Water quality for Living Resources, which recognizes special streams and watersheds, Sensitive Species Project Review Areas (SSPRAs) and The Nature Conservancy’s Forest Matrix Blocks.
The Management Model
The Management model for Maryland is, for the most part, based on the Spatial Analysis Project (SAP) for forest stewardship, a national targeting effort. The purpose of the SAP is to create a series of GIS data layers and tools for the state that represent various levels of potential benefit from, and suitability for, inclusion in the Stewardship Program as delivered by state forestry agencies and the U.S. Forest Service. Private land programs and GIS staff from the four states involved in the pilot SAP effort (Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts and Missouri), along with U.S. Forest Service program identified 12 factors which help identify the “Stewardship potential” of a given piece of land. The factors were differentiated into two groups: resource potential and resource threats.
The resource potential factors include:
- Riparian Zones
- Priority Watersheds
- Forest Patch Size
- Natural Heritage Data
- Public Drinking Water Supply Sources
- Private Forest Lands
- Proximity to Public Lands
- Topographic Slope
The resource threat factors include:
- Forest Health
- Development Level
- Wildfire Assessment
- Identify and recommend ways that planning, regulations, easements, tax incentives, funding programs, and other strategies will be used to ensure the protection of these important forest lands, slow forest loss and enhance needed stewardship.
- Expand efforts to link stormwater management and land use regulations with conservation of forests and riparian buffers.
- Work collaboratively with landowners, forest product industries, land trusts, watershed organizations,and other business partners, to create new partnerships, and develop innovative actions, programs, and incentives to support retention, expansion, and stewardship of forest lands of critical importance to water quality.
Forest Conservation Goal Setting Meetings
To address these issues, members of the DNR Forest Service organized a series of meetings composed of representatives from the DNR, Department of Planning, Department of the Environment, Department of Agriculture and other state agencies as well as Maryland Environmental Trust, The Nature Conservancy, The Chesapeake Bay Foundation, The Chesapeake Bay Program, the EPA, the US Forest Service, The University of Maryland, private citizens, and officials of various county governments.
These meetings took place on:
- Wednesday, December 13, 2006,C-1 Conference Room, Tawes State Office Building.
- Monday, January 29, 2007,C-1 Conference Room, Tawes State Office Building.
- Tuesday, February 20, 2007, Chesapeake Bay Foundation Conference Room, Annapolis.
- Wednesday, March 28, 2007, C-1 Conference Room, Tawes State Office Building.
- Monday, April 30, 2007, C-1 Conference Room, Tawes State Office Building.
The first meeting on December 13, 2006, provided a basis for developing the conservation goal. Steven W. Koehn, State Forester, provided a welcome and background on the forest conservation directive. He identified the need to build a simple core concept to guide the process of developing a coherent goal. “Keeping forestland in forest” was offered as a core concept.
Next, Dr. Anne Hairston-Strang, Forest Hydrologist, provided an overview of the Forest Conservation Directive, the elements of the directive, and initial State goals for inclusion in a collective Chesapeake Bay-wide forest conservation goal.
The second meeting on January 29, 2007, discussion involved the draft targeting strategies for conserving forests for water quality. Three models for identifying important forest lands were drafted, based on the recommendations received in the first meeting. The three models were for:
Considerations related to landscape context, watershed, and hydrogeomorphic regions. Models were developed by assigning 0-10 points for multiple equally weighted data layers, with values calculated in GIS for each pixel. Anne Hairston-Strang presented the data layers showing the geographic distribution for each layer of the protection model, the draft model result, and existing protected lands in Maryland. Eric Sprague conveyed an offer from the Chesapeake Bay Program to model the relative nutrient contributions of forest conservation and restoration strategies proposed.
- Protection long-term, such as for easement purchases on highest function acres,
- Management, for an extensive working forest landscape, and
- Restoration, to augment water quality protection through forests.
