Dept. of Natural Resources Sets Listening Tour on State Forest Action Plan

    The Department of Natural Resources is kicking off a statewide listening tour as the agency prepares to update the State Forest Action Plan in 2020, which guides funding and priorities for the Maryland Forest Service and relevant stakeholders.

    The listening sessions begin Wednesday at Frostburg State University, 101 Braddock Rd., Frostburg. That session is scheduled to run from 6:30-8:30 p.m.

    DNR’s examination of the state’s forests comes as lawmakers during the recent General Assembly session passed measures that would add extra protections for forestland in the state:

    • HB 735/SB 729, sponsored by Del. Anne Healey (D-Prince George’s) and Sen. Guy J. Guzzone (D-Howard), would create a Forest Conservation Task Force to monitor and address future deforestation and make recommendations to prevent forest loss without overly disrupting growth and development.


    • HB 272/SB 234, sponsored by Del. Steven Lafferty (D-Baltimore County) and Sen. Ronald N. Young (D-Frederick) would strengthen the Forest Conservation Fee-in-Lieu Program, which enables local governments to collect a fee from developers in lieu of the developer’s reforestation responsibilities.

    Both pieces of legislation await Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr.’s signature.

    Here is the schedule for the rest of the DNR listening tour:

    — May 9, 1-4 p.m. Anthony M. Natelli Community Room, Urbana Regional Library, 9020 Amelung St., Frederick

    — May 13, 2-5 p.m., Department of Natural Resources, 580 Taylor Ave., Room C-1, Annapolis

    — May 14, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Legacy Center, Ward Museum of Wildfowl, 909 South Schumaker Drive, Salisbury

    — May 15, 9 a.m.-noon Chesapeake College, HPAC-127, Health Professions and Athletic Center, 1000 College Circle, Wye Mills

    — May 20, 1-4 p.m. Charles County Public Library, 3225 Ruth B Swann Dr., Indian Head

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    Josh Kurtz
    Co-founder and Editor Josh Kurtz is the leading chronicler of Maryland politics and government. He began covering the State House in 1995 for The Gazette newspapers, and has been writing about state and local politics ever since. He later became an editor at Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, and spent eight years at E&E News, an online subscription-only publisher of news websites covering energy and environmental issues. For seven of those years, he led a staff of 20 reporters at E&E Daily, which covers energy and environmental policy on Capitol Hill and in national politics. For 6 1/2 years he wrote a weekly column on state politics for Center Maryland and has written for several other Maryland publications as well. Kurtz has given speeches and appeared on TV and radio shows about Maryland politics through the years.