HoCo Seeking Applicants for New Landmark Land Preservation Program

November 2022

Howard County Executive Calvin Ball and the Howard County Conservancy announced the process for selecting properties for the first-in-state program to permanently preserve environmentally sensitive properties.

The Purchased Conversation Easement pilot program provides financial incentives to non-profit property owners to protect sensitive areas. The program is modeled after the County’s Agricultural Land Preservation Program which has protected nearly 23,000 acres of farmland over the last 40 years.

County Executive Ball has committed $2 million towards the new program, which will be managed by the Conservancy and overseen by the County’s Department of Planning and Zoning (DPZ). The Conservancy will monitor the easement properties for compliance with environmental protection goals.

“This transformational program continues our commitment to preservation and will protect our most significant environmental resources and help ensure the environmental health of the county for our future,” said Ball.

The program specifically targets non-profit properties that support Howard County’s Green Infrastructure Network or feature considerable wetlands, streams or forest cover. Private schools, cemeteries, religious facilities and other non-profits are encouraged to apply. Properties will be ranked on the value of their environmental resources, their proximity to existing protected land and their degree of public access.

This program shows County Executive Ball’s continued focus on preserving land that provides clear agricultural, environmental and community benefits. Local non-profits can formally express interest in the program here.