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2017


The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission The Prince George’s County Planning Department 14741 Governor Oden Bowie Drive Upper Marlboro, MD 20772 www.pgplanning.org

Resource Conservation Plan | i


ABSTRACT DATE:

March 2017

TITLE: Approved Prince George’s County Resource Conservation Plan: A Countywide Functional Master Plan AUTHOR:

The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission

SUBJECT:

Resource Conservation Plan, A Functional Master Plan for Prince George’s County

SOURCE OF COPIES:

The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission 14741 Governor Oden Bowie Drive Upper Marlboro, Maryland 20772

SERIES NUMBER:

970172405

NUMBER OF PAGES:

144

This countywide functional master plan combines the related elements of green infrastructure planning and rural and agricultural conservation into one functional master plan in order to streamline the process, meet state requirements for planning elements, and more efficiently update existing plans and maps. The Resource Conservation Plan was prepared in response to recommendations in the County’s general land use plan, Plan Prince George’s 2035 Approved General Plan (Plan 2035). Developed with the active participation of the community, including property owners, developers, residents, and elected officials, this document contains goals, measurable objectives, policies, and strategies pertaining to green infrastructure planning, agricultural and forestry conservation, and rural character conservation.

ii | The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission


THE MARYLAND-NATIONAL CAPITAL PARK AND PLANNING COMMISSION Elizabeth M. Hewlett, Chairman Casey Anderson, Vice Chairman

Officers Patricia Colihan Barney, Executive Director Joseph Zimmerman, Secretary-Treasurer Adrian R. Gardner, General Counsel The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission is a bicounty agency, created by the General Assembly of Maryland in 1927. The Commission’s geographic authority extends to the great majority of Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties: the Maryland-Washington Regional District (M-NCPPC planning jurisdiction) comprises 1,001 square miles, while the Metropolitan District (parks) comprises 919 square miles, in the two counties. The Commission has three major functions: • The preparation, adoption, and, from time to time, amendment or extension of the General Plan for the physical development of the Maryland Washington Regional District; • The acquisition, development, operation, and maintenance of a public park system; and • In Prince George’s County only, the operation of the entire county public recreation program. The Commission operates in each county through a Planning Board appointed by and responsible to the county government. All local plans, recommendations on zoning amendments, administration of subdivision regulations, and general administration of parks are responsibilities of the Planning Boards. The Prince George’s County Department of Planning (M-NCPPC): • Our mission is: To promote economic vitality, environmental sustainability, design excellence, and quality development in Prince George’s County. • Our vision: Thriving communities—now and into the future. Prince George’s County Planning Board

Montgomery County Planning Board

Elizabeth M. Hewlett, Esq., Chairman Dorothy F. Bailey, Vice Chairman William M. Doerner Manuel R. Geraldo A. Shuanise Washington

Casey Anderson, Chairman Marye Wells-Harley, Vice Chairman Gerald R. Cichy Norman Dreyfuss Natali Fani-Gonzalez

Resource Conservation Plan | iii


PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY Rushern L. Baker, III, County Executive

County Council The County Council has three main responsibilities in the planning process: (1) setting policy; (2) plan approval; and (3) plan implementation. Applicable policies are incorporated into area plans, functional plans, and the general plan. The Council, after holding a hearing on the plan adopted by the Planning Board, may approve the plan as adopted, approve the plan with amendments based on the public record, or disapprove the plan and return it to the Planning Board for revision. Implementation is primarily through adoption of the annual Capital Improvement Program, the annual budget, the water and sewer plan, and adoption of zoning map amendments.

Council Members Mary A. Lehman, District One Deni Taveras, District Two Dannielle M. Glaros, District Three, Council Vice Chairwoman Todd M. Turner, District Four Andrea C. Harrison, District Five Derrick Leon Davis, District Six, Council Chairman Karen R. Toles, District Seven Obie Patterson, District Eight Mel Franklin, District Nine

Clerk of the Council Redis C. Floyd

iv | The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission


TABLE OF CONTENTS Foreword . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . vii

Section I Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Background . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Plan Summaries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Guidance from Plan 2035 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9

Section II Green Infrastructure Plan: A Countywide Functional Master Plan . . . . . 15 Our Vision for the Future . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Background . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Analysis of 2005 Green Infrastructure Plan Implementation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Conservation of Green Infrastructure . . . . . . . 20 Summary of Community Input . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Plan Goals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Measurable Objectives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Policy Areas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Preserving, Enhancing, and Restoring a Green Infrastructure Network . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Improving Surface and Ground Water Quality . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Protecting Potable Water Sources . . . . . . . . . . 38 Preserving, Enhancing and Restoring Canopy Coverage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 Greening the Built Environment . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 Stewardship, Outreach, and Education . . . . . . 48 Implementation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49 Appendices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60 Appendix A: Documents Supporting the Green Infrastructure Plan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60 Appendix B: Green Infrastructure Network Mapping Methodology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61

