Action alert

Attention forest landowners, resource managers and all those who promote the sustainablity of our forest landbase.........

Your help is needed.
Contact your legislators today and request their support for
SB 243 / HB 226
State Capital Projects - High Performance Buildings - Green Globe Rating

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Hearing set before Senate Budget & Taxation (B&T) Committee on February 11 at 1:30

Action needed:
  • Contact your legislators, members of the Senate B&T Committee and DNR Secretary John Griffin and get their support for SB 243 / HB 226 State Capital Projects - High Performance Buildings - Green Globe Rating .
  • Contact information for all Senators and Delegates can be found on the Maryland General Website. Contact or find a Legislator
  • Inform other Tree Farmers and forest landowners of this issue and encourage them to do write and call.
  • Thank those that are already supporting this effort: Senators Greenip (lead sponsor), Brinkley, Colburn, Edwards, Harris, Middleton, and Stoltzfus Delegates Beitzel (lead co-sponsor) , Bates, Boteler, Eckardt, Elmore, Frank, Haddaway, McComas, Miller, Myers, Norman, Riley, Serafini, Shewell, Smigiel, Sossi, Stifler, and Stull
  • Copy the MFA office on your letters and emails.
  • Come to Annapolis and testify. Numbers count! MFA is working with ATFS and AF&PA on this effort. Hearing details at
Why is this needed?

SB 243, will amend the High Performance Buildings Act of 2008 to include Green Globes (GG) as a viable option to meet the required High Performance Buildings (green building) standards. GG is another program for Green Building standards and in addition to recognizing wood that Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified, it also recognizes and gives credit for wood grown under the American Tree Farm System and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative.

As of 2008, there are 58,049 acres of SFI forests and 1155 certified tree farms in Maryland, covering 162,969 acres. Because the State's use of the LEED system in meeting the high performance building mandate, SFI or ATFS forests owned by Maryland's tree farmers cannot be used. Furthermore, it is more likely that the wood in State buildings will wind up coming from other states, or even overseas, than from Maryland.

As a result, many certified Tree Farmers growing acres of wood in Maryland miss out on a market when LEED is being used as the Green Building standard. This creates an additional disincentive to keeping their forests in forest.

The "High Performance Buildings Act" of 2008 mandated that all future state building projects adhere to green building requirements. MFA is in favor of "green buildings". The problem, however, is that the only method specifically named in the Act for rating these buildings is a system called Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).

As MFA has noted before, LEED only provides credit for wood products from forests certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), a system that is common overseas but not widely used in Maryland. In "high performance building" or "green building" projects, wood building materials that come from sustainably managed forests provide higher ratings. However, with its FSC only policy, wood grown under the American Tree Farm System (ATFS) or the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), both nationally recognized certification programs, is does not receive credit and is therefore not usable within the LEED program.

In 2005, Green Globes (GG) was in the MD green building legislation that was enacted. GG was listed in statute alongside LEED in the bill's definition of "high performance building." At the time, all parties agreed to GG inclusion. The LEED proponents were willing to put GG in if we agreed to lobby for the signing of the bill (which we did).

Last session, the "High Performance Buildings Act" passed and turned the act from voluntary to a mandate and in the process it also struck GG from the statutory definition.


This year's effort to amend the Green Globes language back into the High Performance Buildings Act needs your help! This is an issue that needs as many voices as possible to speak out in support of the stewardship efforts of our forest landowners and industry!

Further proof of the need for this change to the High Performance Buildings Act is documented below in an article from the Cumberland Times News regarding the casino that is to be built at Rocky Gap.

If this "LEED Only" mentality continues, wood grown by Maryland's dedicated Tree Farmers and lands with SFI certification will not be able to be used for a building in the middle of a Maryland State Park.

DNR sets strict conditions for Rocky Gap gambling parlor

Tess Hill, Cumberland Times-News
January 06, 2009 - CUMBERLAND - The Maryland Department of Natural Resources and Maryland Economic Development Corp. have come out with a location and set of development conditions for the video lottery terminal near Rocky Gap State Park.

