Laws and Programs

Detailed Descriptions of Laws and Programs D- L

Title:Dorchester County laws
Lead agency/organization:Dorchester County, Planning and Zoning Department
Summary:
Dorchester County relies on existing State and federal laws for the protection of wetlands and waterways.
Related laws/programs:Critical Area Law, Forest Conservation Act
Contacts:
Dorchester County
Planning and Zoning Department
PO Box 107
Cambridge, MD 21613
phone: (410) 228-3234
Links:Dorchester County website

Title:Emergency Watershed Protection Program
Lead agency/organization: USDA - Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
Quick summary:
The Emergency Watershed Protection Program (EWP) was set up by Congress to respond to emergencies created by natural disasters. It is designed to relieve imminent hazards to life and property caused by floods, fires, windstorms, and other natural occurrences. The purpose of EWP is to help groups of people with a common problem. It is generally not an individual assistance program. Except in the case of floodplain easements, all projects undertaken must be sponsored by a political subdivision of the State, such as a city, county, general improvement district, or conservation district.
Full summary:
EWP work is not limited to any one set of prescribed measures. A case by case investigation of the needed work is made by NRCS. EWP work can include:
removing debris from stream channels, road culverts, and bridges; reshaping and protecting eroded banks; correcting damaged drainage facilities; repairing levees and structures; reseeding damaged areas; and purchasing floodplain easements.
NRCS may bear up to 75 percent of the construction cost of emergency measures. The remaining 25 percent must come from local sources and can be in the form of cash or in-kind services. All EWP work must reduce threats to life and property. Furthermore, it must be economically and environmentally defensible and sound from an engineering standpoint.
Public and private landowners are eligible for assistance but must be represented by a project sponsor. The project sponsor must be a public agency of state, county, or city government, or a special district.
Sponsors are responsible for providing landrights to do repair work and securing the necessary permits. Sponsors are also responsible for furnishing the local cost share and for accomplishing the installation of work. The work can be done either
through federal or local contracts.
EWP funds cannot be used to solve problems that existed before the disaster or to improve the level of protection above that which existed prior to the disaster. EWP cannot fund operation and maintenance work, or repair private or public transportation facilities or utilities. EWP work cannot adversely affect downstream water rights, and EWP funds cannot be used to install measures not essential to the reduction of hazards. In addition, EWP funds cannot be used to perform work on measures installed by another federal agency.
All applications must be submitted within 10 days of the disaster for exigency situations and within 60 days of the disaster for nonexigency situations.
Contacts:
Natural Resources Conservation Service
339 Busch's Frontage Road, Suite 301
Annapolis, Maryland 21401
Links:EWP homepage

Title:Emergency Wetlands Resources Act (16 U.S.C. Sec. 3901-3932 ( Supp.1991))
Lead agency: US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS)
Other agencies involved: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), US Department of CommerceUS Department of Agriculture(USDA), State Governments
Quick summary:
Activities authorized by the Emergency Wetlands Resources Act can provide state, local governments, and private groups with valuable information on the location of wetlands and on which wetlands should be considered for acquisition.
Summary:
The purpose of the Act is to promote wetlands conservation for the public benefit and to help fulfill international obligations in various migratory bird treaties and conventions. The Act authorizes the purchase of wetlands from Land and Water Conservation Fund monies. The Act also requires the Secretary of the Interior to establish a National Wetlands Priority Conservation Plan, requires the states to include wetlands in their Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plans, and transfers funds from import duties on arms and ammunition to the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund.
In concert with other federal and state statutes and programs, the Act promotes wetlands conservation by: intensifying cooperative efforts among private interests and local, state and federal governments; intensifying efforts to protect wetlands through acquisition in fee, easements or other methods by local, state and federal governments and the public sector.
The Act establishes sources of funding from admission fees to lands and collection of import duties on arms and ammunition.
The Act also outlines the establishment of a national wetlands priority conservation plan specifying on a region-by-region basis the types of wetlands which should be given priority for state and federal acquisition. To establish the plan, the Secretary consults the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Secretary of Commerce, the Secretary of Agriculture and the states. Factors considered in establishing the plan include: the estimated proportion remaining of the respective types of wetlands which existed at the time of European settlement; the estimated current rate of loss and threat of future losses of wetlands; the contributions of wetlands to endangered and threatened wildlife, migratory birds and resident species, commercial and sport fisheries, surface and ground water quality and quantity, flood control, outdoor recreation and other concerns.
Full text of law:Click here for full text
Related laws/programs: Migratory Bird Conservation Fund, National Wetlands Priority Conservation Plan, National
Wetlands Inventory (NWI)
Contacts:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
U.S. Department of the Interior
Arlington Square, Room 130
1849 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20240
(703)358-1171
Links:Act homepage

