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Preserving forest life will protect the Chesapeake Bay | READER COMMENTARY

Zach Carnegie of Finksburg preps a tree for planting while volunteering with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation at Knox Farm in Taneytown on Saturday, Oct. 17. The mission of the large scale project, with the planting of over 2,000 trees on more than 8 acres of land, is to create a new riparian forest buffer along Piney Creek.
Zach Carnegie of Finksburg preps a tree for planting while volunteering with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation at Knox Farm in Taneytown on Saturday, Oct. 17. The mission of the large scale project, with the planting of over 2,000 trees on more than 8 acres of land, is to create a new riparian forest buffer along Piney Creek. (Brian Krista/Carroll County Times)

There’s clearly a lot of work left to do to get the Chesapeake Bay as healthy as it should be (“Chesapeake Bay receives another D+ on health report, due largely to struggling rockfish population,” Jan. 5.)

Maryland lawmakers can give our water, and all the fish living in it, a big boost by simply protecting forests and helping farmers and cities plant more trees.

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Forests and trees do a lot of work for free. They filter our air and water, trapping pollutants like nitrogen and phosphorus that cause algae blooms and dead zones in the bay, and shade streams to the benefit of aquatic life. They also help fight climate change by regulating floods and trapping carbon. Protecting them is a simple and straightforward solution to help us clean the bay, with a lot of added benefits.

The state legislature should follow the lead of counties like Anne Arundel, Howard and Frederick and adopt stricter laws to save the forests we have and keep Maryland from losing these valuable services. It could also do more to help farmers plant forested buffers along streams, which would offer a more permanent solution to reduce agricultural pollution in the bay watershed.

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Better management of rockfish and other fisheries is important, but the bottom line is fish and wildlife will continue to struggle as long as the bay is dirty and preserving and planting more trees will help fix that.

Judi Guralnick, Baltimore

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