How Do We Measure Success?
Until the last decade or so, success in land preservation was measured almost solely by the number of acres preserved, sometimes in comparison to the number of acres developed outside of growth areas. Eventually it became clear that there would never be enough money to preserve land just by buying it or acquiring easements. It also became clear that excessive development was fragmenting agricultural and natural resource land, threatening the viability of farming in the first instance and eliminating vital environmental benefits in the latter. As a result, the land preservation programs started to pay attention to the amount of development occurring in preservation areas, the ability to create large, contiguous blocks of preserved land, and the best ways to maximize the return on investment of taxpayer dollars in preservation.
MALPF succeeded in getting legislation passed to limit the number of lots that could be subdivided for owners and children. Rural Legacy, when deciding on how to award its funds, now considers the land use tools at work in Rural Legacy areas and the ability of local governments to limited development there. The State Agricultural Certification Program was recently updated to require the designation of Priority Preservation Areas in which development must be limited. POS now evaluates the effect of development and potential development in places where it is considering the acquisition of land. GreenPrint and AgPrint are both designed to analyze the land use context for unpreserved land in an attempt to target taxpayer dollars where agricultural and natural resource land are least disturbed by existing or potential development.
What is AgPrint’s Significance to Bay Stat?
Forests provide incomparable benefits to air and water quality by absorbing carbon dioxide and other pollutants, filtering and storing water, preventing erosion, etc. Agriculture does add nitrogen, pesticide, and other chemicals to the Bay, but the effects of development—contaminated stormwater from roads and parking lots, erosion, effluent from septic systems—are worse. In addition, every farm and wooded parcel that sells an easement is required to have a management plan in place
- New Regulations to Define “Local” Foods Published in the Maryland Register MDA 12.17.10
- Statement from Gov. O'Malley on Federal Crop Disaster Designation MDA 11.8.10
- Agriculture Secretary Visits Carroll County Schools to Present Farm-to-School Youth Video Contest Awards MDA 10.27.10
- New Phosphorus-based Rules Allow for Manure Application to Soybeans MDA 10.21.10
- State Department of Agriculture Honors Employees with Long Service Awards MDA 10.5.10