Howard Launches New Land Conservation Program

Howard County recently launched a new first in the state land conservation program. 

Recently Howard County Executive Calvin Ball announced a new land conservation program with the Howard County Conservancy that is the first of its kind in the state of Maryland. Howard County has committed $2 million towards the Purchased Conservation Easement pilot program, which will specifically target non-profit property owners and provide financial incentives to preserve environmentally significant properties permanently.

According to the press release: 

We will always look for bold solutions, backed by science, to combat climate change and preserve Howard County’s legacy for future generations. We now have a new tool to identify sensitive land and preserve it for the future. This program should become a national model to assist the non-profit community in making the best decisions for our shared future.

Calvin Ball, Howard County Executive

The program is modeled after the county’s Agricultural Preservation Program, which has been the driving force in preserving nearly 23,000 acres of farmland over the past 40 years. Since restarting the program in 2021, Howard County has secured the preservation of the 128-acre Dickey Farm. Since restarting the program, there are seven properties, including Dickey Farm, now in the Agricultural Preservation Program or in the acquisition pipeline, totaling over 300 acres.

County Executive Ball has been focused on preserving land that provides clear agricultural, environmental, and community benefits. In 2020, the county purchased the Savage Remainder Property, removing 35 units of proposed residential development and preserving sensitive ecological land for recreation and open space. Last month, County Executive Ball signed a purchase agreement to acquire the nearly 21-acre Camp Ilchester property, preventing the loss of an environmental treasure and stopping another 105 units of potential residential development.

The $2 million commitment to the Purchased Conservation Easement program was approved by the County Council in May.

“Leading the state in land conservation since 1990, I am grateful for County Executive Ball’s commitment to Conservation Easements,” said Howard County Council Chair Opel Jones. “This robust pilot program would evaluate property in perpetuity and identify terms and agreements between the Conservancy and the property owner.”

Read the full press release.