Maryland’s Forest Conservation Act is supposed to protect forests from over-development, but the Forest Conservation Act needs dramatic improvement. The law has slowed forest clearance during some development but in areas where development pressure is intense and forests are considerable, builders have cut down more than 40 percent of the forests, on average. Few, if any, acres are replanted.
- Identify and protect Maryland’s best forests by providing a clear definition of ecologically important areas that should be considered a priority for retention and protections;
- Provide transparent and consistent criteria to be considered and applied by local governments when a developer proposes to clear priority forests;
- Require replacement of priority forests that are allowed to be cleared on a one-toone basis where an acre of forest replanting will be required when an acre of priority forest is removed;
- Require the review and planning for important natural resource protection to come earlier in the development review process to allow for site design improvement and reduced impacts on healthy forests;
- Authorize and encourage partnerships between state, local and nonprofit organizations engaged in tree-planting efforts to help use the fees paid by developers in lieu of the developer’s replanting requirements; and,
- Require a long-overdue update of the 1997 state guidance document that guides replanting efforts.
The full State Senate is expected to vote on the bill on Monday, March 26. And we expect the vote will be close. The legislation will strengthen our state’s over quarter-century-old Forest Conservation Act in a carefully targeted and balanced manner to better protect our most ecologically-valuable forests.District 32: Senator DeGrange (410) 841-3593, (301) 858-3593
District 37: Senator Eckardt (410) 841-3590, (301) 858-3590
District 17: Senator Kagan (410) 841-3134, (301) 858-3134
District 12: Senator Kasemeyer (410) 841-3653, (301) 858-3653
District 25: Senator Currie (410) 841-3127
District 8: Senator Klausmeier (410) 841-3620, (301) 858-3620
District 28: Senator Middleton (410) 841-3616, (301) 858-3616
District 23: Senator Peters (410) 841-3631, (301) 858-3631