A free service that plants trees along riverbanks, creekbeds, and lakes just added Burnet County to its list of service areas. The Central Texas Floodplain Reforestation Program, started by the nonprofit TreeFolks, partners with landowners to ensure healthy vegetation is growing along floodplains across the state.
“Our goal is to restore the forests along creeks and streams,” said reforestation coordinator Valerie Tamburri. “When we do that, it helps with water filtration, flooding, wildlife habitat, etc., and it helps reduce erosion.”
TreeFolks is a nonprofit focused on planting trees across Central Texas. It began working on post-disaster reforestation programs in 2011 after fires in Bastrop burned down large portions of forested areas.
Its Floodplain Reforestation Program launched in 2018 to target Travis County riparian zones. This year, the program is expanding to five more counties, including Burnet, Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, and Williamson.
“We haven’t done any work out in Burnet County yet through any of our programming, so we’re pretty excited to get out there,” Tamburri said. “We love the Hill Country.”
The program works with private and public landowners to create a planting plan that will introduce diverse vegetation to the area. Land enrolled in the program is registered as carbon credits, which essentially monetizes clean air, Tamburri said.
The reforestation services offered by TreeFolks are valued at $5,000 per acre. The program is free because landowners donate the carbon credits to the nonprofit, which sells them to public and private entities needing to offset their own carbon emissions.
“We take that money and plant more trees,” Tamburri said.
Land registered as carbon credits are legally protected. Vegetation on the land cannot be mowed or stripped away for 25 years. TreeFolks works with landowners to educate them on how to manage new plant growth on their properties.