What is urban tree canopy and what does it have to do with Marylandís Bay restoration strategy?
Marylandís ReLeaf program improves water quality and manages stormwater runoff by increasing the forest buffer along the streams and tributaries that feed the Chesapeake Bay. Trees next to streams filter pollution, help stabilize banks and cool the water for fish.
However, this strategy is not as effective in urban areas, where stormwater management is designed primarily to reduce flooding by moving stormwater to the Bay as quickly as possible. Thus, the stateís Urban Tree Canopy (UTC) program complements the Stream ReLeaf initiative by expanding green spaces and the layer of leaves, branches, and tree stems in urban communities throughout Maryland.
By increasing the tree canopy in urban communities, stormwater runoff and stream channel erosion can be reduced, water and soil quality can be improved, air borne pollutants such as particulates, nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide can be filtered, and summer temperatures and resulting ozone pollution and energy use can be reduced.
To date, 36 communities have committed to participation in the UTC effort. They include Annapolis, Baltimore, 29 communities in Baltimore County, Bowie, Cumberland, Greenbelt, Hyattsville, and Rockville. Those communities have a combined population of over 1.4 million and represent more than 25 percent of Maryland's urban population.
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