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Green Infrastructure Network

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

Hi, I’m Howard and I’m here to provide you with green tips. Look for me throughout the site and check out my cool interactive games at the Kids Zone.