Federal CREP Funding Renewed for Stream Buffers on Farms; Many Existing Contracts Set to Expire

A Bay Journal article (2019-05-29) reported that the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) will reopen signups for the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) after an 8-month freeze. CREP, which has proven to be a key program in Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts, subsidizes farmers to replace cropland or marginal pastureland with native vegetation or forested stream buffers. In return for planting trees or other vegetation to enhance and protect water quality, CREP provides annual payments through 10-…

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GreenPrint Tool Helps Counties Value Open Space & Ecological Lands

A Maryland Planning Blog article (2019-05-29) highlighted the 1-year anniversary of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) GreenPrint/Parcel Evaluation Tool. The Tool helps counties and other users put a dollar-value on the conservation and environmental  benefits of open space, forests, wetlands, and other ecologically important lands. From the article: “The Parcel Evaluation Tool was created to reveal the relative importance of natural areas across the state that typically may not be considered when making…

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NACCHO Letter to Congress Highlights Climate Change Health Threats

In a letter sent to the House Subcommittee on Environment of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) highlighted health threats posed by climate change as well as the vital role local health departments play in mitigating those threats and challenges they face doing so. From NACCHO's letter to the subcommittee: Across the country, local health departments are tasked with addressing the many health risks…

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CBF: PA is Far Off Track With Bay Cleanup

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation's latest analysis criticizes state efforts on bay cleanup - with its sharpest barbs for Pennsylvania. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation recently released its latest "State of the Blueprint" report, evaluating progress toward Bay cleanup goals throughout the multi-state watershed. In a familiar refrain, efforts from Pennsylvania, particularly the Susquehanna River watershed that empties into the northern Chesapeake Bay, come under fire. From their report: Maryland is on track to meet its overall nutrient…

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ELBC Highlights Latest Environmental Business Trends

The Maryland Environmental Service has announced a revised list of speakers and topics for the 2019 Environmental Business Leadership Conference (EBLC). Speakers include members from the administration of Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, county officials, academics, and representatives from private businesses. EBLC can be educational to not only private sector environmental businesses, but also to the government, nonprofit, and academic sectors. From the MES webpage on EBLC: At the 2019 EBLC, you’ll build your knowledge about…

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Chesapeake Bay 2018 Report Card: Watershed’s Health Declines Due to Heavy Rainfall

A Bay Journal article (2019-05-22) reported that in its recently released 2018 report card, the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES) gave the Chesapeake Bay a lower health score than in 2017. The drop from 54% to 46% was primarily due to the region's extremely level of rainfall. Despite the eight-percentage point drop, the Bay still maintained an overall health grade of "C." The article indicated that the Bay received its lowest grade from the…

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MACo Submits Comments on “A Better Maryland”

MACo offered both praise and constructive criticism in its comments on the draft of the new state development plan, A Better Maryland. State law has required the Maryland Department of Planning (MDP) to develop a statewide development plan for several decades. The Administration of Governor Martin O'Malley created the first plan, called PlanMaryland. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan rescinded PlanMaryland and ordered the drafting of a new plan via Executive Order in 2017. MDP developed the new plan…

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Counties Converse on Land Conservation at MET Conference

County elected officials and professional staff turned out to discussed the importance of land conservation at an annual conference hosted by the Maryland Environmental Trust. The Maryland Land Conservation Conference & Symposium focused on land preservation from agricultural, environmental, historical, and recreational perspectives. The second day of the Conference focused entirely on the role of counties in land preservation efforts. The Conference was held on May 16 and 17 at the Maritime Conference Center in Linthincum…

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Ruppersberger, US House Committee Restore Bay Cleanup Funding

The US House Committee on Appropriations, with hearty efforts by Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (MD 2), has restored funding to Chesapeake bay cleanup efforts. Congressional budgets are very unlike those at the Maryland state level, where the Congress (in particular the House of Representatives) has great latitude to craft its own spending plans, regardless of the initial proposals from the President. In that spirit, the House Appropriations Committee this week has approved an Ebergy and…

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