Restoration efforts take place at Frederick County farm


FREDERICK COUNTY, Md. (WDVM) — Volunteers and Chesapeake Bay Foundation staff finished planting over 1,000 trees at a Frederick County farm last weekend. This was one of two large-scale tree plantings over the past month – the other took place in Carroll County.

These plantings are part of an ongoing effort to clean up the Chesapeake Bay. Streamside forest buffers like the ones that were planted have a big impact on filtering runoff and pollution.

“A lot of people still think of water quality as something you need to do in the water, but at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, we’re really trying to work up in the watershed on land to reduce these pollutants before they get into the water,” said A.J. Metcalf, the Maryland media and communications coordinator for the CBF.

The owners of the farm in Frederick County, Steve and Ruth Ann Derrenbacher, have been working with the CBF to improve runoff for years. Rob Schnabel, a restoration scientist with the CBF, said they have planted almost 4,000 trees at that farm in the past three years.

The farm also practices rotational sheep grazing, which is a form of regenerative agriculture. This type of agriculture helps return nutrients to the soil and reduce erosion.

“It is critical not only for water quality, and for future farming, but it’s critical for climate change as well,” said Schnabel.

Costs for projects such as this one are often covered by local or state funding as well as other grants.

“It’s very important for us to let farmers and other landowners know they don’t have to bear the cost of these environmental improvements, that there are programs that will pay for a lot of the cost, if not all of the costs,” said Metcalf.

Due to COVID-19, the CBF limited their volunteers to 60 for these projects and spread them out in separate planting areas with their families.

Schnabel said that people with less land can help by planting pollinator gardens or adding trees on unused land. He also said that two-thirds of the forested area helping them work towards their 2025 goals for a cleaner Chesapeake Bay is located in Frederick, Washington and Carroll counties.

“This region of the state is critical to meet the state’s watershed implementation plan for a clean bay,” he said.

Any landowner who is interested in participating in a similar project can reach Schnabel at (443) 482-2175 or can find more information at CBF’s website.

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