The new facility will be located on land currently leased by MEDCO for operation of Rocky Gap Lodge & Golf Resort. The building must be a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design gold certified green building, separate from the lodge and at least 200 feet from the shoreline. It will also be subject to specific architectural and landscaping conditions.

Bob Brennan, executive director of MEDCO, said the site was selected after analyzing what MEDCO believed a gaming company would want to use.

"We heard from gaming companies that they wanted to be as close to the front door of the lodge as possible," Brennan said.
He said the site was validated years ago when a gaming operator came in to look at it.

"By locating near the existing lodge and requiring environmentally-friendly features such as LEED gold certification and green energy and site design, the video lottery facility will compliment the existing resort," said Eric Schwaab, DNR deputy secretary. "With these special conditions, the new facility's impact on the lake and outdoor recreation at Rocky Gap State Park will be minimized."

Brennan said the solicitation of bids is occurring through the Maryland State Lottery. He said the process began in December and responses are due by Feb. 1. The slots facility location commission will then review applications.

"Whoever wins the bid will still need to negotiate with MEDCO and DNR and some other parties to be able to obtain the right to use the site," Brennan said.

He said the additional standards for construction are there to ensure the new facility is consistent with the construction of the existing hotel as well as aesthetically pleasing.

"We're smack-dab in the middle of a state park, we're not going to allow 40-foot neon signs," he said. "We need to make sure that as proposals come in the applicants understand this."

Some of the special conditions include reforestation of the area. If any trees are removed for the facility's construction, the licensee must replant lost forestland with American Chestnut trees to meet a "no net loss" standard.

Another special condition is a replacement aviary facility. Because the current aviary may be impacted, the licensee is required to construct a replacement aviary facility at a location determined suitable by the Maryland Park Service.

Licensees also have the optional task of including a scenario of acquiring all of the existing facilities in their proposal. These scenarios would be subject to agreement with the DNR and MEDCO and approval by the Board of Public Works.

On Nov. 4, Maryland voters approved a constitutional amendment legalizing slot machines at five locations across the state, including 1,500 machines at Rocky Gap.

New web-based resources of interest

The new Chesapeake Watershed Network is a growing web community for information and discussion. One of the groups is focused on Forest Conservation. Check it out and join, at:

Another is the Watershed Forestry Resource Guide, a partnership of the Center for Watershed Protection and US Forest Service - Northeastern Area State & Private Forestry. "This website is a central clearinghouse for all things related to forests and watersheds. There have been many recent efforts toward managing urban forests for watershed health that have resulted in a variety of highly useful tools and training materials. This site compiles these resources into a format that can be easily accessed and downloaded."

And course, a web-based source of information for forest landowners is Forestry for the Bay, at:

public comment sought on National Report on Sustainable Forests - 2010

On December 8 the USDA Forest Service released the draft National Report on Sustainable Forests - 2010 for public comment. In addition to extensive coverage of the forest data using the Montreal Process Criteria & Indicators and summaries thereof, the Forest Service has boldly incorporated two new chapters, Broadening and Deepening Commitments to Sustainability (Ch 4), and A Call to Action (Ch 5). You will find MD DNR and Baltimore County discussed on p.4-1, 4-7 and 4-8. The Report is available electronically at:

We would encourage you to review the draft report and, in addition to any comments on the indicator data, recommend support for continuing the good work that the Forest Service is accomplishing with its partners at multiple scales. Information on how to provide comments is contained in the front of the Report. The comment period closes April 10, 2009. Several public review workshops have also been announced by the Roundtable on Sustainable Forests:
  • February 4 and 5, 2009, Denver, Colorado;
  • February 24 and 25, 2009, Athens, Georgia; and
  • March 23, 2009, Washington, DC.
The first two Workshops will be one and a half days long and will be designed to gather input on the content and format for the draft Report. The March 23 Workshop will be a half-day event, designed to review policy implications of public comments received at the two earlier workshops. For more information:

