More than 10,000 trees have fallen or been removed from Montgomery County rights of way, leaving behind stumps that would cost an estimated $4 million to remove.
Details of the stumps emerged Thursday during a nearly two-hour meeting of the council’s Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment Committee.
The committee met to discuss the county’s tree management program.
Council President Roger Berliner (D-Dist. 1) of Bethesda noted that the county has more than 7,000 requests to remove stumps.
Brett Linkletter, county chief of tree maintenance for the Department of Transportation, said the county has about 10,000 stumps in public rights of way, including trees removed by Pepco.
Linkletter estimated it would cost about $400 to remove each stump, for a cost of more than $4 million.
Yet the county did not remove a single stump in fiscal 2012, he said.
A lack of budgeted funds prevented the county from removing stumps last fiscal year.
While the county did not remove any stumps last year, it created about 2,600 more by removing that many trees.
“It’s a moving target,” Linkletter said.
The county does remove stumps that pose a risk to public safety, said Keith Compton, division of highway chief for the county.
It can take as long as 11 months from the time a tree is reported to the county until it is removed, but the wait to remove a stump is indeterminate, Linkletter said.
Mark Pfefferle, chief of development applications and regulatory coordination for the Montgomery County Planning Department, said more than half of the county is covered by trees.
Linkletter estimated the county has between 400,000 and 500,000 trees in the public right of way.