Smart growth is vital to achieving sustainability in our living environs. Through concentrating development where supporting infrastructure exists, smart growth uses fewer land resources and has less impact on the environment. In contrast, development outside of established population centers clears and paves over more farmland and forests per person, requires septic systems – which pollute groundwater more than sewage treatment plants – and requires costly transportation, schools and other public services.
Sound land use planning considers the environmental effects of wastewater and stormwater runoff on rivers, streams and estuaries, ensures the preservation of farms and forest land, protects communities from environmental impacts, seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, energy use and air pollution, and provide for the minimization and proper handling of solid wastes.
MDP’s environmental planning work supports land preservation and water resource protection and restoration efforts and works with other agencies to slow and prepare for climate change. Staff use analytic tools including land use and land cover data, development capacity analyses and modeling to support environmental protection at the state and local levels.
Water Resources Planning
MDP works with counties and municipalities on water resources planning, offering planning guidance, and data and analysis to local governments to ensure that water and sewer plans and comprehensive plan water resource elements efficiently manage water, wastewater and stormwater. Learn more
The Chesapeake Bay Program is a multi-state, regional partnership working to restore the Bay since 1983. Partners include the states of Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia, the District of Columbia, the Chesapeake Bay Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency and citizen advisory groups. MDP is one of Maryland’s participating agencies, providing staff support, policy advocacy, and data and analysis to ensure regional and state policies support smart growth and reflect MDP’s land use, parcel and demographic data and forecasts. Learn more
Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation
Climate change will affect Maryland in a variety of ways, from increased risk for extreme events such as drought, storms and flooding to increased erosion and inundation of low-lying areas along the state’s shoreline and coast. Even as the state moves forward to reduce greenhouse gases, climate impacts will be felt. Therefore, adaptation strategies, together with mitigation, are necessary to address climate change. Learn more
One of Maryland’s most significant land preservation programs, Program Open Space, was enacted into law in 1969. Since then, the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation, Rural Legacy, Maryland Environmental Trust and county purchase/transfer of development rights programs have helped protect agricultural and resource lands. Learn more
Solid Waste Management
Solid waste management impacts every aspect of daily life and public infrastructure. From collections to processing the waste, every community and locale is impacted by the means these operations are undertaken – publically and privately. Today, Maryland is investigating a Zero Waste Strategy to maximize public health, safety and welfare efforts while minimizing land use impacts. Learn more