Section III Agriculture Conservation Plan: A Countywide Functional Master Plan . . . . 65 Our Vision for the Future . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67 Background . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69 Analysis of 2012 Priority Preservation Area Plan Strategy Implementation . . . . . . . . . 70 Conservation of Agriculture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71 Summary of Community Input . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71 State Planning Mandates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72 Plan Goals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73 Measurable Objectives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74 Policy Areas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78 Conserving Agricultural and Forested Lands . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78 Promoting an Agriculturally Based Economy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87 Supporting Urban Agriculture . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88 Implementation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89 Appendices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94 Appendix A: Documents Supporting the Agriculture Conservation Plan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94 Appendix B: Methodology for Determining the Priority Preservation Area in Prince George’s County . . . . . . . . . . . . 97

Section IV Rural Character Conservation Plan: A Countywide Functional Master Plan . . . 101 Our Vision for the Future . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103 Background . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .105 Conservation of Rural Character . . . . . . . . . . 106 Summary of Community Input . . . . . . . . . . . . 107 Plan Goals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 108 Measurable Objectives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 108 Policy Areas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 112 Preserving Rural Character . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 112

Resource Conservation Plan | v


Conserving the Anacostia Trails Heritage Area (ATHA) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 118 Implementation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 121 Appendix . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 124 Planning Efforts and Documents Supporting the Rural Character Conservation Plan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 124

Acknowledgements . . . . Inside back cover

MAPS 1. 2017 Countywide Green Infrastructure Network . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 2. Close-up of Green Infrastructure Network . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 3. Special Conservation Areas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 4. Watershed Condition Ratings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 5. Technical Corrections to the Priority Preservation Area for Prince George’s County . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82 6. 2017 Priority Preservation Area for Prince George’s County . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83 7. Technical Corrections to the Sustainable Growth and Agricultural Preservation Act Map for Prince George’s County . . . . . . . . 84 8. Technical Corrections to the Sustainable Growth and Agricultural Preservation Act Map for Prince George’s County (Continued) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85 9. 2017 Sustainable Growth and Agricultural Preservation Act Map . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86 10. Special Roadways . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 114 11. Mount Vernon Viewshed (Area of Primary Concern) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 117 12. 2017 Anacostia Trails Heritage Area . . . . . . . . 120

TABLES 1. 2005 Green Infrastructure Plan Strategy Implementation Status . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 2. Possible Solutions to Climate Change Threats . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 3. Countywide Acres Preserved Through Land Conservation Programs and Regulations . . . . 75 4. Priority Preservation Area Target Acreage Protection Goal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76 5. Studies that Contributed to Recommendations in the 2017 Rural Character Conservation Plan . . . . . . . . . 105 6. Miles of Special Roadways . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 116 7. ATHA Boundaries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 119

FIGURES 1. The Intersections and Contributions of the Three Plan Elements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 2. Elements Included in the Definition of Green Infrastructure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 3. Definition of Conservation in the Green Infrastructure Plan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 4. Existing and Possible Forest and Tree Canopy Coverage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 5. Watershed Ratings as Reported in the 2005 Green Infrastructure Plan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 6. Forest and Tree Canopy Defined . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 7. Definition of Conservation in the 2017 Agriculture Conservation Plan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71 8. Definition of Conservation in the Rural Character Conservation Plan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106

vi | The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission


FOREWORD The Prince George’s County Planning Board of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission is pleased to make available the Approved Prince George’s County Resource Conservation Plan: A Countywide Functional Master Plan (Resource Conservation Plan or RCP). This plan combines the related elements of green infrastructure planning and rural and agricultural conservation into one functional master plan to streamline the plan preparation process, meet state requirements for planning elements, and more efficiently update existing plans and maps. The Resource Conservation Plan was prepared in response to recommendations in the County’s general land use plan, Plan Prince George’s 2035 Approved General Plan (Plan 2035), and supports the plan’s desired development pattern. It contains three functional master plans: • The Green Infrastructure Plan that updates the 2005 Approved Countywide Green Infrastructure Plan. • The Agriculture Conservation Plan that updates and replaces the 2012 Adopted and Approved Priority Preservation Area Functional Master Plan (PPA) and expands to include policies and strategies that apply countywide. • The Rural Character Conservation Plan that brings forward the recommendations of multiple studies and planning efforts to provide guidance for rural character conservation and viewshed protections. The Resource Conservation Plan is the culmination of several years of work by community members, the business community, staff from County agencies and commissions, and elected and appointed officials to green our County, to provide better access to healthy food, and to preserve our cultural heritage. Numerous studies and previous planning projects support the contents of the RCP and contribute to the platform of sustainability needed to implement the vision of Plan 2035. Community input for the RCP was gathered through a variety of methods including five community input sessions, a robust website, and direct outreach to community groups and organizations. Input received during the development of Plan 2035 also contributed to the plan recommendations. The RCP supports the core principles of sustainability established in Plan 2035. The plan addresses the social, economic, and environmental benefits of plan implementation through the various strategies proposed in each of the three plans. The Green Infrastructure Plan expands the definition of “green infrastructure” to include green roofs, green buildings, and other methods for greening the built environment. The Agriculture Conservation Plan builds on the previous implementation success of the PPA and adds urban agriculture to the types of agriculture and forestry enterprises that the County supports. The Rural Character Conservation Plan brings together multiple studies and previous planning efforts into one plan the purpose of which is to provide guidance for the conservation of irreplaceable viewsheds and rural character elements. The Planning Board greatly appreciates the contributions and active involvement of the community and stakeholders in this countywide planning effort. We encourage your continued involvement in this and other countywide planning and development initiatives. We invite you to visit www.pgplanning.org to learn how you can continue to impact your communities in positive ways.

