The Worcester County Forest Conservation Law was enacted under the Maryland Forest Conservation Act of 1991, requiring all county governments to adopt local forest conservation programs.
The purpose of the Forest Conservation Program is to preserve, protect, and establish forest areas in conjunction with certain land development activities.
With our area containing so many waterways between the Pocomoke River, Assawoman Bay and Atlantic Ocean, the numerous benefits of trees and forests are important locally and include:
- Preventing rapid soil erosion
- Filtering harsh chemicals and pollutants from the air and soil to provide safer drinking water and
- Cleaner streams, lakes, and bays
- Providing recreational areas
Activities that require an application for any public or private subdivision plan, site plan approval, or grading and sediment control permit on areas 40,000 square feet or greater must comply with the Forest Conservation Law (1 acre equals 43,560 square feet). Certain activities are exempt from the Forest Conservation law and a sampling includes: state highway construction activities, commercial logging and timber harvesting operations, subdivision for agricultural purposes only, activities conducted on a single lot where less than 20,000 square feet of forest is disturbed, plans/subdivisions approved prior to 7/1/91, boundary line adjustment providing no accompanying change in land use, and intrafamily transfers/subdivisions.
Any non-exempt activity that requires an application for major subdivision, site plan approval, or grading and sediment control permit on an area of land 40,000 square feet or greater must submit a Forest Stand Delineation (FSD) and a Forest Conservation Plan (FCP). In the case of a minor subdivision, a simplified FSD can be submitted.
Forest Stand Delineation's are drafted to show the existing forest cover and environmental features of a site planned for development. Once approved, the information in a FSD is used to prepare the FCP. The FCP is a detailed plan of the proposed project site that outlines the areas of forest conservation required and the proposed areas of forest retention, afforestation, and reforestation.