Conservation News: Riparian Forest Buffers and Rural Legacy Grants

By Dave Keane

The Frederick County Council passed Bill # 20-14 Waterbody-Buffer Requirements on September 15, 2020. This new legislation will increase the buffer width from 150 feet to 175 feet on each side of a waterbody for a parcel, lot, or tract of land submitted for subdivision or re-subdivision. Here are a few benefits of riparian forest buffers:

  • Reduces stream bank erosion.
  • Helps to reduce flooding.
  • Provides habitat to a vast array of wildlife to include aquatic and terrestrial (fish, ducks, squirrels).
  • Regulates water temperatures and oxygen levels.
  • Recreational benefits include fishing, hunting, trapping, and birding.
  • Human health benefits include Lower blood pressure, lower stress levels, improved moods.

Follow this link to a “classic” video explaining the benefits and importance of riparian forest buffers.

In other news, the Maryland Department of Natural Resource has approved nearly $20M in Rural Legacy Program Grants.

The Board of Public Works unanimously approved the Rural Legacy Program grants for conservation easements and expansion in 17 Maryland counties. Funding from these grants will permanently protect more than 4,500 acres of working farms, forests, marshes, open space, shorelines, and wetlands — plus cultural and historical resources — throughout the state.

The recommendations also include five Rural Legacy Area expansions, which provide the opportunity to protect more than 43,897 additional acres. Included in that amount is 30,591 acres that essentially doubles the size of the Zekiah Rural Legacy Area in Charles County, and 12,413 acres in Washington County that includes properties significant to Maryland history and to the viewshed from the C&O Canal and the Appalachian Trail.
(Source: Maryland Department of Natural Resources website, 10/21/2020)