Elizabeth Hewlett Chairman Prince George’s County Planning Board Resource Conservation Plan | vii


Section I Overview


SECTION I

BACKGROUND The Resource Conservation Plan (RCP) is a countywide functional master plan that combines the related elements of green infrastructure planning and rural and agricultural conservation into one functional master plan in order to streamline the process, meet state requirements for planning elements, and more efficiently update existing plans and maps. The plan is being prepared in response to recommendations in the County’s general land use plan, Plan Prince George’s 2035 Approved General Plan (Plan 2035). The desired development pattern described in Plan 2035 seeks to focus new development in areas where substantial public infrastructure already exists, such as at our 15 Metro stations. Plan 2035 directs development to land where infrastructure investments in roads, schools, and public services have already been made. This type of “smart growth” reduces impacts on natural resources. The desired development pattern of Plan 2035 also contributes to the ability to conserve our common heritage and elements of the landscape that are irreplaceable through concentrating growth and reducing sprawl. There are three functional master plans contained within this document. They are separate functional plans for the purpose of amendments—their policies, strategies, and pages are numbered sequentially within each plan. Section I: Overview serves as the outer framework for the three plans and contains sections that are required for each plan, reducing redundancy. A Technical Summary that contains all of the research reports, studies, and analysis papers completed for the preparation of the RCP has been prepared and is available on the Prince George’s County Planning Department’s website. The RCP, and the three plans it contains, has an implementation horizon of 20 years; however, an evaluation of the progress toward meeting the strategies in each plan is recommended to occur at least every 5 years, unless required by law to be prepared using a different timeframe. Each plan recommends that an action plan be prepared to ensure implementation of the proposed strategies. An extensive community input process was conducted during the plan’s preparation. Between January and April of 2016, three community input sessions, one open forum, and one municipal forum were held. The discussions were robust and the community was engaged. A project email address and web page were maintained throughout plan preparation and public engagement. A report on the public input received can be found in the Technical Summary. County agencies and commissions were also engaged with each other and with the Planning Department during the plan preparation stage. Their input, the extensive public input received during this process, and the public input process of the recently completed Plan 2035, have provided necessary insight into the community’s needs and desires for the preparation of the three functional master plans contained within the RCP. The purpose of the RCP is to provide broad countywide strategies and recommendations as a tool to guide future development activity and preservation, and to provide a foundation to achieve its stated goals. It should not be construed as superseding, or conflicting with, codified criteria for development. 2 | The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission


Overview

Why combine three separate plan elements into one functional master plan? The approval of Plan 2035 resulted in the need to update certain maps, policies, and strategies in some of the functional master plans. To make the process efficient, several projects were combined with the update to the 2005 Approved Countywide Green Infrastructure Plan. The RCP includes the elements of green infrastructure, agriculture, and rural character as a platform for resilience needed to implement the desired development pattern of Plan 2035. As shown in Figure 1, these three elements are compatible and interrelated. Growing of forests supports the goals of green infrastructure preservation and the economic benefit of growing trees as an agricultural crop. Trees and forests clean the air, as does growing food close to where people live, because it reduces the miles food has to travel. Growing food near where people live means that healthy food is reaching people in their communities, providing choices for healthy living. Connected green infrastructure elements provide benefits not only to wildlife and plants, but also to people through cleaner air, cleaner water, and cooler communities. Figure 1. The Intersections and Contributions of the Three Plan Elements

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nd Beauty Rural Landscapes Historic Ecot sca Picturesque Boating Horses , ge pes Villages Fishing a t i Vistas CULTURE r an d Viewsheds, Shared He

