A Modern-Day Johnny Appleseed
Don Outen is Baltimore County’s modern-day Johnny Appleseed. But unlike the
legendary figure, Outen has a budget—
thanks to the county’s polluted runoff
Those fees are taking root all over the
county, in the form of trees and forests.
Outen oversees a new effort within the
Department of Environmental Protection
and Sustainability, Baltimore County, to reforest 1,500 acres of the county by 2025.
County citizens are thrilled to see tangible
results from the new fee, Outen said. Along
Perry Hall Boulevard, a young, 2.6-acre
woodlands is now growing, reducing pollution that drains through the area, but also
providing a pleasing view to nearby homes.
Down on the Back River Peninsula a former
13-acre field is now a forest of 1,300 trees.
Other projects are being completed.
Planting trees is one of the most cost-effective means for reducing pollution that
reportsharms local creeks, rivers, and the
Chesapeake Bay. Trees effectively filter
phosphorus and nitrogen pollution from
manure, crop or lawn fertilizer, and other
sources which otherwise cause havoc in
local waterways and the Chesapeake Bay.
But before the county approved a polluted
runoff remediation fee, Outen’s department
had little funding to undertake such projects.
One year into the program, the department
has finished four major reforestation projects totaling 26 acres and has 12 more
projects out to bid. By the time the program is finished about 150,000 new trees
will be planted and will reduce thousands
of pounds of pollutants from reaching local
creeks and rivers. In many cases, the trees
will provide other valuable benefits, including shade, lower energy costs, cleaner air,
and a greener suburban landscape.
The program is only one of many strategies
Baltimore County is using to reduce pollution to local waters and the Chesapeake.
The county is also upgrading sewage
plants, stopping sewer overflows, retro-fitting older polluted runoff ponds,
increasing efforts to restore streams,
revitalizing communities, and taking
Some, but not all of these programs, are
funded by the county’s new polluted runoff
fee. Unfortunately, Baltimore is one of
only a few counties with reforestation
programs, Outen said. CBF hopes to
In September, CBF’s Maryland office issued
a list of critical actions Maryland needs to
take to help restore the Chesapeake. One
of those actions is maximizing the potential
of trees, saving forests from destruction
and encouraging reforestation, especially
along rural and urban streams.
Other necessary actions include reinforcing
the state’s Forest Conservation Act, reducing pollution from manure on Maryland’s
Eastern Shore, strengthening state permits
to populated counties with severe polluted
runoff problems, and better enforcing
various state laws and regulations.
With the legislative session scheduled to
start January 14, 2015, we ask for your
help supporting these actions in the
Maryland General Assembly. In Baltimore
County and elsewhere, your previous help
is being realized.
uFind out more about CBF’s critical actions
for Maryland at cbf.org/Maryland.
Planting trees is one of
the most cost-effective means
for reducing pollution.
Baltimore County plans to plant about 150,000 trees by 2025,
in both rural, and more urban areas of the county.