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October 7, 2019

Voters want Forest Bill


 Reveals Strong Support for Stronger Forest Conservation and Concern over Tree Loss

Edgewater, Md. – The Arundel Rivers Federation announced today results of a new countywide survey of Anne Arundel County voters that reveals overwhelming support for the County’s proposed Forest Conservation Act. Support for the bill surpasses opposition by a margin of about 9 to 1, with 81% of the County’s voters favoring the legislation and only 9% opposed. Nearly two-thirds of voters favor it strongly.

Tomorrow, Monday, October 7th, 2019 at 6pm Arundel Rivers Federation, Chesapeake Bay Foundation and MD League of Conservation Voters will be hosting a rally at Whitmore Square at 44 Calvert Street in Annapolis at 6pm to show legislators that residents are united in their desire to preserve their local forests.

“One of the more significant findings in this poll is the strong support for the Forest Conservation Act among partisans of both major political parties,” said Steve Raabe, OpinionWorks president and the author of the poll. “No matter what their political stripe, Anne Arundel County voters strongly support this legislation, and that kind of consensus is very unusual in these times.” Eighty Four percent of Republicans, 79% of Democrats, and 78% of Independents support the proposed strengthening of the Forest Conservation Act.

  All Voters Democrats Republicans Independents
Strongly favor 63% 65% 60% 64%
Somewhat favor 18% 14% 24% 14%
Total Favor 81% 79% 84% 78%
Neutral or Not sure 10% 11% 6% 14%
Somewhat oppose 5% 6% 5% 3%
Strongly oppose 5% 4% 6% 5%
Total Oppose 9% 9% 11% 8%


The poll identified the strong sense of value that the county’s voters place on tree canopy. Six voters in ten said they have noticed a loss of forest cover in the county, while nine in ten said that having trees close to where they live matters to them. A large majority said they feel trees add to their property value, and more than three-quarters agreed with the statement, “Every tree that is taken down when land is developed should be replanted.”

“The citizens in Anne Arundel County see the character of the county eroding, and they know that irresponsible development is to blame. Some 78% of our county residents can see that the developers have been pillaging our forests for too long. I hope the County Council can see that too and acts accordingly. Every day of analysis paralysis on the council’s part costs another 3/4 acre of trees to fall,” said Jesse Iliff, South Riverkeeper, Arundel Rivers Federation.

“The poll shows that forest conservation is not a partisan issue. It’s not an age issue. It doesn’t matter what district you live in. The residents of Anne Arundel County clearly want to preserve their local forests. The best data we have, shows a pattern of extraordinary loss that the council is empowered to change,” Iliff continued.

“County residents have been sharing their frustration with the Federation for years over the amount of tree clearing in their local communities. We initiated this poll to provide scientific evidence of what we have been hearing all along. This next year is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, it is about time to finally start protecting our local forests,” said Denise Swol, Executive Director of Arundel Rivers Federation.

The poll of 539 registered voters was conducted September 30 through October 4, as the Anne Arundel County Council prepares to open the public hearing on October 7 for Bill 68-19, introduced by Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman to strengthen the County’s forest conservation law. The poll was conducted by the Annapolis-based non-partisan research firm OpinionWorks.

The poll identifies deep concerns about the pace of development in the County, and the influence of the developer community, and demonstrates strong support for the intent of the proposed law:

  • Eight-four percent (84%) of voters agree, and 61% strongly agree, with the statement, “When developers cut down trees, they should be required to pay the full cost needed to replant those trees.”
  • Seventy-eight percent (78%) agree, and 58% strongly agree, with the statement, “For too long, developers in Anne Arundel County have been allowed to get away with whatever they want to do. We need to do a better job protecting forested area.”
  • Seventy-seven percent (77%) agree, 49% strongly, that, “Every tree that is taken down when land is developed should be replanted.”
  • A majority of voters describe the pace of growth and development in Anne Arundel County as too fast, with 25% saying it is much too fast and 28% saying a little too fast. Meanwhile, 35% say the pace of growth and development is about right, and 9% say it is too slow.
  • Sixty percent (60%) said they have noticed a loss of forest cover in the County, with 27% noticing “much less forest” and 33% “somewhat less.” Twenty-three-percent (23%) have not noticed a change, while 6% believe the amount of forest cover has increased.The OpinionWorks poll was commissioned by Arundel Rivers Federation.
  • More information on the poll can be found at


Further information on the poll:

Arundel Rivers FCA Poll Memo 10.06.19

Arundel Rivers FCA Poll Crosstabs 10.05.19

Forest Conservation Act Poll Questionnaire 10.05.19