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SECTION I

The economic benefits of implementing each of the functional master plans is a common thread of the three plans. With regard to green infrastructure, a study showed that the forest and tree canopy coverage in the County provides an annual benefit of $12.8 billion by avoiding costs for cleaner water that would otherwise need to be met by stormwater management. Forest and trees also provide clean air benefits of $21 million annually (calculated by estimating the medical costs to people affected by polluted air). An economy based on green jobs benefits both the environment and the community, by bringing jobs close to where an accessible workforce exists and putting people to work greening their communities. An agriculturally-based economy that includes both large-scale operations and small-scale enterprises can thrive in the County with our abundance of land for farming and our opportunities for innovation around smallscale, urban, and industrial operations. Perhaps the fastest growing economy segment is one that combines heritage, rural, and active recreation activities such as bicycle tours and paddling trips. The County is wellpositioned to expand this segment of the economy with our access to three major rivers and approximately 390 miles of Special Roadways. Combining the three plans provides an opportunity to view and discuss the intersections between these elements and how they support each other as the platform for sustainability envisioned in Plan 2035.

Which elements update existing plans and how? The Resource Conservation Plan contains the following new plans, updates, and technical corrections: 1. An update to the 2005 Approved Countywide Green Infrastructure Plan and expanding the definition of Green Infrastructure. 2. A new functional master plan for agriculture and forestry resources that also updates and replaces the 2012 Adopted and Approved Priority Preservation Area Functional Master Plan (PPA) polices and strategies and maintains the PPA boundaries except for technical corrections. 3. An update to the state-mandated map showing septic tiers. 4. A new functional master plan for rural character and viewshed conservation that consolidates the recommendations from numerous previously approved plans and prepared studies. 5. An update to the boundaries of the Anacostia Trails Heritage Area. This project was combined with the creation of the County’s first countywide agriculture plan. This plan builds upon the 2012 PPA that focused on a portion of the County’s rural area. The Agriculture Conservation Plan: A Countywide Functional Master Plan makes technical corrections to the PPA boundaries that were a result of the final growth boundary location in Plan 2035 and updates the policies and strategies to address urban agriculture and other countywide elements. In addition, Plan 2035 consolidated all of the recommendations of multiple previous plans and studies by recommending that the County address rural character and viewshed 4 | The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission


Overview

protections in a comprehensive way. The Approved Prince George’s County Rural Character Conservation Plan: A Countywide Functional Master Plan brings together the recommendations from three functional master plans (the 2009 Approved Countywide Master Plan of Transportation, the 2010 Prince George’s County Historic Sites and Districts Plan, and the 2012 PPA) and three published studies regarding rural character conservation and viewshed protections. The strategies emphasize the use of contextsensitive solutions to preserve, enhance, and, where appropriate, restore elements of our historic cultural landscapes. In addition to addressing previously approved County plans, the RCP addresses four state-mandated planning elements: 1. A Natural Resources Element in the form of the updated Green Infrastructure Plan. 2. A Priority Preservation Area (PPA) element in the form of an Agriculture Conservation Plan that includes urban and rural agricultural policies and strategies applied to all agricultural land, not just those areas within the PPA.* 3. A Forestry Element in the form of policies and strategies to address the State’s goal of no net loss of forest canopy as stated in the Forest Preservation Act of 2013. 4. A Sustainable Growth Act Tier Map to address the requirements of the Sustainable Growth and Agricultural Preservation Act of 2012 (SGA). These four planning elements, and their related policies and strategies contained within their respective plans as part of the RCP, form the platform for the sustainable development and land conservation envisioned in Plan 2035.

PLAN SUMMARIES The following sections describe each of the three plans contained within the Resource Conservation Plan: •

Green Infrastructure Plan: A Countywide Functional Master Plan

Agriculture Conservation Plan: A Countywide Functional Master Plan

Rural Character Conservation Plan: A Countywide Functional Master Plan

Each plan description also contains a discussion of the specific direction provided by Plan 2035 for each functional master plan.

* The PPA is mandatory only for those counties that are seeking a certified agriculture preservation program. Prince George’s County is in that category and has elected to establish the element in the form of a functional master plan.

