(HARRISBURG, PA)—Harry Campbell, executive director for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) in Pennsylvania, applauded passage of the Keystone Tree Fund by the state Senate on Tuesday. The measure could lead to the planting of more trees along streams and streets in the Commonwealth.
The state House of Representatives passed House Bill 374, which creates the Keystone Tree Fund, on June 11. The measure was sponsored by Rep. Garth Everett, R-Lycoming. It is now on its way to Governor Tom Wolf’s desk.
The Keystone Tree Fund creates a voluntary $3 check-off box on Pennsylvania’s driver’s license and vehicle registration online applications to buy, plant, and maintain more trees across the Commonwealth. These voluntary donations will support the existing TreeVitalize and Riparian Forest Buffer Grant programs through the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
Mr. Campbell said:
“Passing the Keystone Tree Fund is a positive step for the Commonwealth’s communities and creeks by giving Pennsylvanians the opportunity to invest in the future of cleaner rivers and streams.
“Roughly 40,000 miles of our rivers and streams are damaged by pollution and trees are one of the most cost-effective tools for improving local water quality.
“Along streams, trees filter and absorb polluted runoff, improve soil health, and cleanse drinking water sources. They also cool the water and improve habitat for important critters like brook trout and the Eastern hellbender.
“Along streets they help cleanse and reduce runoff going into storm drains, beautify communities, and sequester carbon.
“Additional resources through the Keystone Tree Fund will accelerate efforts to reach the Commonwealth’s Clean Water Blueprint goal of 95,000 acres of forested buffers in Pennsylvania’s portion of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. It is a goal shared by DCNR and CBF.
“The Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership, coordinated by CBF, was launched last year and intends to plant 10 million trees in the Commonwealth by the end of 2025.”