Title:Endangered Species Act (16 U.S.C. Sec. 1531-1544 (1985 & Supp. 1991))
Lead agency: US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS)
Other agencies involved: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)
Quick summary:
States, local governments, and private groups can use the Endangered Species Act to protect wetlands that provide habitat for endangered or threatened species-- by actively supporting the listing of wetlands-dependant species as endangered or threatened and by urging aggressive implementation of the act, including strong recovery plans.
Summary:
The Endangered Species Act requires federal agencies to conserve endangered and threatened species. It also prohibits any person from "taking" endangered or threatened animal species. (Endangered plants are afforded less stringent protection). "Taking" is broadly interpreted to include killing, harassing, or harming a protected species. The definition of harm includes modifying or degrading a species' habitat such that the change would significantly impair breeding, feeding, or shelter, and would result in injury to the species.
Under Section 7 of this act, all; federal agencies must ensure that their actions are not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered or threatened species or adversely modify or destroy any of their habitat. These requirements apply to all activities carried out, funded, or regulated by a federal agency, including activities in wetlands.
A state can propose or support the listing of wetlands-dependent species, thereby bringing the act's protection to bear on its wetlands. States can identify potential species, petition the federal government to include these species, and conduct the necessary research to justify listing.
The federal government is also supposed to designate "critical habitat" for a species at the time it is listed. As noted, federal agencies are not authorized to modify adversely or destroy critical habitat.
For listed species, the FWS is required to prepare recovery plans that outline a strategy to conserve and recover the species. States can promote strong recovery plans for wetlands-dependent species, including acquisition of new wetlands and restrictions on wetlands territory.
At present, permits can be issued that allow the "taking" of endangered or threatened species that occurs incidentally to otherwise lawful activities. Long-term habitat conservation plans (HCPs) must be developed as part of the permit application process. States may wish to initiate or participate in the preparation of HCPs and to advocate for wetlands protection as part of the plans. However, HCPs may be of limited use for wetlands protection because they require the presence of a federally listed endangered or threatened species and because they are expensive and time consuming to negotiate. In addition, they are intended for activities not subject to federal permits, and many wetlands activities require federal permits.
Full text of law:Click here for full text
Related laws/programs: Clean Water Act, Section 404
Contacts:
US FWS
Office of Endangered Species
US Department of the Interior
Mail Stop 452
4401 North Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22203
(703) 358-2171

NMFS
Office of Protected Resources and Habitat Programs
1335 East-West Highway
Silver Spring, MD 20910
(301) 427-2319

Title:Environmental Quality Incentives Program
Lead agency/organization: USDA - Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
Other organizations involved: Commodity Credit Corporation, USDA - Farm Service Agency (FSA), Maryland Cooperative Extension Service
Summary:
The Federal Agriculture Improvement an.d Reform Act of 1996 (P.L. 104-127) authorized the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) to provide farmers with financial, technical and educational assistance. EQIP replaces four terminated cost-sharing programs that had been funded through annual appropriations.
EQIP targets funds to areas with higher concentrations of problems, called geographic priority areas (GPA's), which are designated nationally and by each state. These areas can be designated to address on-farm problems or to reduce off-farm problems generated by farm activities - especially water quality problems.
Participants must develop and implement an approved conservation plan that addresses relevant conservation needs and objectives. Acceptable structural and vegetative practices range from grassed waterways to manure management facilities, and land management practices such as nutrient management can also be in the plan. Payments generally are limited to $10,000 per person annually, and $50,000 total over the 5 to 10 year life of the contract. The act permits case-by-case exceptions to the annual (but not multi-year) limitation. The initial payments are made the year after the contract is signed. The government's share can not exceed 75% of the projected cost of structural and vegetative practices, taking into consideration payments participants receive from state or local government. Participants are eligible to receive incentive payments to encourage the application of land management practices.
Full text of law:Click here for full text
Contacts:USDA Service Center located in each county

