At the Cacapon Institute, experts are working to assess and enhance tree canopy in the area, but since land cover data has been released by the Chesapeake Bay Program both, high resolution land cover dataset, and tax parcel information are now available to the entire eight counties of the Eastern Panhandle.
“With those two pieces of information we could do specific targeted assessments in looking at land cover on specific sites, figuring out where they can have trees, and where they can plant trees in the future,” said Tanner Haid, of the Cacapon Institute.
In the past, these data sets have been available to certain counties, but this is the first time the information is open to the entire service area helping experts work to provide more tree cover and benefits to different settings.
“They provide shade for us when we recreate. They shade our buildings and homes, which reduces our heating and cooling cost. They provide habitat for wild life. They capture rain storm water in a rain event,” Haid stated.
Even places like Jefferson County Parks and Recreation have also benefited potentially cutting the cost of maintenance to their facilities.
“People want to come out, and they want to hear the birds chirping in the trees, and they want to see the greens in the fall… So I think it helps the quality of life in the park to have the trees planted,” said Jennifer Myers of Jefferson County Parks and Recreation Commission.