Header Art - Land Acquisition and Planning

DNR's Land Conservation

Data and Monitoring

The Importance of Data:

DNR’s land acquisition, land planning and land management functions are all dependent on maintaining accurate, detailed and current information about properties that DNR owns or is working to conserve. DNR collects an enormous range of data for use in various programs. Data that is collected and analyzed for decision making purposes by natural resource professionals includes: onsite ecological  and environmental features, habitat identification and delineation, water resources, tributary strengths and weaknesses, endangered species, soils and strata, wildlife populations, tree cover, and many others attributes. 

Management and maintenance of land parcel data is critical to the work of the Land Acquisition and Planning Unit staff.  As data resources and management improve, so can the decisions for wise use and conservation of our natural resources made by staff and administrators. Access to up-to-date parcel data also helps facilitate the Governor’s goal of making State government more transparent.

Recently DNR’s Information Technology Services team developed a modern database product for Program Open Space Stateside land conservation that allows staff to enter parcel information from anywhere via a Web interface. The data is digitally updated on the main servers in the DNR Headquarters building in Annapolis and is readily shared for joint reviews by other agencies.

Stewardship and Monitoring:

The State of Maryland has made significant investments toward the preservation of Maryland’s best remaining landscapes, natural and critical areas throughout the State.  It is the responsibility of the DNR to protect the State’s fiduciary investment in land conservation for the citizens of Maryland.

When the State holds full title to the land, as in a State Park or Forest, land managers within DNR protect its use and monitor it for encroachment. In cases where DNR doesn’t own all the rights to a particular parcel of land, but has paid to protect certain aspects of a site by purchasing a portion of the rights, encroachment and change of use is less likely to be discovered. Therefore, periodic monitoring of conserved properties is critical

Conservation Easements are tracked and monitored on a regular basis so that the intended conservation purposes are continued over time and through subsequent land owners.  Easement terms and conditions are reviewed for compliance and to ensure that best conservation practices are being upheld.   Easement Monitoring is a high priority of the DNR.  LAP personnel have been charged with additional duties to assure the conservation efforts that have been done stay done and that our valuable natural resources, rural and open space remain protected and preserved for future generations.

Interestingly, DNR is in the process of developing a computer map-based Easement Monitoring system that will enable land managers to visually pre-screen from the office any of the over 500,000 acres of land that DNR owns or that has easements. This office-based review will allow managers to quickly and efficiently examine land using computerized aerial maps and other pertinent data. Managers and field staff can then prioritize actual field visits based on most urgent need. This system when complete will be used by other agencies as well.