It's called "Greenshores," an innovative Maryland program to plant trees along the Chesapeake Bay. And the state would share the costs with private individuals.
"It's analogous to buying a tree in Israel," David Carroll, Gov. William Donald Schaefer's Chesapeake Bay coordinator, explained yesterday to the House Appropriations Committee. "We'll encourage people to 'buy' a tree along the Chesapeake."
Schaefer is asking the legislature to appropriate $400,000 for the program. It is a piece -- potentially the most visible piece -- of $8 million the governor is seeking in additional money this year to clean up the bay.
Of the total, $5 million is to upgrade sewage treatment plants and the rest is for various programs, including the tree planting, designed to achieve the goals of an interstate compact signed in December to clean up the bay.
Schaefer has targeted $1.25 million for programs aimed at replenishing oysters, which were ravaged by disease this year. Almost $500,000 has been set aside to reduce nutrient runoff from farms into streams.
While some delegates expressed mild skepticism about the effort, the governor's Chesapeake Bay "enhancements" won support yesterday from a leading environmental group that has been critical in the past.
Will Baker, president of the nonprofit Chesapeake Bay Foundation, said he was "guardedly optimistic" about the renewed effort to restore the country's largest estuary to its former pristine glory.
In a related development, the Senate unanimously approved a bill yesterday that would ban the use of phosphates in detergents, identified as a contributing factor in pollution of the Chesapeake Bay. A temporary phosphate ban has been in effect since 1985 but is scheduled to expire next year.