Montgomery County Council Passed Unanimously an updated Forest Conservation Law!

3/21/23 Breaking News! Bill 25-22 – Forest Conservation Tree passed UNANIMOUSLY by the Montgomery County Council! Thanks to your advocacy and years of work Montgomery County’s Forests will now be more protected! The new bill will update the existing MOCO Forest Conservation Law in the following four ways which are listed as follows: 

  1. Expand the types of priority areas that must be retained, unless the applicant qualifies for a variance, to include floodplains and stream buffers;
  2. If a variance is granted for a floodplain or stream buffer, require a ratio of 2:1 if the reforestation occurs within the same watershed or within another watershed priority area, and require a ratio of 2 ½:1 if the reforestation occurs elsewhere in the County outside of a watershed priority area;
  3. Provide additional flexibility regarding forest banks in the event the General Assembly amends state law to allow the banks to include existing forest credits;
  4. Make technical clarifications.

See the full Bill 25-22 final report here and watch the final Council vote here.
Read the MOCO Forest Coalition’s Press Release here.

2/27/23 Update:  The Transportation and Environment Committee (T&E) favorably passed Bill 25-22 at the 2/27/23 worksession. Bill will now go into full council vote on 3/21/23.  Watch the full T&E committee work session here. Keep up the pressure! Send a letter of support to Council to pass this Bill 25-22 at the 3/21/23 full council meeting using our form below.

2/7/23 Update: Nature Forward testified on Bill 25-22 – Forest Conservation- Tree bill today. You can read our full written testimony below and watch the full hearing (starting at 15:04 min ) using this link.

The recently released Hughes Center Report on Maryland’s Forests found that “Montgomery and Prince George’s counties accounted for more than 44% of the state’s total tree canopy loss.”

Montgomery County Council had a hearing on Forest Conservation Bill 25-22 on Tuesday, February 7th at 1:30pm. The Montgomery County Forest Coalition has been working for the past 3 years to strengthen and pass the county’s updated forest conservation law. The current bill does strength the existing law but elected officials now can be bolder and approve even stronger protections.



Send in a letter!

[INACTIVE]: Send in your letter directly to Council. Using the information & form below (fill in your contact information and click the red “Start Writing” button), write a letter to the Montgomery County Council. Make sure you include:

  • Demand that Council approves Bill 25-22 at the 3/21/23 full council hearing.
  • Ask Council to not weaken bill any further.
  • Demand that Council protects all existing contiguous forests in the county and that forest protection includes all forest ecosystems.
    • A full forest ecosystem includes healthy soil, drainage, healthy fungi in the soil, healthy micro-biotic communities in the soil, biomass; groundcover; shrub layer, tree understory layer; tree canopy layer, diversity of different types of trees and plants.
  • Request higher expectations for preserving forest on development sites.
  • Adopt the stronger replanting requirements to replace more of what is cleared.
  • Dedicate and establish a fund for controlling invasive plants and long-term tree maintenance (to be considered in a future legislation).