Maryland Land Preservation Programs:

Updates and Upcoming Deadlines

Planning in Progress

by Daniel Rosen, AICP, Resource Conservation Planner, and Kristen E. Humphrey, MLA, Local Assistance and Training Planner 

Despite the on-going constraints posed by COVID-19 pandemic, Maryland Department of Planning (Planning) staff continue to work diligently (albeit remotely), and land preservation efforts are moving forward as scheduled. Here are updates on two of Planning’s primary initiatives: 

Maryland Protected Lands Dashboard 

After the fiscal year ended on June 30, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) sent Planning up-to-date data for three state land preservation easement programs—the Maryland Environmental Trust (MET), Program Open Space (POS) Stateside Easements, and the Rural Legacy program—and easements acquired through the federal Rural Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP). DNR also reported the acreage of land purchased by Maryland’s counties for parks and recreation through DNR’s POS Local program. Planning has used the data to update its Maryland Protected Lands Dashboard.   

Screenshot showing the home screen for the Maryland Protected Lands Dashboard with updates from August 14, 2020. 

Planning coordinates with DNR to update the dashboard quarterly. Also, each fall, Planning reaches out to county land preservation leads to obtain updated tabular and GIS data regarding county programs involving the purchase or transfer of development rights. The data obtained from the county leads are incorporated into the last quarterly update of the year.  

Agricultural Land Preservation 

The Certification of Local Agricultural Preservation Programs (CLAPP), administered by Planning and the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation (MALPF), now has revised program regulations both to implement newer legislation (namely HB620, passed in 2018), and to streamline reporting and other requirements.  

One regulatory change requires that counties must either meet the deadline or must request a deadline extension for the annual certification report. If these conditions are not met, then a recertification request must be submitted to sustain certification past the end of the fiscal year.  

Annual certification reports are due on October 1 from the following counties:  Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Cecil, Frederick, Harford, Kent, Montgomery, Prince George’s, Queen Anne’s, St. Mary’s, Talbot, Washington, and Worcester. These interim reports provide information and data on acreage preserved, state and county dollars allocated and spent on local agricultural land preservation, etc. If needed, deadline extension requests must be received by Planning or MALP by October 1. Counties wishing to request a deadline extension can fill out the following form.

Two counties, Calvert and Caroline, are scheduled to submit applications for recertification, which requires a program evaluation and program development strategy in addition to data on finances and easement acquisition. 

Finally, to streamline the CLAPP program further, Planning created a report template that certified counties can use for their annual reports and recertification applications.  

Counties wishing to request a deadline extension, may click here to to fill out an extension form. For information on the Maryland Protected Lands Dashboard, contact Jason Dubow, Manager, Resource Conservation & Management or Deborah Sward, Assistant Manager, Geospatial Data & Analysis; for information on Agricultural Land Preservation, contact Daniel Rosen, Resource Conservation Planner at 

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