Montgomery County Council Passes Legislation to Achieve Greater Forest Planting and Conservation in Montgomery County

Per Montgomery County: The Montgomery County Council voted today to pass legislation which will help the County achieve greater forest planting and forest conservation with a goal of no net loss.
“Montgomery County’s forests, parks and green spaces are among our most treasured assets,” said Council President Evan Glass, who chairs the Council’s Transportation and Environment (TE) Committee. “The ‘no net loss’ measures included in Expedited Bill 25-22 allow us to meet the current needs of our County while simultaneously planning for a sustainable future.”

Expedited Bill 25-22, Forest Conservation – Trees, in companion with the resolution to approve Montgomery County Planning Board Regulation No. 25-22 on Forest Conservation – Trees, will amend Chapter 22A, the Forest Conservation Law, and the Planning Board’s forest conservation regulations. The Council passed an amendment to expedite the legislation.

The amendments to the Forest Conservation Law and regulations are proposed to achieve greater forest planting and forest conservation in Montgomery County, with a goal of achieving an equal or greater area of forest planted than forest removed on a Countywide level by projects subject to the Montgomery County Forest Conservation Law.

Specifically, the amendments will require maintenance plans in some instances if mature forest is struggling to compete with non-native invasive plants; discourage forest clearing and incentivize forest planting in areas with low forest cover; strengthen reforestation ratios; increase required planting in stream valley buffers; and require more mitigation for removal of large trees, among other measures.

The updated legislation will protect and expand Montgomery County forests and move the County closer toward its ambitious climate goals.
The Council held two public hearings on Oct. 4, 2022, and Feb. 7, 2023. The TE Committee held a work session on February 27 and recommended enactment with amendments.
The lead sponsor is former Council President Gabe Albornoz, at the request of the Planning Board.
The full staff report can be viewed here.

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