Farm Sevice Agency
Maryland State Office
8335 Guilford Rd
Columbia, MD 21046
(410) 381-4550
Links:Program homepage, Summary, Status and Issues Report, Program Fact Sheet, Q&A Sheet

Title:EPA Wetlands Program State Development Grants
Lead agency: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Quick summary:
States can use EPA grants for devlopment and/or enhancement of their wetlands protection programs. The Funds can be used for a wide range of activities , both regulatory and nonregulatory.
Summary:
Beginning in fiscal year 1990, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency(EPA) made grants available to states for the development of wetlands protection programs. This funding can be used to develop new programs or to refine and enhance existing programs. Priority is given to innovative approaches and to project results that can be transferred. The types of projects likely to be funded include the following:

  • state wetlands conservation plans;
  • projects intergrating wetlands into traditional water/natural-resource programs;
  • multiobjective river corridor management;
  • use of water quality standars to protect wetlands;
  • incorporation of wetlands into Section 401 programs;
  • projects that expand activities covered and/or the geogrophic jurisdiction of existing regulatory programs; and
  • monitoring projects.
Delaware used a $50,000 grant to identify and restore weetlands on marginal agricultural lands. Vermont used a $26,970 grant for a pilot project to coordinate wetlands conservation planning among state agencies, regional planning commisions, and municipal governments, as required by state law. Michigan recieved a $44,645 grant to develop water quality standards for wetlands, to incorporate them into existing state standards, and to address wetlands better in its Section 401 water quality certification program.
Full text of law: Year 2001 grant guidance
Related laws/programs: Section 401, Clean Water Act
Contacts:
Regional Grant Coordinator
United States Environmental Protection Agency
Region 3
1650 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103-2029
1-800-438-2474

Title:Executive Order 1190: Protection of Wetlands (42 F.R. 26961 as amended by Exec. Order No. 12608 (1987), reprinted in 42 U.S.C. Sec. 4321 app. at 244-245 (Supp. 1991))
Quick summary:
Executive Order 11990 requires each federal agency to:
take action to minimize the destruction, loss or degradation of wetlands, and to preserve and enhance the natural and beneficial values of wetlands in carrying out responsibilities the agency may have for (1) acquiring, managing, and disposing of Federal lands and facilities; (2) providing Federally undertaken, financed, or assisted construction and improvements; and (3) conducting Federal activities and programs affecting land use including but not limited to water and related land resources planning, regulating, and licensing activities.
Summary:
This executive order does not apply to permits or licenses issued by federal agencies for activities involving wetlands not on federal property. Agencies must avoid undertaking or assisting new construction in wetlands unless the agency head determines that there is no practicable alternative and that the proposed action includes all practicable measures to minimize harm to wetlands.
Agencies must provide opportunities for early public review of plans or proposals for new construction in wetlands, including projects considered not significant enough to require an environmental impact statement under the National Environmental Policy Act.
At Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve in Louisiana, for example, a federal agency modified its plans for a flood levee that would have adversely affected the park's bayous, freshwater swamps, and marshes. The changes were made in part because of the requirements of the executive order.
Full text of law:Click here for full text

