Laws and Programs

Detailed Descriptions of Laws and Programs A-C

Title:Allegany County laws
Lead agency/organization:Allegany County Permit Division
Summary:
Allegany County relies on State regulations for most wetland and waterway issues. One exception to this is that they require a 25 foot buffer on all streams.
Related laws/programs: Forest Conservation Act
Contacts:
Allegany County
Permit Division
Allegany County Office Complex
701 Kelly Road, 1st Floor
Cumberland, Maryland 21502
phone: 301-777-2199
Links:Permit Division homepage

Title:Anne Arundel County laws
Lead agency/organization:Anne Arundel County Office of Planning and Zoning
Summary:
Anne Arundel County has the 100 foot buffer surrounding the Critical Area. The County also places buffers around wetlands outside the Critical Area.. A buffer's extent is from the top of the slope adjacent to the wetland boundary, and an additional 25 foot buffer for slopes of 25% or greater adjacent to wetland boundary.
Related laws/programs:Chesapeake Bay Critical Area Law, Forest Conservation Act
Contacts:
Anne Arundel County
Department of Planning and Code Enforcement
Heritage Complex 2664 Riva Road
Annapolis, MD
phone: 410-222-7450
Links: Office of Planning and Zoning homepage

Title:Areas of Critical State Concern
Lead agency/organization:Maryland Department of Planning
Other organizations involved: Local governments
Quick summary: Upon approval by local governments, the Division of State Planning may designate individual wetlands (or other areas) as Areas of Critical State Concern. These areas will receive special protection with regards to permitted activities within their boundaries.
Summary:
The Department of State Planning’s enabling legislation, article 88C, requires designation of Areas of Critical State Concern. The Critical Areas are integrated into local Comprehensive Plans (The Planning Act, art.66B). They are accorded a special status and receive special attention, when dealing with otherwise permissible activities within their boundaries, or local planning.
The Office of Planning’s definition of an Area of Critical State Concern is the following:
An Area of State Critical Concern is a specific geographic area of the State which, based on studies of
physical, social, economic and governmental conditions and trends, is demonstrated to be so unusual or
significant to the State that the Secretary designates it for special management attention to ensure the
preservation, conservation, or utilization of its special values.
The State Office of Planning is responsible of administering The Area of Critical State Concern. Other State Agencies are consulted in the process and may assist at different levels of the program. The Office of Planning also consults local governments, considers their recommendations before the designation of Area of Critical State Concern.
The Areas of Critical State Concern are within four classes: 1) tidal wetlands, 2) non-tidal wetlands, 3) protection and enhancement of rail service and 4) special areas. The Department of State Planning has designated certain wetland areas of exceptional value in Maryland that should have special protection.
Links:Maryland Department of Planning hompage

Title:Backyard Wildlife Habitat Program
Lead agency/organization: National Wildlife Federation (NWF)
Summary:
The Backyard Wildlife Habitat program was started in 1973 by the National Wildlife Federation to acknowledge and encourage individuals who garden for wildlife. They formally acknowledge efforts with a national certification program.
The program encourages everyone - homeowner, teacher, community leader - to plan their landscape with the needs of wildlife in mind. Today, with over 23,000 sites certified in the program, NWF provides information and assistance not only to homeowners, but also to schools, businesses, and community groups that are interested in creating wildlife and environmentally friendly landscapes.
Projects of the Backyard Wildlife Habitat Program
Habitat Stewards -- The volunteer training and mentoring arm
of the Backyard Wildlife Habitat program.
Citizen Naturalist -- Learn ways that you can go beyond your
backyard and participate in data collecting programs that help
scientists monitor wildlife populations and their habitats.
Schoolyard Habitats -- Schools nationwide and around the
world are creating habitat-based learning sites on and near
school grounds. Learn how you can too!
Workplace Habitats -- Businesses of all sizes are taking action
to green their landscapes for the benefit of wildlife, employees,
and the bottom line.
Community Wildlife Habitats -- Learn how entire communities
are coming together to conserve and enhance habitat for
wildlife.
Contacts:
National Wildlife Federation
phone: (800) 822-9919
Links:Program homepage

Title:Baltimore City laws
Lead agency/organization:Baltimore City Department of Planning
Summary:
The City of Baltimore enforces the Critical Area law, but does not have any other laws providing protection to streams or wetlands, so it relies on State laws.
Related laws/programs:Chesapeake Bay Critical Area Law, Forest Conservation Act
Contacts:
Department of Planning
417 E. Fayette St.
8th Floor
Baltimore, MD 21202
phone: (410) 396-4327
Links:Planning Department homepage

Title:Baltimore County laws - (County Code, Sec. 14-331 to 14-350)
Lead agency/organization: Baltimore County Department of Environmental Protection and Resource Management
Summary:

The County of Baltimore provides protection for buffers around streams, wetlands, and floodplains. A 75 foot buffer is in place around all use 1 streams, and a 100 foot buffer exists around use 3 or 4 streams. The County has also established a 25 foot buffer around wetlands, floodplains, and erodible slopes. Additionally, priciple buildings must be 35 feet from a buffer.
Specifically pertaining to streams, the County prohibits the discharge of pollutantss into streams including sewage, wastes, toxics, and high-temperature effluents.
The County also enforces the Critical Area law, providing a 100 foot buffer around all tidal wetlands.
Related laws/programs: Critical Area Law, Forest Conservation Act
Contacts:
Baltimore County Department of Environmental Protection and Resource Management
Courts Building
401 Bosley Avenue
Room 416
Towson MD 21204
Links:Department homepage

