NEW CASTLE – New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer applauded the approval of Forestry Ordinance (Substitute No. 1 to 21-009) which is designed to enhance forest protection and preservation. The ordinance was sponsored by Council President Karen Hartley-Nagle, Third District Councilwoman Janet Kilpatrick and 11th District Councilman David Tackett. The passage marks a key victory in Meyer administration’s GreeNCC legislative priorities.
New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer thanked County Council and environmental advocates for continuing to invest in the county’s future by supporting the GreeNCC package of environmental initiatives.
“Our thousands of acres of New Castle County forests provide clean air, ground cover, and beautiful aesthetics for generations,” said County Executive Meyer. “We are thankful to partner with Council and grateful for their vote on this important initiative.”
“The Meyer administration has made protecting our priceless natural resources a priority since day one,” said General Manager of Land Use, Rich Hall. “We are happy we can add this to our successes to protect our resources for our children’s children.”
“I was happy to be able to work with the administration to assure that each new development will be contributing to the environmental health of New Castle County,” said Councilwoman Kilpatrick. “If we each take small steps, those, accumulatively translate into large steps towards our ultimate goal of creating a greener more environmentally friendly landscape.”
“With passage of the forestry ordinance, this now allows us to start replacing and protecting the national habitat that is lost with development for our wildlife,” said Councilman Tackett.
Forests and trees provide a wide range of benefits to our communities like protecting our water quality, mitigating flooding by reducing stormwater runoff, storing carbon and providing wildlife habitat. This ordinance supports those efforts by establishing a series of publicly vetted guidelines addressing afforestation (the process of establishing a forest); forest protection standards; Forest Habitat Value Assessment (a formal method for determining the areas within a forest that contain high habitat value); Critical Root Zone (the nutrient rich area surrounding the base of the tree); and Professional Certification for submission items.
“The Sierra Club Delaware Chapter strongly supports the preservation of existing natural forests and commends New Castle County for putting protective measures in place,” said Sherri Evans-Stanton, Chapter Director. “Trees purify the air that we breathe, filter our drinking water, prevent erosion, and help with flood control when the tree roots soak up water. This is a great step in starting to address the environmental impacts from climate change."
"Delaware Nature Society is excited to see the passage of this forest conservation ordinance and commends New Castle County for pursuing this legislation,” said Delaware Nature Society interim Executive Director Joanne McGeoch. “Forest conservation and afforestation are of immense value to the County and the planet, as planting trees and maintaining forest cover and integrity are two of the most viable options to help mitigate the severity of climate change."
This ordinance is the fifth of County Executive Meyer’s GreeNCC environmental initiatives to be adopted. GreeNCC, announced in the fall of 2019, is a series of sustainable legislative proposals that promote water and air quality, healthy and eco-friendly lifestyles, protection of local habitats, smart growth, and reduction of harmful emissions by promoting renewables and improving energy efficiency.