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MDOT 5 Million Trees Initiative

May 30th, 2023 by WCBC Radio

The Maryland Department of Transportation is branching out in its commitment to support the state’s goal of planting five million trees by 2031 with initiatives that add thousands of new trees a year across Maryland through plantings, grants for community-based efforts and programs that encourage support for the Maryland Forest Service.The department is among state agencies involved in Growing 5 Million Trees in Maryland, a plan designed to help the state meet its goal to plant and maintain five million native trees in Maryland by the end of calendar year 2031. The initiative, led by a commission chaired by the Maryland Department of the Environment, stems from the Tree Solutions Now Act, passed by the Maryland General Assembly in 2021.The department routinely plants trees as part of highway, bridge, transit and other projects, but since those plantings largely mitigate the impact of those projects, they don’t count toward the 5 Million Trees initiative. However, led by its Office of Climate Change Resilience and Adaptation, the department does conduct other tree planting programs, including:

  • The Maryland Department of Transportation’s Urban Tree Grant Program, a partnership with the Maryland Urban and Community Forest Committee and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, awards grants of up to $5,000 for tree plantings and more than $5,000 for pocket forest projects. The grants can be used by nonprofits, schools, local business associations, youth and civic groups and others, and can help areas affected by environmental justice issues or heat island effect – such as urban areas with little tree canopy. NOTE: Applications for fall grants are being accepted through July 15. 
  • The Motor Vehicle Administration’s Tree Planting Donation allows Marylanders to make a voluntary donation of $1, or more, when registering or renewing a vehicle registration, to the Maryland Forest Service to plant trees.
  • The Maryland Port Administration’s Urban Forestry Partnership works with communities to restore tree canopy on streets and parks in Baltimore City. Between 2018 and 2020, the Partnership planted 1,500 trees in neighborhoods across Baltimore