Planning the Urban Forest: Ecology, Economy, and Community Development

"This report, prepared by the American Planning Association (APA) in collaboration with the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) and American Forests (AF), and supported by the U.S. Forest Service, addresses the need for planners to adopt a green infrastructure approach and presents the technical means to incorporate trees into planning. Thirteen case studies illustrate best practices in planning for urban and community forestry." Baltimore County's program (first case study under Holistic Approaches) appears on pages 44-49; our program also inspired Appendix A on A Green Infrastructure Element in a Comprehensive Plan on p 125-129. PAS subscribers, who include planning agencies across the nation, will receive this report in mid-January. It will subsequently be available for individual purchase as well. Check for how to order at:

MFA ~ Your advocacy voice for forestry in Maryland

Maryland's General Assembly's Session began today, there are nearly 150 pre-filed bills. Hearings begin tomorrow ~ Senate Bills 73, 89 and 90 which will all be heard tomorrow were put in by Chair of EHEA as department bills for Dept of AG. None by MDE or DNR have been introduced at this time.

Complete Session calendar (file deadlines, cross over dates, etc) is at

MD GA Website is

MFA's Bills to Watch page is

sign up to receive updates from MFA

Students and Maryland Forest Service Improve the Green Ridge State Forest Hiking Trail

Flintstone, Md. — Students from the Department of Juvenile Services at the Green Ridge Youth Center recently worked with the Maryland Forest Service to construct a new section of hiking trail at Green Ridge State Forest. The latest section of trail is on the west side of Polish Mountain, and significantly improves the connection to the Mid-State Pennsylvania hiking trail near Black Valley Road north of Flintstone, Maryland. Both trails are part of the Great Eastern Trail.

“This is an excellent program for both Juvenile Services and the Maryland Forest Service,” said Francis Zumbrun, Forest Manager at Green Ridge State Forest. "The students help us to get important work done in the field. At the same time, students who participate in outdoor programs often see improvements in test scores, develop better conflict resolution and problem-solving skills and experience greater self-esteem.”

The Maryland Forest Service also provides environmental education to the students working in the forest. These efforts are part of the Maryland Partnership for Children in Nature, Governor O’Malley’s state-wide initiative to reconnect youth with the great outdoors.

photo caption: Sam Long, left, residential adviser from Green Ridge Youth Center, and Francis Zumbrun, Green Ridge State Forest manager, look at a map on an overlook where Maryland and Pennsylvania can be seen Monday afternoon on Alternate Route 40 on Polish Mountain. About 40 students from the youth center helped construct about one mile of steep terrain trail on the west side of Polish Mountain, and significantly improve the connection to the Mid-State Pennsylvania hiking trail near Black Valley Road north of Flintstone. Both trails are part of the Great Eastern Trail. John A. Bone / Cumberland Times-News

Upcoming Educational Opportunities:

  • January 10th - Dover, DE
  • Master Logger Training Schedule
    • January 21: [Tenative] Business Management and Finance for Loggers. Allegany College. Email the Master Logger program coordinator Nevin Dawson at or 410-827-8056 Ext. 125
  • January 24th - Westminster, MD
    • Bugs and Blights Workshop: Learn about alien invaders that have the potential to alter our forest ecosystem and damage our urban landscapes.
      Saturday January 24, 2009. (9AM to 3 PM) For more information call 410-848-9290 or email

Happy New Year Members and Friends of MFA!

Thank you...

.....for your continued support of MFA and its advocacy and educational efforts over the past year.
...... to all who completed MFA's recent Wants and Needs Survey. Your Board members, past leaders and staff are preparing for MFA's Leadership and Strategic Planning Retreat where information derived from these surveys will be used to chart MFA's course for the future.
...... for your patience as MFA rebuilds its website. The URL will remain the same

Enjoy the holiday and thanks again for your support!