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Green Infrastructure Network


Howard County’s Green Infra­struc­ture Net­work maps the most eco­log­i­cally valu­able forests, wet­lands, mead­ows, water­ways, and other nat­ural areas as well as the lands that con­nect these parcels together. Green Infra­struc­ture helps sup­port native plant and ani­mal species, as well as help­ing human pop­u­la­tions by clean­ing air and water resources, main­tain­ing nat­ural eco­log­i­cal processes, and con­tribut­ing to every­day qual­ity of life.

View the Green Infra­struc­ture Inter­ac­tive Map: Click Here


Ecosys­tem Ser­vices:
The ser­vices pro­vided to humans by nature such as flood mit­i­ga­tion, pol­li­na­tion, aes­thet­ics, and pest con­trol have eco­nomic ben­e­fits to our soci­ety as well. The nat­ural processes that cre­ate these ben­e­fits are known as Ecosys­tem Ser­vices. Six of these ecosys­tem ser­vices, though there are many more, are shown below.


Hubs and Cor­ri­dors
Typ­i­cally, the basic build­ing blocks of a green infra­struc­ture net­work are hubs and cor­ri­dors.  Hubs are eco­log­i­cally sig­nif­i­cant nat­ural areas that pro­vide habi­tat for plant and ani­mal life. They may include large pro­tected areas, such as state and regional parks that are man­aged for nat­ural and recre­ational val­ues; com­mu­nity parks and nat­ural areas where nat­ural fea­tures and eco­log­i­cal processes are pro­tected and/or restored; and pri­vate wet­lands and forests that remain in a pre­dom­i­nantly open and unde­vel­oped state. Large con­tigu­ous blocks of inte­rior for­est (for­est at least 300 feet from the for­est edge) are an essen­tial com­po­nent of the net­work.  Cor­ri­dors are the lin­ear fea­tures that tie hubs together and they may include river and stream val­ley cor­ri­dors and forested upland cor­ri­dors. A small sec­tion of the net­work is shown below to give an idea of how hubs and cor­ri­dors fit together.


Howard County’s Green Infra­struc­ture Net­work Plan
Howard County’s Green Infra­struc­ture Net­work Plan (GI Plan) refines and expands on Maryland’s Green Infra­struc­ture net­work to include areas of coun­ty­wide eco­log­i­cal sig­nif­i­cance. The GI Plan will enable plan­ners to con­sider impor­tant nat­ural resources when prepar­ing the Gen­eral Plan, trans­porta­tion plans, water­shed plans and com­mu­nity plans; mak­ing deci­sions about zon­ing and devel­op­ment pro­pos­als; acquir­ing land for parks and pub­lic facil­i­ties; and obtain­ing agri­cul­tural, envi­ron­men­tal and other land preser­va­tion easements.

The Exec­u­tive Sum­mary from the Green Infra­struc­ture Net­work Plan is avail­able HERE. The full report is avail­able HERE on the Depart­ment of Plan­ning and Zon­ing web page.

More infor­ma­tion about the map­ping cri­te­ria for the hubs and cor­ri­dors in the Green Infra­struc­ture Net­work is avail­able in this hand­out:
Green Infra­struc­ture Net­work Map­ping Criteria

The GI Plan also presents poten­tial tools to pro­tect and enhance the net­work. More infor­ma­tion about these tools is avail­able in this hand­out:
What Does the GI Net­work Mean to You?

How can I help?

Whether you live near the Green Infra­struc­ture Net­work or not you can pro­vide ben­e­fits to the net­work by pro­mot­ing over­all plant and wildlife ben­e­fits. You can work alone in this endeavor or you can work along­side one of many groups focused on improv­ing Howard County’s envi­ron­ment. Below is a pic­ture show­ing some of the ways you can ben­e­fit the envi­ron­ment on your own prop­erty. If you’d like to learn about orga­ni­za­tions and vol­un­teer groups you can work with con­tact Bill Mahoney @ wmahoney@howardcountymd.gov or 410−313−3833.


Click HERE for a PDF ver­sion of the County-wide Green Infra­struc­ture Net­work map. Click HERE for a PDF ver­sion of the County-wide Green Infra­struc­ture Net­work with Pro­tected Land map.

Con­tact Us

Please direct ques­tions and com­ments to: SOverstreet@howardcountymd.gov

or call Susan Over­street, Depart­ment of Plan­ning and Zon­ing: 410−313−4345

More Infor­ma­tion

Mary­land Green Infra­struc­ture
The Mary­land Depart­ment of Nat­ural Resources devel­oped a Statewide Green Infra­struc­ture Plan. In this sys­tem, Howard County hubs include the Patux­ent River and Pat­ap­sco State Parks, the Mid­dle Patux­ent Envi­ron­men­tal Area, David Force Park and the Gor­man Nat­ural Resource Area. Howard County cor­ri­dors include major stream val­leys and poten­tial over­land con­nect­ing routes.

Mary­land Green­print
Maryland’s Green­print is a pro­gram to iden­tify Maryland’s most eco­log­i­cally sig­nif­i­cant lands and to tar­get them for preservation

The Con­ser­va­tion Fund
The Con­ser­va­tion Fund: Green Infra­struc­ture home page
Green Infra­struc­ture: Smart Con­ser­va­tion for the 21st Century

Local Green Infra­struc­ture Plans
Anne Arun­del County Green­ways Mas­ter Plan
Prince George’s County Green Infra­struc­ture Func­tional Mas­ter Plan, 2005

Under­stand­ing Ecosys­tem Services

Ecosys­tem Ser­vices in Cecil County’s Green Infra­struc­ture
Ecosys­tem Ser­vices in Charles County

Mary­land Depart­ment of Nat­ural Resources Ecosys­tem Ser­vices Page

Dauphin County Return on Envi­ron­ment Study
Dauphin County Return on Envi­ron­ment Summary

Green Tip

Drive efficiently.At 45mph and above, save gas by rolling your windows up