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Montgomery Planning and Montgomery Countryside Alliance Launch the Re-Leaf the Reserve Campaign to Combat Climate Change

April 29, 2019

An acre in an ecologically sensitive area of the county’s Agricultural Reserve has been reforested with support from the Forest Conservation Penalty Fund to pay for tree planting

SILVER SPRING, MDThe Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is partnering with Montgomery Countryside Alliance (MCA) of Poolesville, MD on the Re-Leaf the Reserve campaign to plant trees in Montgomery County’s Agricultural Reserve. The program supports the county’s pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2027 and 100 percent by 2035. An acre of forest can absorb 68 tons of carbon, the equivalent of taking 17 cars off the road for a year.

The planting of a one-acre pilot project was completed in April 2019 on a working farm in Dickerson, MD that was identified by MCA as an ecologically sensitive stream corridor of the Little Monocacy River. Among the native species planted were red maple, sycamores, river birch, red bud and black willow.

The costs associated with purchasing native plantings and professional installation and care are supported by the Forest Conservation Penalty Fund. In Montgomery County, property owners who do not comply with the forest conservation law or the terms of conservation easements are often issued citations with financial penalties. The proceeds from this fund are used for a variety of purposes, including planting of new forests and non-native invasive plant control in existing forests.

MCA is supporting the program by identifying and coordinating with host properties, creating planting schematics and sourcing trees and local labor. Tax-deductible donations from the public are welcome to support the Re-Leaf the Reserve program (go to the Montgomery Countryside Alliance web site for more information). The first acre has been planted under the Re-Leaf program; MCA has 80 more acres already identified for planting with more landowners looking to get involved (visit the Re-Leaf page).

Oversight of the Re-Leaf the Reserve campaign is provided by MCA board member Carole Bergmann, a former county forest ecologist, founder of Weed Warriors and a board member of several environmental conservation organizations.

For more information, contact Mark Pfefferle at Montgomery Planning at or 301-495-4730 or Caroline Taylor at the Montgomery Countryside Alliance at or 301-461-9831.

About The Montgomery County Planning Department
The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, aims to improve quality of life by conserving and enhancing the natural and built environment for current and future generations. The department creates great communities by developing master plans, reviewing applications for development and analyzing various types of information to help public officials plan for Montgomery County’s future. The department comprises about 150 staff members and provides recommendations, information, analysis and services to the Montgomery County Planning Board, the County Council, the County Executive, other government agencies and the public. Visit

About the Montgomery Countryside Alliance

Montgomery Countryside Alliance (MCA) is a 501c3 nonprofit organization. Since 2001, MCA has promoted sound economic, land-use and transportation policies that preserve the natural environment, open spaces and rural lands in Montgomery County’s Agricultural Reserve for the benefit of all Washington Metropolitan area residents. The group:

  • Advocates for land use and transportation policies that enhance agriculture and land preservation.
  • Educates about the environmental, economic and recreational benefits of local farmland.
  • Supports local farms to strengthen our rural economy through programs like Land Link that matches new and expanding farmers with long term lease on local land.
  • Celebrates the beauty and abundance of the 106,000 acre Ag Reserve.
  • Conserves the economic value and rural landscape of the Ag Reserve for current and future generations of the region.