Title:BayScapes
Lead agency/organization:Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay
Other organizations involved: Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS)
Summary:
BayScapes are environmentally-sound landscapes benefiting people, wildlife, and the Chesapeake Bay. BayScaping advocates a "holistic" approach to landscaping through principles inspired by relationships in the natural environment.
BayScapes are iIn backyards, business grounds, parks, container gardens, schoolyards, and more. For a list of demonstration sites in your state, call the Chesapeake Regional Information Service at 1-800-662-CRIS.
BayScapes are low-input landscapes, requiring less mowing, less fertilizing, and less pesticide use.
BayScapes help to protect the water quality in our streams, rivers, and the Chesapeake Bay.
BayScapes are attractive, colorful landscapes with hundreds of colorful and beneficial plants to choose from.
Along with reducing pollution, BayScapes provide diverse habitats for songbirds, small mammals, butterflies, and other
creatures.
Homeowner's Guides on BayScaping principles: The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have produced a series of seven guides, and demonstration sites are available for viewing.
Contacts:
Chesapeake Regional Information Service
1-800-662-CRIS
Links:BayScapes homepage

Title:Calvert County laws - (Calvert County Zoning Regulations 4-4.05)
Lead agency/organization:Calvert County Department of Planning and Zoning
Summary:
Calvert County enforces the 100 foot buffer provided by the Critical Area law.The County also requires a 50ft buffer around all wetlands outside the critical area, where vegetation may not be disturbed. The County has also mandated that lands may not be subdivided in a manner that requires filling of wetlands for any activities except road crossing and stormwater management.
Related laws/programs:Critical Area Law, Forest Conservation Act
Contacts:
Calvert County Department of Planning and Zoning
176 Main Street, Courthouse Annex
Prince Frederick, MD 20678
(410) 535-2348
Links:Department homepage

Title:Caroline County laws
Lead agency/organization:Caroline County Department of Planning
Summary:
Caroline County relies on State and federal laws to protect wetlands, but does offer additional protection for streams. The County has placed a 100 foot buffer around all perennial streams, and a 25 foot buffer around intermittent streams.
Related laws/programs: Critical Area Law, Forest Conservation Act
Contacts:
Caroline County
Department of Planning
403 South Seventh Street
Suite 210
Denton Maryland 21629
phone: (410) 479-2230
Fax: (410) 479-4187
Links:Planning Department homepage

Title:Carroll County laws
Lead agency/organization:Carroll County Department of Planning
Summary:
Developers are required to provide a Water Resource Protection Easement for any portion of a new subdivision within 100 ft of each bank of any stream. Developers must also establish means for the protection of streams and stream buffers, steep slopes, the 100-year floodplain, habitats of threatened and endangered species, wetlands, use III and IIIP waters, and reservoir watersheds.
Related laws/programs: Forest Conservation Act
Contacts:
Carroll County
Department of Planning
Room 204, County Office Building
410-386-2145
Links:Planning Department homepage

Title:Cecil County laws
Lead agency/organization:Cecil County, Department of Permits and Inspection
Summary:
Cecil County enforces the Critical Area law, but has expanded the buffer width to 110 feet around the Critical Area. Additionally, the County mandates a 110 dt buffer around perennial streams, and no new subdivision building within a floodplain.
Related laws/programs: Critical Area Law, Forest Conservation Act
Contacts:
Cecil County
Department of Permits and Inspections
County Courthouse Room 102
129 E. Main St. Elkton, Md. 21921
phone: 410-996-5235
Links: Cecil County website

Title:Charles County laws (Charles County Zoning Ordinance, Part III Sec. 167-182).
Lead agency/organization:Charles County, Office of Planning and Growth Management
Summary:
Charles County has established a Resource Protection Zone (RPZ). The RPZ encompasses an area based on the combined limits of the existing 100-year floodplain, non-tidal wetlands contiguous with or within 25 ft of a stream channel or 100-year floodplain, and a buffer. The RPZ extends 25 feet around included wetlands within development districts, and 50-100 feet around included wetlands outside of development districts. Minimum stream buffer widths include 100 ft for stream of order III or higher, and 50 feet for intermittent streams of order I or II, measured from the stream channel. The RPZ may be extended by the County Commission to include adjacent hydric soils, erodible soils, steep slopes, Natural Heritage Areas, Wetlands of Special State Concern, threatened or endangered species habitat, other critical and significant wildlife habitat, and priority one forested areas. The RPZ must be field staked and clearly delineated prior to clearing and grading activities within 50 feet. Certain types of land uses are prohibited inside the RPZ, including mining, dredging, filling, alteration of a stream bed, clearing of vegetation, and grading. Land uses permitted within the RPZ include agriculture with vegetative filter strips, timber harvesting, utilities (when no alternatives are present), non-motorized recreational trails, and construction of single-family homes on lots platted prior to 1992. Additionally, development occurring on land adjacent to an RPZ must obtain a performance bond to cover possible damage to the RPZ during construction.
Related laws/programs: Critical Area Law, Forest Conservation Act
Contacts:
Charles County Office of Planning and Growth Management
PO Box B
La Platta, MD 20646
(301) 645-0692
Links: Charles County website (Click on Departments/Agencies, then Planning and Growth Management)