Title:Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act (Dingell-Johnson Act)
(16 U.S.C Sec. 777a-777l (1985 & Supp. 1991)); and
Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act (Pittman-Robertson Act)
(16 U.S.C. Sec. 669a-669i (1985 & Supp. 1991))
Lead agency:U.S. Department of the Interior
Other organizations involved:U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of Federal Aid
Summary:
Dingell-Johnson Act funding is distributed to states according to a formula based on the geographic area of the state and the number of state residents with fishing licenses. These monies can be used for up to 75 percent of the cost of fish restoration and management projects and comprehensive plans for fish and wildlife resource management. A portion of funding under this act can be used for aquatic resource education programs. Since the program began in 1952, roughly $1.4 billion has been given to states. The Dingell-Johnson Act is funded by excise taxes on fishing equipment, import duties on fishing tackle and pleasure boats, and a portion of a tax on motorboat fuels.
Through the Pittman-Robertson Act, states can receive grants for up to 75 percent of the costs of wildlife conservation activities, including acquisition, restoration, and maintenance of wetlands. $2 billion has been given to states. From 1989 to 1990, states acquired nearly 14,000 acres of wetlands. The Pittman-Robertson Act is funded by excise taxes on hunting equipment.
The U.S. Fish and wildlife Service provides technical assistance to states.
Full text of law:Click here for Fish Restoration Act full text, Click here for Wildlife Restoration Act full text
Contacts:
U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Division of Federal Aid
U. S. Department of the Interior
Arlington Squre, Room 322
1849 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20240
703-358-2156

Title:Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act (16 U.S.C. Sec. 661-668 (1985 & Supp. 1991))
Lead agency: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS)
Other organizations involved:National Marine Fisheries Service
Quick summary:
The Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act provides a key role for states in evaluating the impacts on fish and wildlife conservation of water resource development projects or Clean Water Act Sections 402 or 404 permits. This can be a useful tool for protecting wetlands that are important to fish and wildlife conservation.
Summary:
The Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act requires that federal agencies give wildlife conservation equal consideration...with other features of water-resource development programs." In addition, federal agencies proposing water development projects such as dam construction and reclamation projects or water-modifying activities for which federal permits are required (including Section 404 permits) must consult with the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) or the National Marine Fisheries Service as well as the state agency with jurisdiction over wildlife resources for an evaluation of the proposed project's impact on fish and wildlife. The goals of this evaluation are to assess the status of affected fish and wildlife resources and to prevent or mitigate their loss and damage. The lead federal agency must include the results of the evaluation (referred to as a "mitigation report") in any report prepared as part of the project and must include in the project plan "such justifiable means and measures for wildlife purposes as the ...agency finds should be adopted to obtain maximum overall project benefits."
In addition, federal projects must make "adequate provision [consistant with overall project purposes]...for the conservation, maintenance, and management of wildlife." This can include acquisition of land or waters.
Full text of law:Click here for full text
Contacts:
US Fish and Wildlife Service
Chesapeake Bay Field Office
177 Admiral Cochrane Drive
Annapolis, MD 21401
(410) 573-4500

Title:Forest Conservation Act
Lead agency/organization: County governments
Other organizations involved: MD Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
Summary:
The Forest Conservation Act provides guidelines for the amount of forest land retained or planted after the completion of development projects. These guidelines vary for each development site and are based on land-use categories. These categories include agricultural and resource, medium-density residential, institutional development, high-density residential, mixed use, planned-units development, and commercial and industrial use areas.
Generally, rural areas with larger forests have higher thresholds to minimize the number of acres cleared. For example, an area zoned for medium-density residential use would require about 25% of the forests on the site to be retained. Areas zoned for commercial and industrial use would required about 15% retention. This allows development to occur in areas where it is appropriate while protecting forests.
Where little or no forest exists, the Act requires that forests be established by planting trees. Using the same example, in medium-density residential use areas 20% of a project site would be planted, but only 15% of the site requires planting in a commercial and industrial use area. Under some conditions planting may occur outside of the project site where a forest would provide protection to other natural resources, such as streams or wetlands.
The Forest Conservation Act applies to all activities requiring a permit for subdivision, grading, or sediment control that is larger than 40,000 square feet, or slightly less than one acre. Information on the condition of the existing forest and a plan for conserving the most valuable portions of the forest are required. Plans are prepared by qualified resource professionals.
Contacts:
MD DNR - Forest Service
2 S. Bond St.
Bel Air, MD 21014
410-836-4551
Links:DNR’s Forest Conservation Act Page, Detailed description of Act

