10 million trees could be planted over the next 7 years in Pa. |

10 million trees could be planted over the next 7 years in Pa.

Mary Ann Thomas

A host of government agencies, nonprofits and others want to plant 10 million trees in Pennsylvania over the next seven years for cleaner water and air

The Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership, coordinated by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, was announced Tuesday by officials from the federal Environmental Protection Agency, and the Pennsylvania departments of Agriculture, Environmental Protection, and Conservation and Natural Resources.

Plans are already in the works to plant 31,000 trees at more than 50 locations throughout the commonwealth.

None are planned for southwestern Pennsylvania just yet, but the Pittsburgh area will be included in the effort.

Dates and participating watershed groups and government agencies are still in the planning stage, according to B.J. Small, a spokesman with the partnership.

Besides cleaning the air, trees filter out pollutants in groundwater, absorb stormwater and prevent erosion.

Why plant 10 million trees? Pennsylvania’s Clean Water Blueprint calls for roughly an additional 96,000 acres of new streamside forests, or riparian forest buffers, to be planted.

“That equates to about 8.5 million new trees at the average density per acre recommended by restoration specialists. Adding street trees, planting on abandoned mine land, and other priority landscapes rounded our total up to 10 million,” according to the partnership’s website .

Funding still has to be worked out.

Proposals include a “Keystone Tree Fund,” a voluntary check-off box on driver’s license applications in the commonwealth. Those contributions would support the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Forested Riparian Buffer and TreeVitalize programs.

Mary Ann Thomas is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-226-4691, [email protected] or via Twitter @MaThomas_Trib.

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