Title:Chesapeake Bay Agreement
Lead agency/organization: The Chesapeake Bay Commission
Other agencies involved: States of: Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, the District of Columbia, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Summary:
The most recent version of the Chesapeake Bay Agreement was signed and put into action in 2000. Signatories of the Bay Agreement are representatives for the Chesapeake Bay Commission, the states of Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania, the District of Columbia, and the US Federal Government.
The primary goal of the new agreement is to improve water quality sufficiently to sustain the living resources of the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries, and to maintain that water quality into the future. The agreement has five sections containing commitments to protect and restore living resources, vital habitats, and water quality through sound land use by promoting stewardship and engaging communities throughout the 64,000 square mile watershed. The agreement is designed to build on past restoration actions and will continue all Bay Program commitments outlined in previous agreements or Executive Council directives.
The first agreement, which created the Bay Program, was signed in 1983. A second was signed in 1987, and ammended in 1992. Most commitments in the new agreement are scheduled for completion within ten years.
Full text of law:Click here for full text
Related laws/programs: Chesapeake Bay Program, Chesapeake Executive Council, Chesapeake Bay Commission, Tributary Strategies
Contacts:
Chesapeake Bay Program Office
410 Severn Avenue, Suite 109
Annapolis, MD 21403
Tel: (800) YOUR-BAY
Fax: (410) 267-5777
Other Links:Agreement 2000 press release, 1983 Chesapeake Bay Agreement, 1987 Chesapeake Bay Agreement, 1992 Ammendments, Tributary Strategies

Title:Chesapeake Bay Commission
Lead agency/organization:Chesapeake Bay Commission
Other organizations involved: States of Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia
Summary:
The Chesapeake Bay Commission is a tri-state legislative commission which advises the General Assemblies of Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania in cooperatively managing the Chesapeake Bay. The Commission is available to provide information and advice on Chesapeake Bay issues to any member of the three General Assemblies. The Commission is also a signatory to the Chesapeake Bay Agreement along with the Governors of Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania, the Mayor of the District of Columbia and the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The Agreement serves as the framework for the multi-jurisdictional Chesapeake Bay Program. As a signatory, the Commission serves as the legislative arm of the Chesapeake Bay Program and is fully involved in all Bay Program policy and implementation decisions. The statutes which created the Commission contain explicit duties which provide for cooperation on issues of mutual concern to the Bay states. Specifically, the Commission is charged with:

  • identifying concerns requiring interjurisdictional coordination and cooperation;
  • collecting, analyzing, and disseminating information pertaining to the region and its resources for the respective legislative bodies;
  • recommending legislative and administrative actions necessary to encourage effective and cooperative management of the Bay;
  • representing the common interests of the member states as they are affected by the activities of the federal government;
  • providing an arbitration forum to serve as an advisory mediator for conflicts among the states.
Related laws/programs: Chesapeake Bay Program, Chesapeake Executive Council
Contacts:
Maryland Office:
60 West Street, Suite 200
Annapolis, MD 21401
410- 263-3420
FAX 410- 263-9338
Links: Commission home page

Title:Chesapeake Bay Critical Area Law
Lead agency/organization: Critical Area Commission [Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR)]
Other organizations involved: County governments
Summary:
In 1986, the State of Maryland approved the final regulation and guideline for the establishment of the Critical Area Commission, (Subtitle 8-1801-1816) and criteria for the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area Law (COMAR 14.15). The purpose of the law is to regulate activities within 1,000 feet of tidal waters of the Chesapeake Bay with the intent of improving the water quality and habitat in the Bay. The provision for protecting non-tidal wetlands in the Critical Area was the most stringent of any federal or state program being implemented in Maryland prior to passage of the State Nontidal Wetlands Act in 1989.
The criteria require that local jurisdictions protect the hydrologic regime and water quality of wetlands by minimizing alterations to the drainage area, surface/subsurface flow of water, and overall water quality.
The following activities are allowed in nontidal wetland only when they are 1) water-dependant or 2) of substantial economic benefit; and are necessary and unavoidable. Includes:
Grading, filling, excavating
Draining or flooding
Removal of vegetation
The Critical Area Law required that local jurisdictions meet state standards by developing local programs by June 1988. Upon approval of the local program, the Commission may direct the local jurisdiction to enforce the regulations. Nontidal wetlands in the Critical Area Law were initially not regulated under the state Nontidal Wetlands Act. In 1993, the Maryland Nontidal Wetlands Act was amended to regulate nontidal wetlands in the Critical Area. Most local jurisdictions amended their local programs to exclude regulation of nontidal wetlands. However, some counties chose to continue regulating activities in wetlands in the Critical Area.
Local jurisdiction that chooses to regulate nontidal wetlands in the Critical Area protects the wetlands by requiring a minimum 25-foot buffer and allowing activities that meet the conditions stated in Activities. Incidental nontidal wetland protection also occurs through low density zoning, 100 foot stream and tidal wetland buffer, and overlap with other habitat protection areas.
Contacts:
General Critical Area Commission Questions
Phone: 410-260-3460
Contacts by MD region, click here
Links:Chesapeake Bay Critical Area Commision