Title: Forest Stewarship Program/ Stewardship Incentive Program
Lead agency/organization: US Forest Service (USFS)
Other organizations involved: MD Department of Natural Resources (DNR) - Forest Service
Summary:
The Forest Stewardship Program and the Stewarship Incentive Program were established to help landowners protect or enhance their forest lands and associated wetlands.
The Forest Stewardhip Program is available to landowners who own five or more acreas of forest land or non-forest land that can be planted to trees. The Program provides technical assistance to help landowners enhance/protect the timber, fish/wildlife habitat, water quality, wetlands, and recreational/aesthetic values of their property. The Stewardship Incentive Program provides cost-sharing to private landowners for implementing FSP plans. There are nine categories eligible for funding: management plan development, afforestation; forest improvement; windbreaks and hedgerows; streamside and wetlands protection; fisheries and aquatic habitat improvement; wildlife habitat enhancement; forest recreation habitat enhancement; and soil and water protection. The practices that are recommended in the plan and have received cost-share assistance must be maintained for a minimum of 10 years. the maximum amount a landowner may receive in a year is $10,000. Over an average year, approximately $100,000 is distributed to 150 landowners for practices covering 2,000 acres. there is open enrollment for these two programs.
Contacts:
MD Department of Natural Resources- Forest Service
Tawes State Office Building E-1
580 Taylor Avenue
Annapolis, Maryland 21401
phone: 410-260-8531
fax: 410-260-8595
Links:Forest Stewardship page, Stewardship Incentive Program Page

Title:Forestry Incentives Program
Lead agency/organization: USDA - Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Forest Service (FS)
Other agencies/organizations involved: Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Forest Service
Summary:
FIP is a nationwide program available in counties designated on the basis of a Forest Service survey of total eligible private timber acreage that is potentially suitable for production of timber products. Federal cost-share money is available­with a limit of $10,000 per person per year. Cost-share is limited to no more than 65 percent of the cost of implementing an approved forestry practice. The local USDA office, or State forester will have information on which counties participate in the FIP.
To be eligible for cost-share assistance under FIP, a landowner must:

  • Own no more than 1,000 acres of eligible forest land. In the public interest, the Secretary of Agriculture can grant an exception for larger acreages;
  • Be a private landowner of a nonindustrial forest. Individuals, groups, associations, or corporations whose stocks are not publicly traded may be eligible for FIP provided they are not primarily engaged in the business of manufacturing forest products or providing public utility services;
  • Have land that is suitable for conversion from nonforest land into forest land (afforestation); for reforestation; or for improved forest management; and
  • Have land that is capable of producing marketable timber crops and meets minimum productivity standards established for FIP. At least 10 acres of eligible forest land is required for FIP.
Available practices under FIP are:
Tree planting;
Improving a stand of forest trees; and
Site preparation for natural regeneration.
Related laws/programs: 1996 Farm Bill
Contacts: 
USDA Service Centers located in each county

NRCS Annapolis Service Center
2662 Riva Road
Annapolis, MD 21401
(410) 571-6757
Links:Program factsheet

Title:Frederick County laws
Lead agency/organization:Frederick County Department of Planning and Zoning
Other organizations involved:
Summary:
Frederick County relies on existing State and federal laws for the protection of wetlands and waterways.
Related laws/programs: Forest Conservation Act
Contacts:
Frederick County Department of Planning and Zoning
12 E. Church Street, Winchester Hall
Frederick, Maryland 21701
(301) 694-1134
Links:Department of Planning and Zoning homepage

Title:Garrett County laws
Lead agency/organization:Garrett County Planning and Zoning Department
Summary:
Garrett County relies on State laws for the protection of wetlands. However, the County does require a 50 foot buffer on streams in designated non-growth areas, and a 25 foot buffer on streams in growth areas. Local jurisdictions may have additional laws pertaining to flodplains.
Related laws/programs: Forest Conservation Act
Contacts:
Garrett County
Planning and Zoning Department
313 E. Alder St. Rm 307, County Courthouse
Oakland MD 21550
phone: (301) 334-1920
fax: (301) 334-5023
Links:Planning and Zoning Department homepage