The third meeting was opened with introductions by attendees, followed by presentations and discussion on land conservation programs that have potential to protect forest land from development. Dr. Christine Conn, of DNR’s Watershed Services, led off with an overview of the variety of state and federal land conservation programs. Patrick Meckley, of DNR’s Forest Service, presented the status of the Forest Legacy Program in Maryland. Pamela Bush, of DNR’s Public Lands Policy and Planning, presented information on Program Open Space and Rural Legacy.
The fourth meeting focused on the potential for new ecosystem services markets. It also dealt with land conservation organization approaches and the MALPF program guidelines were presented and discussed. Approaches for urban areas were reviewed. Presentations are listed below.
"Dr. Jim George, Program Manager, Maryland Department of the Environment—Dr. George’s presentation
Potential for Forest Conservation and Restoration in Water Quality, highlighted Clean Water Act requirements that can build demand for trading, TMDLs for nutrient and sediment impairments in water bodies, Point and Non-point source nutrient caps, NPDES permits and stormwater permits (MS4), and Source Water Protection and Anti-degradation policy."
Dr. David Brownlee, Principal Environmental Planner, Calvert County Planning and Zoning—Dr. Brownlee’s presentation, Transferable Development Rights Programs (TDR and PDR)—The Calvert County Experience, explains how Calvert County’s land preservation initiatives work and the successes they have achieved.
William C. Price, Director, Northeast Regional Programs, The Pinchot Institute for Conservation—Mr. Price’s presentation, Carbon Sequestration, describes how carbon is currently traded, including Registries and Protocols, how current forests can contribute to carbon sequestration, carbon sequestration work in Maine, and ingredients and steps for Maryland.
James Remuzzi, Forestry for the Bay Coordinator, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay - Mr. Remuzzi’s presentation, explains the Forestry for the Bay program and the Bay Bank™, and how these two programs can help bring small landowners to markets and increase income potential, and through this, how forest conservation can be augmented.
Gary Allen, Executive Director, Center for Chesapeake Communities - Mr. Allen’s presentation, Trees and Air Quality Regulations, explains what SIP is, and critical steps for inclusion of tree planting into Maryland’s State Implementation Plan (SIP).
The Fifth Meeting will take place on April 30, 2007. Meeting summary will be posted here soon after.
Additional Regional Meetings were held in DNR’s four geographic regions of the state. These meetings were held to provide a forum for local planners and representatives of county governments to comment on the Conservation objectives. DNR staff also sought suggestions for changes and insight as to whether the model accurately portrays forest values for water quality in their jurisdiction. These meeting were held: April 2, 2007 at Allegany College in Cumberland; April 4, 2007 at the Regional Fire Training Center in La Plata; April 11, 2007 at the Oregon Ridge Lodge in Sykesville; and April 12, 2007 at the Airport Conference Room at the Cambridge Airport.
Goals and Benchmarks
Read the draft of the proposed goals for forest conservation and recommendations for reaching those goals, along with restoration objectives and mechanisms for obtaining those objectives.
Maryland mechanisms for forest conservation include
Rural Legacy, Program Open Space, MD Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation, MD Environmental Trust and local land trusts/donated easements, Forest Conservation Act long-term protection, Purchase of Development Rights/Transfer of Development Rights programs, Forest Legacy, continued enforcement of Forest Conservation Act, Critical Area Law, and local zoning and subdivision ordinances.
Forest retention through tax programs: Forest Conservation and Management Agreements, reforestation tax incentives/TAXMOD
Ag Certification Programs, Water Resource Protection Element in Comp Plans, Impervious Surface Tax (Green Fund), NPDES and MS4/stormwater permits.
Requests for Specific Input (Information we’re still lacking)
- GIS information on lands protected through local easements, TDR and PDR programs, or zoning protection of resource lands.
- Areas appropriate for future growth.
- Existing or desired commitments to conserve forest or other rural resource lands.
Please send comments or questions to Dr. Anne Hairston-Strang, Forest Hydrologist at firstname.lastname@example.org or 410-260-8509.