Title:Chesapeake Bay Initiative
Lead agency/organization: Chesapeake Bay Foundation / Ducks Unlimited
Summary:
The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) and Ducks Unlimited, Inc. (DU) have joined forces in an initiative to restore, protect, and enhance wetlands, stream buffers and wildlife habitat in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. The partnership’s goal is to restore more than 10,000 acres of wetlands and 120 miles of stream banks to improve water quality in the Bay region.
The restoration project will work with federal and state conservation program money by bringing landowners to the programs, and by providing technical, financial, and managerial expertise to the projects. DU has identified the Chesapeake Bay as its highest priority in the Atlantic flyway and critical to the long-term sustainability of many species of waterfowl. CBF has established a goal of increasing 125,000 acres of wetlands in the Bay watershed by 2005. CBF has critical knowledge of the region and 30 years’ experience in restoration, outreach, education, and fundraising.
To date, over 3,300 acres of habitat have been restored on public and private land.
Contacts:
1-888-SAVEBAY

Ducks Unlimited, Inc.
One Waterfowl Way
Memphis, Tennessee, USA 38120
1-800-45DUCKS

Title:Chesapeake Bay Program
Lead agency/organization: Chesapeake ExecutiveCouncil">Chesapeake Executive Council
Other organizations involved: States of Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, District of Columbia,
Chesapeake Bay Commission
Summary:
The Chesapeake Bay Program as it is known today, grew out of an earlier program by the same name, created by the US Environmental Protection Agency. The 1983 Chesapeake Bay Agreement lead to the development of the current version of the Bay Program, lead by the Chesapeake Executive Council.
The Bay Program is a partnership led by the Chesapeake Executive Council. The members of the Executive Council are the governors of Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania; the mayor of the District of Columbia; the administrator of the EPA and the chairman of the Chesapeake Bay Commission. The Executive Council meets annually to establish the policy direction for the Bay and its living resources.
Related laws/programs: Chesapeake Executive Council, Chesapeake Bay Commission, Chesapeake Bay Agreement
Contacts:
Chesapeake Bay Program Office
410 Severn Avenue, Suite 109
Annapolis, MD 21403
Tel: (800) YOUR-BAY
Fax: (410) 267-5777
Other Links:Chesapeake Bay Program homepage, Bay Program Overview

Title:Chesapeake Bay Trust
Lead agency/organization:Chesapeake Bay Trust
Summary:
The Chesapeake Bay Trust was created in 1985 by the Maryland General Assembly. It is a nonprofit group formed for the purpose of preserving the natural condition and beauty of the Bay. The Trust accomplishes its goal through educational programs and grants made available to other nonprofit community groups for Bay awareness and conservation projects. Over 1,000 such groups have benefited from Trust grants for projects such as cleanup, recycling, awareness, education and so on.
The Chesapeake Bay Trust offers grants for qualified activities proposed by nonprofit organizations, community associations, civic groups, schools and public agencies which contribute to the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay.
The Trust favors action-oriented activities. Projects that unite business, government and citizen groups in activities which contribute to the restoration and protection of the Bay are encouraged. Priority is given to two principal areas: education projects that promote a behavior change toward the Bay and the performance of restoration activities that utilize volunteers
Contacts:
60 West Street, Suite 200A
Annapolis, Maryland 21401
Phone: (410) 974-2941
Fax: (410) 269-0387
Email: cbt@ari.net
Links:Home page, Criteria for CBT grants, Grant application form, Grant application form for schools

Title:Chesapeake Executive Council
Lead agency/organization:Chesapeake Executive Council
Other organizations involved: States of Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Washington DC, Chesapeake Bay Commission,
US EPA
Summary:
The Chesapeake Executive Council was established by the Chesapeake Bay Agreement of 1983. Under the 1987 Agreement membership changed from cabinet secretaries to the Governors of Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Mayor of the District of Columbia and the Chair of the Chesapeake Bay Commission, a legislative body serving Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.
The Executive Council establishes the policy direction for the restoration and protection of the Chesapeake Bay and its living resources. A series of Directives, Agreements and Amendments signed by the Executive Council set goals and guide policy for the Bay restoration.
The Executive Council exerts leadership to marshal public support for the Bay effort and is accountable to the public for progress made under the Bay Agreements. The Council meets annually. Its Principles' Staff Committee meets as needed to facilitate communication among the Implementation Committee, the advisory committees (Citizens Advisory Committee, Local Government Advisory Committee and the Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee), and the Chesapeake Executive Council.
Related laws/programs: Chesapeake Bay Program, Chesapeake Bay Commission, Chesapeake Bay Agreement
Contacts:
Chesapeake Bay Program Office,
410 Severn Avenue, Suite 109,
Annapolis, MD 21403
Tel: (800) YOUR-BAY
Fax: (410) 267-5777.
Links:Chesapeake Executive Council information, Chesapeake Bay Program homepage