Title:Greenways Commission
Lead agency/organization: MD Department of Natural Resources, (DNR)
Other organizations involved: MD Department of Planning
Summary:
The Maryland Greenways Commission was established by Executive Order in March of 1990, with the goal of creating a statewide, natural infrastructure by protecting and connecting important natural corridors throughout the state. The commission is involved in planning and implementing greenway projects in every region of the state and works closely with the Department of Natural Resources and the Maryland Office of Planning to track and promote a variety of land conservation activities in Maryland. The Department of Transportation has also been a key partner, providing leadership for the commission and substantial funding for acquisition of scenic properties and development of pedestrian pathways. Working with local governments, citizen groups, land trusts,
businesses and private organizations, the Commission coordinates efforts to protect and establish
greenway corridors and linkages to the statewide system.
Over 900 miles of protected greenway corridors exist in Maryland. Approximately 200 miles of corridors
are currently being established, and another 1,000 miles have been identified as potential greenway
corridors. Most of the land in Maryland's existing network of greenways is publicly owned and managed,
and most areas allow public access. The network includes long-distance trails such as the 180-mile C&O
Canal National Historical Park and the multi-state Appalachian Trail, rail trails like the 20-mile Northern
Central Rail Trail and the 13-mile B&A Trail, and many miles of publicly owned stream valley parks.

Future expansion of the statewide greenway system will rely increasingly on partnerships with private
landowners. Corporate land management agreements, donations/set asides of floodplains, wetlands, steep
slopes and community open space, and conservation easements on private properties will be necessary to
expand the greenway system to smaller tributaries and to reach into neighborhoods. Agricultural lands
should also be considered part of the growing web of greenways. While often not suitable for trails or
public access, these fertile lands are an important component of Maryland's open space network.

Many greenways involve more than one jurisdiction, and information on future plans, progress and
obstacles are essential to developing a connected system of greenways. Local planning and zoning
requirements also have a major impact on greenway corridors. Guidance provided by the Maryland
Economic Growth, Resource Protection and Planning Act should inspire local governments to use their
powers to protect valuable, natural corridors. In addition, the Maryland Greenways Commission will
continue to work with local governments, citizen groups and private organizations to coordinate efforts to
establish greenway corridors and linkages to the statewide system.
Links:DNR's Greenways website

Title:Harford County laws
Lead agency/organization:Harford County Department of Planning and Zoning
Summary:
Harford County has established a Natural Resources District. The District encompasses the perimiter of; slopes greater than 25% that are 40,000 sq. ft. or more; a 75 foot buffer around nontidal wetlands; a 150 foot buffer around each side of streams draining 400 or more acres, a 75 foot buffer on streams draining less than 400 acres; and a 50 foot buffer beyond the 100 year floodplain. In the Natural Resources District, the following uses are prohibited; new mining operations, refuse, landfill, or solid waste disposal (except manure), alteration of a waterway except for best management practices. Pemitted uses in theDistrict include; agriculture and forestry, as long as certain BMP's are met, utilities, and stormwater management. Development in the Natural Resources District is allowed, providing impacts to sensitive areas are avoided, the 75 foot buffer around nontidal wetlands is not disturbed, and disturbance of steep slopes is only as necessary for roads and utilities.
Related laws/programs:Critical Area Law, Forest Conservation Act
Contacts:
Harford County
Department of Planning and Zoning
County Office Building
220 South Main Street
Bel Air, MD 21014
phone: 410-638-3103
fax: 410-879-8239
Links:Department of Planning and Zoning Building Permits page