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SECTION I

Green Infrastructure Plan: A Countywide Functional Master Plan (GI Plan) The Approved Countywide Green Infrastructure Plan (GI Plan) was approved in 2005. An assessment of the GI Plan’s policies and strategies conducted in 2014 determined that 80 of the 92 strategies have either been completed or are ongoing. A full report of this assessment is available in the RCP Technical Summary. In 2010, the environmental regulations in the County Code were updated comprehensively to implement many of the plan’s strategies. This has, in turn, resulted in a need to update the Regulated Areas portion of the 2005 GI Plan network map. The Evaluation Areas portion of the GI network was also updated to reflect currently available mapping data for the same topics addressed in the 2005 GI network, with the exception of areas added to address sea level rise and wetland migration as a result of climate change. The areas identified as Network Gaps on the 2005 GI network map are not identified on the 2017 GI network map because the new network is too complex to identify network gaps at the countywide scale. Network gaps will be identified using one of two methods in the future: (1) when master and sector plans are prepared, the GI network boundaries can be adjusted as needed and Network Gaps can be identified; and (2) when development applications are reviewed for areas where Network Gaps have not been identified. Water quality is a serious issue facing all counties in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Green infrastructure methods and tools of all types and sizes, from rain barrels to ecological corridors, can improve water quality countywide. To support the efforts required to meet the standards of the Prince George’s County Watershed Implementation Plan and to support the associated policies and strategies contained in Plan 2035, the updated GI Plan contains policies and strategies to address the full spectrum of green infrastructure types and sizes. The plan also goes beyond the typical definition of green infrastructure and includes the topics of forest and tree canopy coverage, climate change, sea level rise, and other ecologically-related topics important to land use decision-making. Greening the built environment is addressed in the GI Plan through strategies aimed at increasing the number of green buildings in the County and increasing the use of various green building methods. Plan 2035 provides the background and framework for the GI Plan update, including the importance of addressing water quality, land consumption, climate change, and greening the built environment. These issues are fleshed out in more detail in the GI Plan where appropriate. Policies 7 through 10 regarding lighting, noise, and energy infrastructure, and their related strategies, are carried forward in the GI Plan, and edited as appropriate. Plan 2035 contains a strategy regarding the completion of a forest and tree canopy coverage strategy and an update to the 2005 GI Plan. Both of these strategies are addressed in the Green Infrastructure Plan: A Countywide Functional Master Plan.

6 | The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission


Overview

Agriculture Conservation Plan: A Countywide Functional Master Plan (ACP) The Adopted and Approved Priority Preservation Area Functional Master Plan (PPA Plan) was approved in 2012. Several actions have been taken since its approval that warrant an update. An analysis of the 2012 PPA Plan’s progress to-date found that: • The Maryland Department of Planning and the Maryland Agricultural and Land Preservation Foundation (MALPF) jointly certified Prince George’s County’s preservation program, which was one of the PPA Plan’s main goals, resulting in the need to update the policies and strategies to ensure that the program is certified in perpetuity. • The SGA resulted in 95 percent of the land area outside the public water and sewer envelope being designated as an area where conservation of agricultural land and practices should be focused and where major subdivisions are prohibited, resulting in the need to re-evaluate the subdivision regulations. • A new General Plan, Plan 2035, designates areas outside the public water and sewer envelope as the Rural and Agricultural Area with a new set of broad policies and strategies for implementation, resulting in the need to update the more specific strategies contained in the various functional master plans. • Properties were removed from the Rural and Agricultural Area as part of the Plan 2035 approval, resulting in the need to update the PPA boundaries and the SGA Tier Map. • An urban agriculture study was completed in 2012 titled Urban Agriculture: A Tool for Creating Economic Development and Healthy Communities in Prince George’s County, MD. This study draws attention to this topic in a comprehensive way and provides significant guidance to the preparation of the urban agriculture recommendations contained in the new Agriculture Conservation Plan (ACP). A full report of the PPA Plan’s assessment is available in the RCP Technical Summary. Overall, these actions resulted in the need to prepare a comprehensive agricultural policy plan to support the long-term sustainability of rural and urban agriculture in the County. The new ACP will address countywide policies and strategies for agricultural and forestry practices. The boundaries of the PPA are only being amended to address technical corrections required as a result of changes made in other plans. None of the corrections proposed result from the preparation of the Resource Conservation Plan. Similarly, the boundaries of the 2012 PPA will not be amended with this update; only technical corrections are proposed to address actions taken in other plans. Refer to page 82-85 of the ACP for more information on the technical corrections proposed to PPA and SGA Tier Map boundaries. Countywide agriculture is primarily addressed in Plan 2035 in the Healthy Communities chapter under the discussion of the need for access to healthy food close to where people live. Approval of Plan 2035 was followed by the preparation of a study on urban agriculture that comprehensively addresses how urban agriculture can be integrated into communities where healthy food choices are needed most.

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SECTION I

Rural Character Conservation Plan: A Countywide Functional Master Plan (RCCP) The Master Plan of Transportation calls for the development of “guidelines for the design of activities adjacent to designated roadways to include building setbacks, landscaping, scenic easements, and utility clearing.” The recent master plans for Subregions 5 and 6 contain policies and strategies that generally address rural conservation, but the plans do not contain the necessary guidelines or standards for implementation. The Historic Sites and Districts Plan also addresses the need for rural character conservation, but does not provide strategies for its protection. There have been three studies that have discussed the need for rural character design standards and have provided guidance for the development of future policies and strategies: • Croom and Aquasco Roads Scenic Byway Plan Elements: A Corridor Management Program for these Roadways and Other Related StarSpangled Banner Historic Roadways in Prince George’s County (May 2012). • Rural Villages Study (September 2012). • Conserving Significant Cultural Landscapes: Protecting the Piscataway and Accokeek Historic Communities and the Mount Vernon Viewshed (March 2013). As part of the RCP, these documents were reviewed and combined into policies and strategies in the Rural Character Conservation Plan (RCCP) that support rural character conservation and the desired development pattern of Plan 2035. The plan contains countywide strategies for addressing rural character conservation with a focus on the corridors of Special Roadways (parkways, scenic byways, and scenic and historic roads) and the viewshed of Mount Vernon. The Community Heritage, Culture, and Design chapter of Plan 2035 contains policies and strategies that address historic, cultural, and archeological resources. The RCCP focuses on the conservation of viewsheds and the cultural landscapes and resources that they contain. Plan 2035 states:

“Scenic vistas and viewsheds are an important component of the cultural heritage and historic qualities of our communities and some, such as the view from Mount Vernon or the Star-Spangled Banner Scenic Byway, have national significance…Conservation of these important components depends, in large part, on how new development relates to its landscape…design standards are an effective way to protect a viewshed or cultural landscape…” Plan 2035 also contains a policy regarding the need to preserve and enhance the County’s rural and agricultural character. The policy has four associated strategies that call for cultural landscape preservation, context-sensitive solutions for rural character conservation, use of conservation subdivisions where appropriate, and implementing the recommendations of the viewshed study for Mount Vernon and Special Roadways. The RCCP contains more detailed strategies to implement this policy and guidelines for the preparation of design standards as part of the Zoning Ordinance. The RCCP also contains strategies for protecting viewsheds of national, state, and County significance. 8 | The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission


Overview

GUIDANCE FROM PLAN 2035 In addition to the direction provided by Plan 2035 specific to each plan, Plan 2035 contains a vision for Prince George’s County that supports the contents of the RCP when it envisions “…strong, green, healthy communities… [with] quality open space; restored ecosystems; and iconic destinations.” Plan 2035’s stated goal is:

“Prince George’s County develops sustainably and equitably. It directs new development to existing transit-oriented centers; focuses public investment on its economic engines; capitalizes on and maintains its infrastructure; strengthens its established communities; and proactively preserves its natural, historic, and cultural resources.” [emphasis added] Plan 2035’s overarching environmental goal is to:

“preserve, enhance, and restore the County’s natural and built ecosystems to improve human health, strengthen resilience to changing climate conditions, and facilitate sustainable economic development.” The plan also emphasizes creating healthier communities to encourage businesses and workers to relocate to the County by greening the built environment, restoring degraded resources, and promoting a more sustainable development pattern that reduces reliance on driving and shifts development pressures away from greenfields and forests. Each of the three plans within the RCP support the general vision and goal of Plan 2035, and specifically the environmental goal of Plan 2035, as demonstrated below in the analysis of the six Guiding Principles from Plan 2035. It is important to note that in Plan 2035 each principle has a discussion related to how Plan 2035 addresses the principle. The text below is specific to the RCP and contains discussions relating to how the three functional master plans address the principles. 1. Concentrate Future Growth The current development pattern of sprawling onto undeveloped sites and not taking advantage of existing public infrastructure investments is unsustainable from both a natural resources and economic perspective. The desired development pattern as expressed in Plan 2035 directs growth to the designated Downtowns, Regional Transit Districts, the Innovation Corridor, and Local Centers to fully utilize the existing roads, schools, and other public facilities. The 2017 GI Plan supports this development pattern by designating areas of countywide significance within the GI network that should be preserved, providing general direction on where development should not occur in order to protect the precious remaining resources. When the GI network overlaps areas where growth is desired, the plan provides strategies for flexible designs to protect both the resources and the ability to build in desired locations. The ACP contains strategies for keeping farms in farming and expanding the opportunities for new farmers and people who want to cultivate smaller plots of land. These policies and strategies help to reduce development pressure in rural areas and focus development where infrastructure already exists. The RCCP also provides guidance on how to build in areas where rural character is strong and needs to be preserved or restored.