Title:Chesapeake Wildlife Heritage
Lead agency/organization: Chesapeake Wildlife Heritage
Summary:
Chesapeake Wildlife Heritage (CWH) is a private nonprofit organization dedicated to creating, restoring, and protecting wildlife habitat, and establishing a more sustainable agriculture, through direct action, education and research, in partnership with public and private landowners.
The Chesapeake Care program constructs and manages wetland habitat and shallow impoundments for waterfowl and other wetland dependent wildlife, including establishment of upland vegetation and cover, with attendant concerns for nutrient run-off and sediment control. The program focuses its activities on marginal farmland.
Other relevant programs include; the Wildlife Nesting Structures program, which utilizes volunteers to build, maintain, and collect data on artificial nesting structures sited in appropriate habitat to aid wood ducks, bluebirds, kestrels, owls, purple martins, osprey, bats and other wildlife species; the Education and Community Outreach program strives to reach a greater number and variety of landowners to educate them on the benefits of habitat enhancement work; and Landowner Services matches land preservation techniques with landowners and their special needs. All five programs interact and are mutually supportive.
Contacts:
46 Pennsylvania Avenue
PO Box 1745
Easton, Maryland 21601
phone (410) 822-5100
fax (410) 822-4016

Title:Clean Water Act, Section 404 (Federal Water Pollution Control Act)
Lead agency/organization: US Army Corps of Engineers (Corps)
Other agencies involved: US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA)
Summary:
Section 404 of the CWA regulates proposed discharges into waters of the US, including jurisdictional wetlands. Although the Corps is responsible for implementing the Section 404 regulatory program, the final authority rests with the EPA.
In Maryland, any proposed discharge of fill material into "waters of the United States" (including wetlands) requires authorization from the Corps of Engineers.
The Corps of Engineers uses two types of permits; General Permits and Individual Permits, to authorize regulated activities. Corps authorizations are generally subject to conditions imposed at the federal level or by the State through the Section 401 Water Quality Certification (WQC). Conditions of the State’s WQC automatically become conditions of the Corps’ authorization.
General Permits are an essential part of the Corps’ regulatory program and are used to authorize approximately 80% of the activities regulated. General permits, which include Regional Permits and Nationwide Permits, contain specific project limitations (conditions) to ensure minimal impacts to the aquatic environment.
Nationwide Permits (NWP’s), authorize a broad range of activities including most types of structures and fills that may be placed in wetlands. The NWP’s are re-authorized every five years, and are subject to Federal (Coastal Zone) Consistency and WQC review by the State. Although the majority of the NWP’s were suspended for use in Maryland when the Corps issued the Maryland State Programmatic General Permit (MDSPGP), the State continues to review the NWP’s during each re-authorization period, particularly those permits that have not been suspended. This review is important because should the MDSPGP become unavailable for use for any reason, the now suspended NWP’s would be reinstated in Maryland.
Presently, the NWP’s have been approved by the State subject to the condition that an applicant obtain all necessary permits and approvals from the Maryland Department of the Environment. The State’s authorization is necessary to validate the NWP.
Regional Permits may be issued by the Corps to authorize certain activities with minimal impacts in a defined region, such as Maryland, the Chesapeake Bay, etc. Any proposed regional permits are also subject to the State’s CZC and WQC reviews. All regional permits have currently been suspended by the Maryland State Programmatic General Permit.
The individual permit process is used by the Corps to authorize activities that do not meet the conditions of the MDSPGP or other general permits. There are two types of individual permits: 1) Standard: These are evaluated on a case-by-case basis and are released for comment through public notices; and 2) Letter of Permission: These may be issued without public notices for minor work under Section 10 of the River and Harbor Act (excluding dredging and filling).
Discharges into wetlands connected to waters of the United States that are above headwaters, or those isolated from surface tributaries to navigable waters, require individual permits if 5 or more acres of water or nontidal wetlands are lost or have substantial adverse modifications. The threshold is three acres for tidal wetlands.
Applicants for permits must demonstrate that the fill is for a water-dependent activity and that no upland alternatives exist to filling the wetland. The Corps may also require that the project be modified so that impacts to the wetlands are minimized after it has been demonstrated that no reasonable alternatives exist. The Corps may also impose conditions for a permit on a case-by-case basis. There are also provisions for holding public hearings.
Review agencies are notified of projects by public notice, and send comments to the Corps within a certain timeframe. Review agencies or the Corps may request that additional information be submitted to evaluate the application.
The District Engineer has the authority to revoke or modify conditions of any permits. Filling a wetland without a valid permit or filling beyond the scope of an existing permit subjects the landowner or his agent to stop filling. The violator may be required to remove the fill and restore the wetland, and may be subject to civil and/or criminal penalties.
Related laws/programs: Clean Water Act, Section 401 Water Quality Certification
Contacts:
US Army Corps of Engineers
Baltimore Office
10 South Howard Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
(410) 962-7608

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 1715
Baltimore, MD 21203-1715
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Water (4101)
401 M Street, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20460
Links: EPA Clean Water Act InformationUS Army Corps of Engineers (Baltimore Office)

