Council to Vote this Tuesday March 21 on the Forest Conservation Bill

FOSC and many other non-profits have been working to strengthen Montgomery County’s existing Forest Conservation Law. A proposed update to the existing law would protect contiguous forests, expand requirements for replanting, and require retention of some forest on development sites, among other items.

You can read the Public Hearing Staff Report created for the first public hearing on Oct 4th which includes proposed amendments and public testimony submitted prior to the hearing.

Since the first hearing, a recently released Hughes Center Report on Maryland’s Forests found that “Montgomery and Prince George’s counties accounted for more than 44% of the state’s total tree canopy loss.” You can view and interact with the associated online StoryMap with data and results produced for the study.

The findings of the study underscore the need for strengthening the Forest Conservation Law to stop the rapid loss of forest, which impairs stormwater management and erosion control, expands invasive plants into the ecosystem and a host of other ill effects.

The full County Council will consider the bill on Tuesday, March 21.

Please write to the entire County Council ([email protected]) to request swift approval of the bill without further amendments. Nature Forward has a Take Action page with a letter-writing section that makes it easy to send a letter of any length and a resources section to provide background and source documents to support your request.

1997 Forest Map

1997 Forest Map

COG map of stormwater projects and forest cover as of 2019.

COG map of Sligo stormwater projects and forest cover as of 2019.

Above: COG map of Sligo stormwater projects and forest cover as of 2019.

Technical Study on Changes in Forest Cover and Tree Canopy in Maryland, published in Nov 2022.