green & Growing initiative was created to strengthen the state’s leadership role in fostering smarter, more sustainable growth and inspiring action among all Marylanders to achieve a more sustainable future. The initiative brings together state agencies, local governments, businesses and citizens to create more livable communities, improve transportation options, reduce the state’s carbon footprint, support resource based industry, invest in green technologies, preserve valuable resource lands and restore the health of the Chesapeake Bay.
SHA’s contractor for the project is Denison Landscaping of Fort Washington. Those who have questions about tree plantings throughout the State may call SHA’s Office of Environmental Design toll-free at 1-800-446-5962.