Milton hopes tree planting will stabilize shoreline, minimize nutrient run off

By Daniel Divilio
Milton, DE (March 27, 2008)-Milton’s Health and Environmental Committee recently met with a state forestry administrator to discuss available funds and potential uses for them. To help clean up impaired watersheds, the Delaware Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service is offering grant money to help the town plant trees. Planting more trees in the town would help improve Broadkill River’s by collecting rainwater before it reaches the ground and turns to run-off, said state Urban Forestry Coordinator Henry Poole.

One site being considered for the trees is Milton Memorial Park, situated on Broadkill’s banks. The town has been working to stabilize the park’s shoreline and has several other projects in the pipeline for the open space.
Milton-area resident Ken Bass said he thinks the park would be an excellent place to plant more trees. “I think it’s a great spot to naturalize,” he said. “It will attract a lot of critters.”
With up to $10,000 available through the grants, Poole said funds must be matched by the town. The available grant money is earmarked for areas within watersheds that are considered impaired by the state, he said, noting Broadkill River watershed is listed on the grant application as a top priority.
“Trees provide a number of benefits for the environment,” Poole said. In an urban setting like Milton, the canopy created by mature trees will intercept rain water before it hits the ground, he said, thereby reducing the amount of nutrient-laden run off that enters the body of water. Planting trees and shrubs would also further aid in stabilizing the park’s shoreline, Poole said.
“(This grant) is just so perfect with what we’re doing at the park,” Milton resident Lynn Ekelund said. The state will not provide funding for certain tree species because of pest and disease concerns, Poole said. He recommends the town diversify the types of trees planted, so that if a certain pest takes a taste for a particular type of tree, it will not kill all the saplings.
The grant proposal will be further discussed at the Milton Town Council’s April meeting for a final approval.
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