Resource Conservation Plan | 9


SECTION I

2. Prioritize and Focus Resources In Plan 2035 the resources being referenced are primarily financial ones; however, the resources of ecological areas, green energy, local food, and cultural landscapes are also in need of prioritization and focus. The primary purposes of creating functional master plans are to prioritize the conservation of the remaining resources of countywide significance and focus attention on addressing land use-related issues in the functional area. 3. Build On Our Strengths and Assets Prince George’s County has innumerable strengths and assets related to the environment, agriculture, and rural character. Our County is located in the coastal plain where the floodplains are wide areas full of diverse plant species, providing exceptional corridors for wildlife movement. The floodplains connect stream corridors to Special Conservation Areas that contain unique environmental features that should be carefully considered when land development proposals are reviewed in the vicinity to ensure that their ecological functions are protected or restored and that critical ecological connections are established and/or maintained. Our location on the banks of three major rivers provide varied opportunities for connections to the natural world and access for outdoor recreation. Our public lands for recreation exceed 27,000 acres and our parks and recreational programs have been national award winners multiple times. These assets support healthy communities and a healthy environment. 4. Create Choice Communities All three plans in the RCP contribute to creating desirable communities that contain green and shaded areas that are equitably accessible, provide nearby sources of healthy food choices, and preserve our cultural heritage in ways that are easily accessible to all. 5. Connect Our Neighborhoods and Significant Places Barriers to connectivity can sometimes be created when natural resources are present. Where communities lack connections because of existing natural resources, the GI Plan provides strategies for making the needed connections to increase the existing community’s walkability and protect the natural resources from degradation. Where existing rural character elements may create barriers to community connectivity, solutions need to be carefully considered in order to protect the character elements while providing a point of connection. 6. Protect and Value Our Natural Resources The plans within the RCP directly address this principle by focusing on the remaining natural resource assets through the GI network and Special Conservation Area designations; providing strategies to conserve valuable agricultural and forested lands; and by protecting our rural character for generations to come. Plan 2035 provides the over-arching direction for implementation of this principle within the three plans:

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Overview

“Protecting and restoring our green infrastructure network, waterways, agricultural preservation areas, and forested lands will help improve the quality of our water and air, preserve remaining open spaces, and enhance community health. A healthy environment is increasingly a prerequisite for many businesses and workers looking to relocate to the region. Plan 2035 commits to proactively greening our built environment, restoring degraded resources, and promoting a more sustainable development pattern that reduces our reliance on driving and shifts development pressures away from our greenfields.” As part of the framework for analysis, Plan 2035 organized these six guiding principles into three themes— WORK, LIVE, AND SUSTAIN—developed through community consensus during the Envision Prince George’s community visioning sessions. These overlapping themes frame the Plan 2035 vision, policies, and strategies and underscore the importance of weighing economic, social, and environmental decisions when creating land use policy. Plan 2035’s WORK, LIVE, AND SUSTAIN framework is repeated here with vision statements that focus on the elements contained in the RCP: In 2035 Prince Georgians WORK in a thriving and diverse economy that: • Provides a range of well-paying jobs for County residents that embrace and support a green economy. • Grows the tax base by nurturing green businesses that provide jobs in communities reducing the need for workers to commute to work. • Acknowledges and builds upon the County’s availability of industrial space in communities that need jobs. • Provides healthy workplaces for both indoor and outdoor workers. In 2035 Prince Georgians LIVE in safe, walkable, and healthy communities that: • Provide safe connections to adjacent communities and resources without compromising ecological resources. • Preserve and celebrate our cultural and historic resources and foster community character. • Promote healthy lifestyles by ensuring access to healthy foods, health services, and a connected network of trails, parks, and recreational opportunities. • Provide high quality, efficient, and equitable access to green spaces. In 2035 Prince Georgians SUSTAIN our natural resources and rural areas by: • Promoting higher-density, compact, mixed-use development in our Regional Transit Districts. • Providing incentives for green construction practices at the building and neighborhood scale. • Proactively enhancing and restoring our ecosystems and planning for climate change. • Preserving our existing rural and agricultural communities including our rural viewsheds, farmland, and the agricultural economy. This decision-making framework for working and living sustainably reduces impacts on natural resources and promotes healthy, connected, and walkable communities in keeping with the vision of Plan 2035.

Resource Conservation Plan | 11


SECTION I

Regional, State, and Local Planning Initiatives Ongoing Regional Planning Efforts The State of Maryland has long been a leader and participant in regional planning efforts, especially with regard to environmental planning. As a state with a considerable length of coastline on the Chesapeake Bay, Maryland has an obligation to actively work toward its cleanup. The programs and agencies working to improve the water quality in the Bay are too numerous to mention; however, it is important to note that the RCP supports the ongoing efforts to improve water quality by identifying an ecological network of countywide significant features and emphasizing the need to improve water quality locally. The Patuxent River Commission (PRC) was created in 1984, four years after the passage of the 1980 Patuxent River Watershed Act. The Commission envisions a Patuxent River ecosystem that is as vital and productive in 2050 as it was in the 1950s. The PRC includes representatives from the seven counties that border the river and the city of Laurel, and additional watershed stakeholders and interest groups. The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) supports two other regional environmental planning efforts that are seeking to physically connect natural lands and to connect people to the land. The Baltimore-Washington Partners for Forest Stewardship brings together public land managers within the Baltimore-Washington corridor to discuss land stewardship concerns and share information. M-NCPPC also supports the Greater Baltimore Wilderness Coalition. This group is a voluntary coalition of public agencies, non-governmental organizations, professionals, and conservation groups. Its area of interest includes the seven counties and three major cities in central Maryland: Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford, Howard, Montgomery, and Prince George’s counties and the cities of Annapolis, Baltimore, and Bowie. The Coalition’s mission is to improve the quality of life for residents and visitors of central Maryland. By focusing on the four pillars of equity, discovery, biodiversity, and resilience, the Coalition hopes to bring nature to people and people to nature.

