Travis County Floodplain Reforestation Program

The Travis County Floodplain Reforestation Program works to restore healthy forest buffers in eastern Travis County floodplains, also called riparian or streamside areas. The program also generates public and private land carbon offsets to address regional climate impacts. 

Riparian forests improve water quality, provide wildlife habitat, and contribute to our overall wellbeing. These streamside forests sequester enough carbon to counteract the effects of local fossil fuel consumption including motorized vehicles.

Travis County Floodplain Reforestation Volunteer

Reforestation services are absolutely free of charge and include free trees, planting services, and consultations. If the land is eligible for generating carbon offsets, applicants that choose to participate in the Carbon+ Credit pilot project will be given higher priority.

TreeFolks will give all of the carbon offsets produced from tree planting to Austin’s Office of Sustainability to help meet the City of Austin’s 2020 carbon neutrality goal.  All proceeds generated from the sale of carbon credits to the City of Austin will be exclusively used by TreeFolks for program administration and future tree plantings in Central Texas.

About the Program:

The Travis County Floodplain Reforestation Program is a collaborative effort between TreeFolks, the City of Austin’s Office of Sustainability and  Watershed Protection Department, Travis County, and City Forest Credits.  

The initial 18-month pilot was funded in part by the Nature Conservancy in partnership with the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.  Additional support was provided by The Arbor Day Foundation and Apache Corp. TreeFolks is currently seeking funding to expand this program into adjacent Central Texas counties.


Interested landowners who might qualify are encouraged to apply! Follow the link below.

Click here to fill out our application!

To find out more, e-mail us at reforestation@treefolks.org

Frequently Asked Questions:

Do I have to allow Carbon+ Credits to be generated from my land in order to participate?

No, you can receive reforestation services regardless. You will be prioritized higher on our list should you choose to participate in the Carbon+ Credit portion of the program.

How do I qualify?

To receive reforestation services, the applicant must own land that is (a) within eastern Travis County, (b) crosses a flowing stream, and (c) not be completely covered in a forest.

The Watershed Protection Department of the City of Austin contributed an analysis of potential areas to target for reforesting riparian greenbelts in eastern Travis County. Based on this analysis, TreeFolks will select high priority public and private land parcels eligible for reforestation services.

How much does the program cost?

The program is completely free for participating landowners. The program includes free trees, planting services, and consultations from our certified arborists.

What are Carbon+ Credits?

Carbon+ Credits are at their simplest a way to estimate how much one metric ton of carbon dioxide is worth once it has been removed from the atmosphere. One metric ton of carbon dioxide emitted by a car or an industrial plant may be ‘offset’ by doing something to capture carbon from the air.

In this case, the City of Austin would like to purchase credits to offset the carbon generated by daily activities (mostly driving vehicles). Carbon credits are quantified using a unique method developed by scientists at the nonprofit City Forest Credits 501(c)3.

This method accounts for the particular environmental variables of riparian plantings in our region and includes the additional benefits of quantified rainfall interception, energy savings, and air quality improvements.

If I participate in the Carbon+ Credits pilot project, what does that mean for me?

This program is novel in its goal of generating carbon credits from our free planting services on private Texas land. Should you choose to work with us to help us try this exciting new framework, we will work hand-in-hand with you as the process develops. The most important things to know are:

  • Producing Carbon+ Credits requires a promise to not remove the trees for 25 years, so that they may sequester enough carbon to be meaningful. The protection is granted through a legal deed restriction or declaration of covenants attached to the land.
  • Tree growth will be measured by satellite imagery, like Google Maps, and will require little to no access to the property over those 25 years
  • Funds generated from the sale of the carbon credits will be used exclusively by TreeFolks, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, to fund future tree plantings in Central Texas and will not be used for personal gain
  • The value of the Carbon+ Credits is not currently considered a tax-deductible donation.

Other than that, we anticipate little effort on behalf of the landowner – all paperwork and fees will be handled by the nonprofit.

Assisting TreeFolks in piloting this program will allow you to protect your trees and give back to your community for future generations!

What size trees will be planted?

In our work reforesting the Lost Pines after the fires of 2011 and along the Blanco River after the floods of 2015, we found that large-scale reforestation through planting small saplings is the most cost-effective method of establishing forestland at scale.

The methodology, backed by peer-reviewed science, yields healthy forest density by overplanting low-cost native tree saplings at high density in order to offset mortality. Lack of irrigation and fencing needs (except in the case of active livestock grazing) or other interventions help keep the costs low.

Landowners are not expected to actively maintain the saplings once planted and are offered free educational consultations to increase understanding of the importance of healthy, riparian forests, with follow-up tree survival studies where applicable.

Planting is performed by volunteers, TXCC, and Superior Forestry Service

In partnership with:

Travis County

City Forest Credits

Superior Forestry

Texas A&M Forest Service

TXCC

Funded in part By:

The Nature Conservancy

Arbor Day Foundation

City of Austin

Doris Duke

Apache

Along with the generous contributions from inspired individuals and corporations that support these efforts!

For more information on sponsorship, donations, and general giving, please contact giving@treefolks.org or visit treefolks.org/donate.