The main purpose of the Maryland Forest Conservation Act (Natural Resources Article Section 5-1601 through 5-1613) enacted in 1991 was to minimize the loss of Maryland's forest resources during land development by making the identification and protection of forests and other sensitive areas an integral part of the site planning process. Identification of priority areas prior to development makes their retention possible. Of primary interest are areas adjacent to streams or wetlands, those on steep or erodible soils or those within or adjacent to large contiguous blocks of forest or wildlife corridors.
Although the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Forest Service administers the FCA, it is implemented on a local level. Gaining approval of the required Forest Conservation Plan (development of more than one acre) may require long term protection of included priority areas or planting/replanting (afforestation or reforestation) a sensitive area off-site.
Any activity requiring an application for a subdivision, grading permit or sediment control permit on areas 40,000 square feet (approximately 1 acre) or greater is subject to the Forest Conservation Act and will require a Forest Conservation Plan prepared by a licensed forester, licensed landscape architect, or other qualified professional UNLESS you are subject to exemptions (determined by the local Forest Conservation Program Coordinator).
Town Forest Conservation Program Coordinator contact:
Zach Gulden, Town Planner