Title:Clean Water Act: Section 404 Advanced Identification
Lead agency/organization: US Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Summary:
States, local governments, and private groups can play a major role in Section 404 Advanced Identification by requesting that the process be conducted, by providing information, and by commenting on wetlands identified as generally suitable or unsuitable for discharge permits. Advanced Identification provides some predictability to wetlands regulation. It can also be helpful in resolving conservation and development conflicts in areas of rapid growth, and in controlling cumulative impacts on wetlands.
Section 230.80 of the Section 404(b)(1) guidelines of the Clean Water Act provides for a planning process whereby the U.S. EPA and the Corps identify wetlands that are generally suitable or unsuitable for discharge permits in advance of any specific permit applications. Unless tied to another regulatory authority, these designations are only a guideline, and not binding.
Related laws/programs: Federal Water Pollution Control Act Section 404, Clean Water Act

Title:Coastal Barrier Resources Act & System (16 U.S.C. Sec. 1301-1305 (Supp. 1991))
Coastal Barrier Improvement Act of 1990 (reauthorization of Coastal Barrier Resources Act, P.L. 101-591; 104
Stat. 2931)
Lead agency:U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS)
Other agencies involved:Department of the Interior, states, local governments, conservation organizations
Quick summary:
The Coastal Barrier Resources Act denies federal subsidies for development within undeveloped coastal barriers designated as units of the Coastal Barrier Resources System (CBRS). Congress designates areas for inclusion in the CBRS. In addition, states, local government, and conservation organizations owning lands designated by Congress as "otherwise protected" have until May 1992 to add lands under their control to the CBRS. States can complement the benefits of this act by denying state subsidies for development. They can also publicize the location of CBRS units in their state to help ensure that federal flood insurance is denied in these areas.
Full summary:
The Coastal Barrier Resources Act is an attempt to reduce development within units of the CBRS thereby reducing loss of life, property, and important natural resources as a result of coastal storms. Units of the CBRS are denied major federal development subsidies (such as federal flood insurance, disaster relief, and loans for sewer, water, and highway construction).
In 1990 many wetlands were added to the CBRS. The Coastal Barrier Resources Act had allowed for wetlands, marshes, estuaries, inlets, and near-shore waters adjacent to undeveloped coastal barriers to be included in the system, but many were not. A 1988 Department of the Interior report recommended that existing coastal barrier units be expanded to include these areas and that they be included among all new additions to the system. Even wetlands that are not part of the system benefit from the protection of coastal barriers because these barriers buffer wetlands from storms.
States, local governments, and conservation organizations owning lands designated by Congress as "otherwise Protected" have until May 1992 to add lands under their control to the CBRS. ("Otherwise Protected" refers to areas within undeveloped coastal barriers that are not part of the CBRS because they are already under some form of protection.) Once the governor, local governmental authority, or conservation organization notifies the Department of the Interior which lands they wish to include, the department will add those lands to the CBRS.
"Otherwise protected" areas are currently denied only federal flood insurance. Once they are included in the CBRS , they will be denied all federal development subsidies, and their development will be discouraged. This "opt-in" process applies to the Gulf Lakes, and Atlantic and Gulf Coasts.
The Coastal Barrier Improvement Act of 1990, which amends the earlier Coastal Barrier Resouces Act, requires the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to study and map areas along the Pacific coast (excluding Alaska), Hawaii, and the U.S. Pacific territories that qualify for the program. To receive recommendation, an area must be considered appropriate for inclusion by the governor of the state.
The 1990 legislation provides that in the future, eligible surplus government land will be included automatically in the CBRS if approved by the Department of the Interior. The legislation has expanded the CBRS to 1.25 million acres and more than 1,200 miles of shoreline along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts and the Great Lakes. Significant expansion of the system has occurred in the Florida Keys, the Great Lakes , Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. Ninety-five percent of the Atlantic and Gulf coasts comprise coastal wetlands and near-shore waters.
Full text of law:Click here for full text
Related laws/programs: National Flood Insurance Act, Coastal Zone Management Act
Contacts:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Division of Habitat Conservation
U.S. Department of the Interior
Arlington Square, Room 400
1849 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20240
(703) 358-2201
Links:Coastal Barrier Resource System home page, Coastal Barrier Resources System Fact Sheet

Title:Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection, and Restoration Act (16 U.S.C. Sec 3951-3956, Supp. 1991))
Lead agency/organization: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS)
Other organizations involved: Division of Habitat Conservation; U.S. Department of the Interior
Quick summary:
Under the Coastal Wetlands Planning protection and Restoration Act, Coastal states can apply for matching grants for wetlands acquisition, management, restoration, or enhancement.
Summary:
This act authorizes the FWS to make matching National Coastal Wetlands Conservation grants to coastal states for acquiring, managing, restoring, or enhancing wetlands. Priority is given to projects that are consistent with the National Wetlands Priority Conservation Plan, and that are in states with dedicated funding programs for the acquisition of coastal wetlands, natural areas, and open spaces. Priority is also given to projects in maritime forests on coastal barrier islands. Grants are provided for property acquisition only if the land will be managed for conservation over the long term.
Most of the act's provisions and funding are focused on Louisiana's coastal wetlands. The act established a federal task force to prepare a list of high-priority projects for coastal wetlands restoration and a comprehensive restoration plan for Louisiana's coastal wetlands. The Corps of Engineers is the lead agency for these efforts. The act authorizes funding for up to 75% of the costs of implementing restoration projects.
15% of the funding available under the act is dedicated to wetlands conservation projects in coastal states through the authority and approval process established by the North American Wetlands Conservation Act.
Full text of law:Click here for full text
Related laws/programs:North American Wetlands Conservation Act
Contacts:
Division of Federal Aid
Fish and Wildlife Service
Department of the Interior
Washington, DC 20240
Phone: (703) 358-2156
Links:Detailed guidance on the Act

