Pennsylvania Update

From the Desk of Shannon Gority

Fall/Winter2020

Smart Plan for More Trees

CBF plans to make significant purchases that will pay off for businesses and forested buffers in Pennsylvania. CBF, which coordinates the Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership, will spend about $2.6 million on 710,000 trees, shelters, and stakes to supply the effort for the next two years. The partnership, made up of 147 national, regional, state and local partners, intends to plant 10 million trees in Pennsylvania by the end of 2025.

The deals will benefit businesses like the Aquatic Resource Restoration Company, headquartered in New Freedom, York County, that provide trees and materials, and will be able to grow because of guaranteed sales through forward contracting.

Aquatic Resource is among seven companies awarded bids after CBF issued requests for proposals (RFP) for 210,000 trees, stakes, and shelters for 2021 and 500,000 trees for 2022. RFPs for trees have been issued for single years since 2018, but contracting two years ahead to 2022, is unique for CBF. “There are opportunities for the winning bidders to have payment up front and regularly through that growing period,” says Bill Chain, CBF Senior Agriculture Program Manager in Pennsylvania. “So, they are minimizing risk. The economic viability of the grower is advanced by our action and we’re right here at the right time, doing this.”

Aquatic Resource has sold trees to CBF since 2018. Striking deals for 2021 and 2022 allows the family-owned company to reach for some of its goals. Vice President Nathan Irwin says Aquatic Resource would like to push its native nursery in Glen Rock, Pennsylvania, to maximum capacity, from about 200,000 native trees and shrubs up to 500,000.

“If we have to expand, we’ve had conversations of acquiring more land to grow our nursery operation,” Irwin says. Aquatic Resource may add to its 45-person workforce next year. The positive, economic ripple effect of forward contracting extends beyond the companies awarded bids.

“The contractors that our partners pay to do the planting work and the maintenance contractors caring for these planting sites, in the future will benefit,” says Brenda Sieglitz, CBF’s Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership Manager. The new contracts will also increase the diversity of native trees for planting. “We like to see our plantings have a mix of a minimum of 10 species per acre,” Sieglitz adds. “That 10 species spread out among 200 trees gives us a great ecological wildlife benefit.”

Growing trees in Pennsylvania from seed to shipping was a plus for RFP bidders. Selection criteria also gave points toward non-profits and to women, minority, veteran, and small businesses.

 —Shannon Gority 
Pennsylvania Executive Director
Chesapeake Bay Foundation

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