Coastal & Estuarine Land Conservation Program

Since 2008, Maryland has received approximately $16,482,100 from NOAA’s Coastal & Estuarine Land Conservation Program (CELCP). Maryland is using CELCP funding to protect important coastal and estuarine areas with significant conservation, recreation, ecological, historical, or aesthetic values that may be vulnerable to conversion.

Loblolly Rest

What is CELCP?

CELCP is a nationally-competitive land conservation program through NOAA that was established to protect important coastal and estuarine areas that have significant conservation, recreation, ecological, historical or aesthetic values. Each year, Maryland’s Chesapeake & Coastal Program can submit up to three project proposals each with a requested funding of $3,000,000 per project and 1:1 match. Project proposals support coastal land conservation goals outlined in the state’s CELCP plan.

Current Activities

Ayers Creek/Holly Grove Swamp Phase II Project – Worcester County
FY 2009 – CELCP Award of $1,375,000 with state and donated land value match funds

On March 23, 2011, 442 acres of the Holly Grove region of Worcester County, Maryland were preserved for public open space through a partnership between DNR, the County, the Maryland Coastal Bays Program, NOAA’s Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program (CELCP) program and the Trust for Public Land. The property is a large, forested wetland complex along a half-mile stretch of Ayers Creek. It has a unique mix of coastal forest and highly functional estuarine and palustrine forested wetland complexes. Passive recreation opportunities will be available for hiking and bird watching and the public will be able to kayak near the property. In addition to this property, directly across the road is the Golden Quarters Farm, another CELCP property protected through a conservation easement.

The Ayers Creek/Holly Grove Swamp Phase II property was acquired to preserve important natural resources and provide public access in perpetuity. Protecting the Ayers Creek property will conserve an important natural landscape, help maintain the water quality of the coastal bays and support important habitat for numerous plants and animals. Learn more about this property and what the Chesapeake & Coastal Program does to protect coastal lands through the CELCP program.

Who can participate in the Maryland CELCP program?

Who can participate in the Maryland CELCP program?


  • The Chesapeake & Coastal Program implements the CELCP project proposal process for Maryland.
  • Any Maryland state partners, coastal county local government, or the sites of the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (CB-NERR MD) can partner with us on CELCP projects.
  • If you are interested in discussing potential property proposals for the annual CELCP competition, plan to provide tax map and property information several months before the federal submission deadline (typically in March or April each year).
  • Properties must be located in the coastal zone and be consistent with the Maryland CELCP plan.
  • CCP will help to coordinate the project proposal with the applicant and DNR’s Land Acquisition & Planning Unit, to evaluate and score the properties, select the annual projects Maryland will submit to NOAA, and prepare a project proposal.
  • For more information, please contact Catherine McCall at 410.260.8737.

For more information, please contact Catherine McCall at 410.260.8737.​