They're planting trees with a new purpose. The Clear Water Carbon Fund is guiding tree-planting projects to improve water quality, store carbon, and support local economies. John Gunn is a Senior Program Leader at the Manomet Center for Conservation Science. He created the fund based on interests from individuals and businesses to be strategic about planting trees.
"What we're trying to do is leverage new investment into protecting water quality by using this interest in carbon offsets."
In early May, volunteers planted trees along a section of Vermont's White River to repair damage from Tropical Storm Irene. Plantings are scheduled along the Crooked River in Maine this fall - part of the Sebago Lake watershed - and plantings will happen soon along the Upper Androscoggin River.
Gunn says they hope to expand nationally over the next five years. Ultimately, he says, there will be tree-planting projects in every state, focused on plantings that make a difference.
"If you're going do it, the biggest benefit that you'll have is to do in areas that are next to streams and rivers, or even ponds and wetlands, where it can really provide that water quality protection benefit."
He adds that there are similar efforts taking place in other countries, but the difference in this program is the local economic focus. Additional benefits include wildlife habitat and aesthetic improvements.
Donations can be made at www.ClearWaterCarbonFund.org