Title:Howard County laws (Howard County Zoning Law Sec. 16.114-16.117)
Lead agency/organization:Howard County Department of Planning and Zoning
Summary:
Howard County has two sets of standards; one for residential areas, and one for non-residential areas. Residential areas require no grading, removal of vegetation, or new structures within 50 feet of an intermittent stream, and within 75 feet of a perennial stream. In non-residential areas, no grading, removal of vegetation, or new structures is allowed within 50 feet of a perennial stream. In either of the two zoning types, no grading or removal of vegetation is allowed within 25 feet of a wetland. Additionally, developers are encouraged to dedicate floodplains as open space, or to deed them to the County. Floodplains must contain an easement for county access, and they do not count toward minimum acreage requirements for open or undeveloped space in zoning requirements. Additionally, building and other material may not be discarded in the floodplain, and no work may be done in the floodplain except work that is authorized by the Department of Planning and Zoning. Grading or removal of vegetation on slopes of 25% or greater is also prohibited, unless the contiguous area of steep slopes is less than 20,000 sq. feet, or there is sufficient area outside of stream and wetland buffers for required sediment and erosion control measures.
Related laws/programs: Forest Conservation Act
Contacts:
Howard County
Department of Planning and Zoning
3430 Courthouse Drive
Ellicot City, MD 21043
phone: 410-313-2393
Links:Howard County Development, Land Use, and Planning page

Title:Kent County laws
Lead agency/organization:Kent County Department of Planning and Zoning
Summary:
Kent County enforces the Critical Area law. In addition, the County limits development and fill in the floodplain. This entails minimizing any new building in the 100-year floodplain, building elsewhere when alternatives exist. Additionally, no new subdivisions will be permitted within the 100-year floodplain. Floodways (that carry the flow of flood waters) are also protected against development or fill. Development is also restricted in Coastal High Hazard Areas, where wind, wave, and tidal flooding impacts are a factor.
Full text of law:Click here for Floodplain Management Ordinance
Related laws/programs:Critical Area Law, Forest Conservation Act
Contacts:
Kent County
Department of Planning and Zoning
County Government Center
400 High Street
Chestertown, MD 21620
phone: (410) 778-7475
fax: (410) 810-2932
Links:Kent Co. Dept of Planning and Zoning webpage

Title:Land and Water Conservation Fund Act (16 U.S.C. Sec. 4601-4 to 4601-11 (1974 & Supp. 1991))
Lead agency: US Department of the Interior - National Park Service (NPS)
Quick summary:
Under the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act, states and local communities can receive federal matching grants for land acquisition and recreation development. States are required to prepare State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation plans, including a wetlands component, to qualify for grants. The information in these plans can assist states, local governments, and private groups in applying other wetlands protection tools.
Summary:
The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), funded primarily from receipts for offshore oil and gas leasing and development, is used to acquire recreational lands and natural areas, including wetlands. Under the LWCF Act, each state is required to produce a State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP) every five years to be eligible for federal assistance from he LWCF. SCORPs are intended to review state recreation opportunities and outline priorities for land acquisition and development of recreational facilities.
The LWCF Act was amended in 1986 by the Emergency Wetlands Resources Act. The Emergency Wetlands Resources Act recognizes the contribution of wetlands in providing fish and wildlife habitat and offering significant recreational and commercial benefits. The amended LWCR Act requires states to consider wetlands in SCORPs. Specifically, states are expected to identify the agencies and organizations involved in wetlands management, evaluate existing and proposed wetlands protection mechanisms, assess wetlands resources, identify wetlands loss and degradation factors, and establish priorities for protection.
Contacts:
SCORP Program Manger
Recreation Resources Assistance Division
National Park Service
P. O. Box 37121
Washington, DC 20013-7127
202-343-3780

Title:Land Trusts
Lead agency/organization: Various
Summary:
A land trust is non-profit organization devoted to land preservation. It can be a private non-profit or public. Statewide, land trusts assist conservation-minded property owners to preserve natural areas, farms, forests and scenic openspace without giving up ownership. The primary way that this is done is through the placing of a conservation or other easement on a given piece of property. The easement may restrictor prohibit certain future land uses, but normally allows current practices and structures to persist. Many easements are placed on land to preserve its natural, undeveloped condition, or to preserve it as agricultural land. The easements on the property are permanent, and accompany the title deed to the land in any future sale. Property owners that work with land trusts to protect their land have made a voluntary decision to preserve certain aspects of their land indefinately. Financial benefits in the form of tax deductions are also associated with easements. Easements often make it much easier to pass the land to the owner's children without paying large estate taxes.
Related laws/programs:Maryland Environmental Trust
Contacts:
There are a large number of land trusts in Maryland. The majority of these are listed on a webpage provided by the Maryland Environmental Trust. To view this page, click here.​