An In-Depth Look at TreeFolk’s Flood Reforestation Program

Weather Blog

Andreina Alexatos is the reforestation director for TreeFolks. TreeFolks is a nonprofit organization that works to preserve and restore forests after natural disasters. Part of their program is offering free services to people who own land in the 100-year floodplain designated by Fema.

The one caveat is, you have to sign a legal deed to agree to leave the land alone for up to 25 years. This is to allow the vegetation to fully grow and allow for enough meaningful carbon capturing. That means no mowing down the area, and no developing or disturbing the growing vegetation.

But they also make it easy for you in the meantime. They plant young to old, native trees that don’t require any extra watering from the landowner. Larger trees can withstand our summer heat and also hold off a bit longer during drought.

TreeFolks will also observe and measure the targeted forest area growth via satellite imagery, like Google Maps. This in return requires little to no access to the landowners property over those 25 years. Making it hassle-free.

Bellingham Meadows in northeast Austin is an example of an area that stands to benefit. The floodplain site that TreeFolks targeted within Bellingham Meadows has a multitude of native tree species and seeds that have now grown into saplings. These trees and brush slow down flash flooding by absorbing rain water into the ground and creating more wavy paths and resistance for the water; overall slowing its flow and movement.

These planted trees not only help against flooding but at the same time provide additional benefits. The roots retain and clean water. The trees provide more oxygen. They clean the air by capturing carbon. The added brush protects wildlife. And most importantly, the shade can help cool the ground as much as 20 degrees. This in return can help keep the surrounding houses and properties cool, saving you money on your AC bills.

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