(Posted by Dawn Stoltzfus.)
With all the recent focus on the Chesapeake Bay TMDL and local WIPs, here’s something that may have flown under the radar of Marylanders following Bay restoration efforts: the Maryland Sustainable Forestry Council is developing a set of legislative proposals to achieve a “No Net Loss” of forests in Maryland, due by December 1, 2011. It seems like we could easily be losing sight of the forest for the trees!
Last week, former Maryland State Senator Gerald Winegrad testified before the Council. As Senator Winegrad notes in his testimony, “the Sustainable Forestry Council can greatly assist in efforts to restore the Bay by focusing on nonpoint source pollution as forests and wetlands are the greatest protectors of the Bay from pollutants.”
Senator Winegrad’s testimony includes two measures that are a part of the Senior Bay Scientists and Policymakers’ 25-step action plan: Adopt a No Net Loss of Forest Coverage and Require Forested Buffers along 85% of Riparian Areas, and Target Existing Funding and Amend the Forest Conservation Act (FCA) to Achieve No Net Loss and Expanded Buffers.
Not only do forests and buffers along waterways do an excellent job at reducing pollution, they also provide valuable wildlife habitat, restore fisheries, reduce flooding and improve air quality.
While the public meetings are now finished, you can let the Sustainable Forestry Council know you support these recommendations by emailing: SFCComments@dnr.state.md.us.