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EQR Lends a Hand

EQR Donates Trees to Tornado Struck Bay City Community

On July 24th, an EF-2 tornado ripped through Stevensville, MD in Queen Anne’s County destroying many homes, toppling power lines and destroying hundreds of trees. Countless homes and businesses were destroyed, and 8,000 people were without power for days. Tree loss was particularly significant due to the location of the town to the Bay.  Trees have an incredible ability to take up water after rain events. The local community and Chesapeake Charities gathered together immediately after the event to begin providing relief to homeowners by removing debris, logs and branches from many properties. Chesapeake Charities set up the Bay City Restoration Fund to assist in the restoration.

Devastation After the Tornado

Members of the community stepped up to create a second phase to their clean-up project called the Community Replanting Project. Queen Anne’s County was not granted funding for replanting the destroyed trees. As a result, organizations from around the area pulled together to donate plants, food and more to this cause. EQR was happy to donate 350 native trees to the community to help them start the tree planting project. Local businesses Bell Nursery and Angelica Nursery donated an additional 125 trees. Restoring the area will take years but restoring the trees lost by the storm is a step in the right direction. A volunteer named Lucy Kruse commented, "What started as a dream, quickly turned into a reality with our very first donation of over 350 trees from EQR. Received within 24 hours of our appeal to the community, that donation launched this project.” 

Two weeks after the tornado struck, Bay City was flooded after a storm. The flooding could have been somewhat mitigated had there been more trees to soak up the rain fall.  Due to the community’s proximity to the Chesapeake Bay, it is vital that the trees that were lost be replanted quickly. Trees can provide protection against flooding by serving as barriers against floodwaters, preventing soil erosion and sediment from washing into rivers and increasing water absorption into the ground.  

The trees twisted and destroyed by the 175 mph winds were mature, thirty years old and over. The community should be aware and plan for the impacts of severe rain events. Additional storm water management projects might be needed in the future.  Members of the community will keep an eye out for improvements that will need to be fixed in the future. "Through the generosity of EQR, and several other contributors, plus many hardworking volunteers, we could help replant a total of over 475 trees and shrubbery with an estimated retail value of over $35,000, not including equipment and labor," said Kruse, "and all of it was donated."

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