Title:Coastal Zone Consistency/ Coastal Zone Management Program
Lead agency/organization: MD Department of Natural Resources (DNR) - Tidewater Administration
Other organizations involved: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Coastal county governments, the City of Baltimore, the Coastal Resources Advisory Committee, the Board of Public Works, local soil conservation districts, and MD Departments of Agriculture, Environment, Transportation, Health and Mental Hygiene, and State Planning.
Summary:
Section 307 of the Federal Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972, as amended, requires that proposed federal activities affecting a state’s coastal zone be consistent, to the maximum extent practicable, with a state’s federally-approved Coastal Zone Management Program (CZMP). Maryland’s CZMP was approved in 1978 and established specific goals, objectives, and policies for the protection, preservation and orderly development of the State’s coastal resources. Maryland’s CZMP is a comprehensive and coordinated program, based on existing State laws and authorities.
The following federal activities must comply with the section 307 Federal Consistency requirements: direct federal actions; federal licenses and permits; and federal assistance to State and local governments. All U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Section 10 and Section 404 permits must be determined consistent with the State’s CZMP.
Maryland’s CZMP is referred to as a "networked" program which means it is based on existing laws and authorities. For activities impacting wetlands, the Coastal Zone Consistency determination is issued as part of the State’s wetlands authorization. For federal activities that do not require a State permit, the review and decision is made through the Wetlands and Waterways Program’s Coastal Zone Consistency Division. Although MDE is responsible for the official Coastal Zone Consistency decision, the decision is often based partially or entirely upon the findings of a variety of agencies within the CZMP network, depending upon the nature of the proposed activity.
Other state agencies such as the Departments of Agriculture, Economic and Community Development, Environment, Transportation, Health and Mental Hygiene, and State Planning, also participate in the Program. Other organizations in the program are the coastal counties, the City of Baltimore, the Coastal Resources Advisory Committee, the Board of Public Works, and the local soil conservation districts. The program is only implemented in coastal counties, and the City of Baltimore.
The Program has two objectives that relate to non-tidal wetlands:
To protect coastal terrestrial areas of significant resource value – areas having scenic, scientific, geologic, hydrologic, biological or ecosystem maintenance importance, such as non-tidal wetlands, endangered species habitat, significant wildlife habitat, and wintering and resting areas of migratory birds
To promote the maintenance of natural buffers along, and natural drainage ways feeding to coastal tributaries and estuarine waters, to minimize adverse environmental effects of coastal developments and activities.
Related laws/programs: Federal Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972
Contacts:
Maryland Department of Natural Resources
Coastal Zone Management Program
Tawes State Office Bldg., E-2
580 Taylor Avenue
Annapolis, MD 21401
Phone: 410-260-8984
Fax: 410-260-8739
Links:DNR's CZMP homepage, NOAA's CZMP homepage

Title:Coastal Zone Management Act & Plan (16 U.S.C. Sec. 1451-1464 (1985 & Supp. 1991))
Lead agency:U.S. Department of Commerce
Other agencies involved: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
(NOAA), National Estuary Program (NEP), National Marine Fisheries Service, Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Program,
Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management
Quick summary:
Participation in the voluntary coastal zone management program requires states to manage coastal wetlands and providess states with some control over these resources by requiring that federal activities be consistent with state coastal zone management plans, which can be more strigent than federal standards. Federal grants, policy guidance, and technical assistance are available to state for developing and implementing their coastal zone management programs. Some grants can be passed through to local government.
Summary:
Under the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA), coastal states may voluntarily participate in the federal coastal zone management (CZM) program by preparing comprehensive CZM plans, which provide for the conservation and environmentally sound development of coastal resources. For federal approval, state plans must demonstrate that they provide enforceable standards for the protection of specific coastal resources, including tidal and coastal nontidal wetlands.
States may regulate activities that affect wetlands either through state wetlands programs or permits or through federal "consistency" requirements. Under these requirements, applications for federal licenses or permits (including Section 404 permits)to conduct an activity in the coastal zone of a state with an approved CZM plan must demonstrate that the activity is consistent with the plan. Through consistancy reviews of Section 404 permits, a state might reject permits that the Corps of Engineers would otherwise have issued or might refuse to certify permits as consistent unless the applicant makes design changes or modifiees the application to incorporate state mitigation requirements.
The wetlands components of state CZM programs vary according to the state permitting authority and the coastal zone boundary. Many states have tiered boundaries and exercise different authorities in each tier. For example, a state may issues direct permits on areas contaning sensitive coastal resources but may rely on consistency reviews of federal permits and activities outside these areas. In additional to this regulatory component, the CZM program provides opportunities for state-level wetlands acquisition, planning, management, restoration, creation, educational programs, and research.
Currently, all approved CZM programs require state or local approval for alteration of wetlands. Mitigation of wetlands loss is also require in some states. Many states have iniated public education through their CZM programs.
The CZMA also authorizes the National Estuarine Research Reserve System, which provides opportunities for education, research, acqusition, and managemnt. An estuary may be designated a national estuarine reserve if it is a nationally represenative estuarine ecosystem, is suitable long-term research, and is nominated by the governor of the state.
The 1990 CZMA reauthorization established a new, competitve "enhancement grants" program that encourages each coastal state to improve its CZM program continually to achieve one or more of eight objectives. Three of these objectives may be useful for statewide wetlands strategies: (1) protection, restoration, enhancement, or creation of coastal wetlands; (2) assessment and control of the cumulative impacts of coastal development on coastal resources such as coastal wetlands ; and (3) preparation and implementation of Special Area Management Plans for important coastal areas. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), in consulation with each state, must determine priorities for improvement for each objective.
The CZMA reauthorization also established a new Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Program, which requires that each coastal state develop a program to protect coastal waters from nonpoint sources of pollution from adjacent adjacent coastal land uses. NOAA and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will implement this program jointly through the CZMA and Section 319 of he Clean Water Act.
The reauthorization makes it clear that activities subject to consistency requirements include outer continental shelf lease sales and ocean dumping, whether in or outside the coastal zone.
Full text of law:Click here for full text
Related laws/programs: Section 404 Clean Water Act, Section 319 Clean Water Act, Special Area Management Plans
Contacts:
Office of Ocean Coastal Resource Management
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
U.S. Department of Commerce
1825 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Room 724 N/OR3
Washington, DC 20235
(202)606-4135
Links:FWS overviewNOAA's Coastal Zone Management Program Page,MD's Coastal Zone Management Program

