Montgomery Planning Launches No Net Loss of Forest Initiative

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Initiative considers ideas that would strengthen Montgomery County’s Forest Conservation Law and support new forest conservation programs.

Per Montgomery Planning:

WHEATON, MD – Montgomery Planning has launched the No Net Loss of Forest Initiative. Over the next several months, stakeholders are considering ideas to achieve a more balanced approach to forest conservation across Montgomery County, including potential amendments to the County’s Forest Conservation Law, policy changes, and additions to its forest conservation programs such as Reforest Montgomery.

Once recommendations for amendments or other legislation are finalized, they will go through a series of internal and external reviews, including a review by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, before being introduced to the Montgomery County Planning Board. Staff anticipates that a Planning Board discussion on this topic will occur in early spring of 2022, which will be followed by a public comment period and public hearing.

The Planning Department’s Forest Conservation staff are holding two virtual listening sessions in December that the public is invited to attend:

Before each session, it is recommended that you watch the staff presentation about the initiative.

Forest Conservation in Montgomery County

Since 1993, projects subject to the Montgomery County Forest Conservation Lawhave focused primarily on protection of pre-existing forest (both on-site and off-site) to meet requirements, resulting in permanent protection for more than 12,500 acres of forest in Montgomery County. Additionally, the law has resulted in planting of more than 2,500 acres of new forest in the county, which are also permanently protected. These planting and protection efforts intend to mitigate for the clearing of over 4,000 acres of forest by projects subject to the county law.

Montgomery Planning is proud that the Forest Conservation Law has resulted in planting and protection of more than 15,000 acres of quality forest in the county, roughly 16% of the county’s forest. The goal of this new initiative is to bring the acreage of forest planted and acreage of forest cleared closer together for the county as a whole, while retaining the option to protect pre-existing forest that has been successful to date.

To learn more about the Montgomery County Forest Conservation Law, see our FAQs.

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