Enhancing the Green Infrastructure Network (GIN), 4 Acres of Newly Planted Trees

January 2022

In 2021 Howard County enhanced the Green Infrastructure Network (GIN) with over four acres of newly planted trees.  

The GIN is a system of the County’s largest, connected natural areas, including forests, wetlands, meadows, and waterways. It consists of hubs (the natural areas providing habitat) and corridors (the linear features that tie hubs together and allow for plant and animal movement).  

The GIN provides important services for people, wildlife, and pollinators, such as carbon sequestration, air, and water filtration, as well as beautiful landscapes for mental health benefits. Protecting, maintaining, and enhancing the GIN has many benefits. 

Several tree-planting projects in 2021 helped contribute to the enhancement of the GIN, including a private residential partnership with property owners in Woodbine, a stream buffer project in Ellicott City, and a tree planting at Savage Park during the Department of Recreation and Park’s Family Volunteer Day.  

The first project, located off Daisy Road in Woodbine, added nearly 1 acre of planted trees to the GIN corridor adjacent to a recent stream restoration and a large riparian buffer planting. The 120 trees planted at this project site were selected to maximize wildlife value. This planting widens the forested area of the corridor which increases the likelihood of species movement between hubs.   

This project was the result of collaboration between Howard County Government, Howard EcoWorks, and Howard County private property owners. The owners were thrilled participants and excited to convert turf grass to a forested buffer to provide greater habitat value to the area.   

This Green Infrastructure Network corridor is particularly valuable as it provides a unique link across Howard County’s two major watersheds, connecting the Patapsco and Patuxent watersheds.  This cross-watershed link provides a greater habitat range and increases the chances of species diversity and survival.   

In another project, the County added two acres of stream buffer to a Patapsco River tributary off of Furrow Avenue in Ellicott City. The project included the planting of 175 native, upland trees. An adjacent area was planted with 100 smaller native trees that are particularly beneficial to pollinators and will not grow large enough to interfere with overhead utility lines on the site. A few of these species include eastern redbud, serviceberry, and flowering dogwood. Click here to learn more about pollinators and how you can provide habitat for them.  

The County also enhanced the GIN during the Department of Rec and Park’s Family Volunteer Day on November 20th, 2021. Robinson Nature Center staff members, along with 23 dedicated volunteers, planted 25 trees at Savage Park and cleaned up 120 pounds of litter along the Open Space Trail and the Middle Patuxent River floodplain.  

In addition to these projects and events, Howard County Recreation and Parks planted 7,400 trees in 2021. The County’s Annual Fall Tree Giveaway resulted in 2,000 trees planted by Howard County residents and 38 trees were planted through a new partnership with the Howard County Housing Commission.  

Howard County will continue maintaining and enhancing our green infrastructure in 2022 with additional tree plantings, forest maintenance, and improved access to natural areas.  

Watch the video here.