Title:Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP)
Lead agency/organization:USDA - Farm Service Agency (FSA)
Other organizations involved: USDA - Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA), Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Ducks Unlimited, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Future Harvest – CASA, Soil Conservation Districts
Summary:
The CREP is a Maryland-specific enhancement of the Conservation Reserve Program. The CREP offers payments above normal rental rates for establishing riparian forest buffers, retiring highly erodible lands, and restoring wetlands and shallow water habitats. The goal is to enroll 100,000 acres of environmentally sensitive land statewide (70,000 acres of riparian forest buffers and hebaceous buffers, 20,000 acres of highly erodible land within 1,000 feet of a stream, 5,000 acres of wetlands, and 5,000 acres of shallow water habitat).
Eligible areas must have been planted as cropland two of the five most recent years. Marginal pasture adjacent to streams is also eligible if it is suitable for planting to a riparian forest buffer. Enrolled lands will receive a per acre rental rate, plus a 100% rental rate bonus for planting a forest buffer, and an 80% rental rate bonus for planting herbaceous buffers, retiring highly erodible land, or restoring wetlands. All CREP practices receive a one-time incentive payment of $100/acre from the State of Maryland. Additional incentives are also available for some practices. Rental payments will be made yearly for the life of the contract. A 10-15 year contract is required. Landowners also have the option to sell permanent easements to the State of Maryland for land enrolled in CREP. Easement payments are based upon local land values. Current benefits include the one-time sign-up bonus, yearly land rental payments, maintenance payments, and 75-100% cost share. Enrollment is non-competitive and open.
Related Laws/Programs:Conservation Reserve Program
Contacts:
USDA Service Center located in each county

Maryland Farm Service Agency
8335 Guilford Rd. Suite E
Columbia, MD 21046
(410) 381-4550

Maryland Department of Agriculture
Office of Resource Conservation
50 Harry S. Truman Parkway
Annapolis, MD 21401
(410) 841-5863
Other Links:CREP Homepage, CREP factsheet, FAQ’s, press release

Title:Conservation Reserve Program (16 U.S.C. Sec. 3830-3837 (Supp. 1991))
Lead agency: USDA - Farm Service Agency (FSA)
Other agencies/organizations involved: USDA - Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
Summary:
The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) was established by the 1985 Farm Bill, and expanded in later amendments of that bill. The CRP provides cost sharing and land rental payments to farmers for a variety of conservation practices, including establishing permanent cover on highly erodible lands, planting filter strips and riparian forest buffers adjacent to streams and other waterbodies, and restoring wetlands and shallow water areas for wildlife.
Landowners enter into contracts for 10 to 15 years, during which they recieve annual rental payments. For the duration of the contract, no commodity crops can be grown on land enrolled in CRP. Haying, grazing, and harvesting of CRP acreage for agricultural or commercial purposes is also prohibited during the contract period.
A maximum of 25 percent of a county's eligible cropland may be enrolled in the program. Landowners can offer to enroll land in CRP during announced sign-up periods, which usually occur only once or twice per year. This is a competitive process in which offers for CRP contracts are ranked nationally, then selected for funding based on their cost and environmental benefits.
For some conservation practices such as riparian buffers, filter strips, grassed waterways, contour buffer strips, and shallow water areas for wildlife, land can be offered for enrollment at any time (continous sign-up) and does not have to go through the competitive ranking process.
The Chesapeake Bay region, the Great Lakes region, and the Long Island Sound have been designated as national conservation priority areas for CRP. One goal is to achieve significant enrollment in these areas so as to protect and improve thier water quality and wildlife habitat.
Related laws/programs: Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program
Contacts:
USDA Service Center located in each county

Conservation and Environmental Protection Division
Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service
U. S. Depaprtment of Agriculture
P. O. Box 2415
Washington, DC 20013
202-447-6221​