"The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is now." ~Chinese Proverb

What is Reforest Rolla?


In 1972 with the inception of the Clean Water Act (CWA), the federal government set about regulating storm sewer discharge by making it unlawful to discharge pollutants from a point source without first acquiring a permit. This led to the development of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting process.

Because a municipality’s  stormwater discharges are considered to be point source, they are required to obtain the NPDES permit.  This was done as part of a phased stormwater management program. Larger metropolitan areas were targeted first and regulated in 1990 as Phase I communities. Then, in 1999, the EPA began requiring smaller communities to be permitted. The City of Rolla has been a Phase II community since 2003 when we received our first  General State Operating Permit.  Being a regulated community  means that we are required to implement and enforce six “minimum control measures”, be able to account for improvements, and report annually on our progress. These reports and our performance are subject to audit by the EPA and DNR. Failure to make significant progress on any of these control measures can result in significant fines.

Of these minimum control measures, perhaps the most vague and difficult to achieve, is Post-Construction Runoff Control or Low Impact Development (LID). The ultimate goal is to improve the quality and reduce the quantity of stormwater runoff to pre-development levels by using more environmentally friendly methods of development, increasing the urban tree canopy, decreasing impervious surfaces, and a host of other innovative techniques.

The idea behind the Reforest Rolla program is to assist the City of Rolla in it’s post construction runoff control efforts by using trees to reduce runoff.  In fact, urban  and community reforestation is becoming a more popular technique daily. Trees naturally filter stormwater AND reduce runoff  and erosion. They have energy saving benefits associated with them and are aesthetically pleasing.

Matthew Bippes, a fifth-grade home-schooled student from Rolla, was rewarded for his appreciation of trees by winning the 2012 Missouri Arbor Day Poster Contest with this entry. The contest is sponsored by MDC, Missouri Community Forestry Council and Forest ReLeaf of Missouri (watercolor pencil on paper).

How does it work?


Watch your mail! Property owners within the city limits of Rolla will receive a brochure paid for using grant funding from the Missouri Department of Conservations Tree Resource Improvement and Maintenance (T.R.I.M.) program detailing Reforest Rolla.

The City of Rolla will offer nine different species of trees, free of charge, to program participants. The trees have been chosen based on their proven ability to perform well in urban conditions.

The City of Rolla will also install the tree within city right-of-way free of charge. A representative of the city will meet with the property owner to discuss available tree options based on existing conditions and utilities. Once the tree has been selected and approved, staff will ensure all underground utilities have been located. Crews will deliver, plant and stake the tree and provide the initial mulch.

There is no limit on the number of trees a property owner may request, however, requests will only be filled once per year to allow other residents to take advantage of this worthwhile program.

What do I need to do?


Interested participants are required to fill out a Street Tree Application and Steward Agreement. Only the property OWNER may sign the form. By doing so, you agree to "adopt" the tree for a minimum of two years after the planting date. This entails watering, weeding, mulching, pruning, removing stakes after the first year, keeping the tree well free of debris and monitoring the health of the new tree.

This program does not exclude renters and individuals who lease property. Provided the property owner approves and signs the agreement, you may agree to voluntarily take over maintenance of the tree.

Trees may be planted on private property if the property owner signs a waiver to indemnify and hold harmless the City of Rolla from any damages occurring on the property or personal injury as a result of Reforest Rolla activities. In addition, the tree must be visible from the street. Please bear in mind that this in no way gives general access to your property. Trees located on private property will be limited to one per household.

Should the tree(s) die despite being cared for properly, the city will replace it free of charge. This courtesy extends ONLY to those trees planted on public property. The city WILL NOT replace trees planted on private property.

For further information about the program, please visit our Homeowner Agreement and FAQ's page.

To download a copy of our brochure, click here (warning: file is large!). This document should be printed on 11"x17" paper for maximum clarity.

Please visit our Tree Care and Maintenance page to learn how to care for your new tree.

Contact Us

For questions or information regarding the Reforest Rolla Program, contact:
reforest@rollacity.org or call (573) 426-6955