State Planning Mandates The Smart and Sustainable Growth Act of 2009 provides a vision for local jurisdictions to follow as they complete planning documents. The act reinforces the importance of planning for sustainable growth and development in local jurisdictions and contains 12 planning visions: 1.

Quality of Life and Sustainability: A high quality of life is achieved through universal stewardship of the land, water, and air, resulting in sustainable communities and protection of the environment.

2.

Public Participation: Citizens are active partners in the planning and implementation of community initiatives and are sensitive to their responsibilities in achieving community goals.

3.

Growth Areas: Growth is concentrated in existing population and business centers, areas adjacent to these centers, or strategically selected new centers.

4.

Community Design: Compact, mixed-use, walkable design consistent with existing community character and located near available or planned transit options is encouraged to ensure efficient use of land and transportation resources as well as preservation and enhancement of natural systems, open spaces, recreational areas, and historical, cultural, and archeological resources.

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Overview

5. Infrastructure: Growth areas have the water resources and infrastructure to accommodate population and business expansion in an orderly, efficient, and environmentally sustainable manner. 6. Transportation: A well-maintained, multimodal transportation system facilitates the safe, convenient, affordable, and efficient movement of people, goods, and services within and between population and business centers. 7. Housing: A range of housing densities, types, and sizes provide residential options for citizens of all ages and incomes. 8.

Economic Development: Economic development and natural resource-based businesses that promote employment opportunities for all income levels within the capacity of the State’s natural resources, public services, and public facilities are encouraged.

9.

Environmental Protection: Land and water resources, including the Chesapeake and coastal bays, are carefully managed to restore and maintain healthy air and water, natural systems, and living resources.

10. Resource Conservation: Waterways, forests, agricultural areas, open space, natural systems, and scenic areas are conserved. 11. Stewardship: Government, business entities, and residents are responsible for the creation of sustainable communities by collaborating to balance efficient growth with resource protection. 12. Implementation: Strategies, policies, programs, and funding for growth and development, resource conservation, infrastructure, and transportation are integrated across the local, regional, state, and interstate levels to achieve these visions. Together, these 12 visions guide how and where growth should occur without compromising the County’s natural and cultural resources. The act acknowledges that the plans prepared by counties and municipalities are the best mechanism to establish priorities for growth and resource conservation. Once priorities are established, it is the State’s responsibility to support them through programmatic and financial mechanisms.

Local Planning Efforts The local planning efforts that have guided the RCP’s contents started with the 2002 General Plan. The Environmental Infrastructure chapter provided the direction for creating the first green infrastructure plan and addressed the need, for the first time in a land use plan, to address water quality comprehensively. The 2002 General Plan also set the goal of preserving at least 1,500 acres of agriculture and forestry land per year. This goal, combined with the related policies and strategies, set the stage for the progress made over the past 15 years. An analysis of the implementation status of the strategies in the Environmental Infrastructure chapter of the 2002 General Plan can be found in the RCP Technical Summary. Plan 2035 is the County’s current General Plan and provides the direction needed to redirect growth away from green and open spaces and toward areas where significant public investments in infrastructure have already been made. This shift in development focus complements the continued efforts to conserve irreplaceable environmental, agricultural, and cultural resources. Multiple studies and reports were conducted that support the recommendations in all three plans. The RCP Technical Summary contains these studies and reports with links to where they are available online. All the support information is available on the project website, which can be found on the Planning Department’s web page at PGPlanning.org. Resource Conservation Plan | 13


Section II Green Infrastructure Plan: A Countywide Functional Master Plan


Green Infrastructure Plan: A Countywide Functional Master Plan

Percentage of strategies implemented in the 2005 Green Infrastructure Plan:

87%

Percentage of the County covered by forests and trees:

52%

Annual values of canopy coverage in stormwater dollars:

$12.8 billion Percentage of watersheds in 2005 with poor or very poor water quality:

90%


Green Infrastructure Plan: A Countywide Functional Master Plan

Our Vision

for the Future Plan 2035 contains a broad vision for our future. The following vision statement reflects how the implementation of the Green Infrastructure Plan could shape the future in support of the healthy, vibrant, connected communities envisioned in Plan 2035.

In 2035, Prince George’s County is distinguished as having clean air, clean water, abundant and accessible open and green spaces, and thriving communities supported by local green jobs.

Prince George’s County is the community of choice for families, businesses, and workers in the region because of our healthy green communities and our thriving green economy.

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Section II

TABLE OF CONTENTS Our Vision for the Future............................................................................................17 Background..................................................................................................................19 Analysis of 2005 Green Infrastructure Plan Implementation..........................................................................20 Conservation of Green Infrastructure......................................................................................................................20 Summary of Community Input .................................................................................................................................21

Plan Goals.....................................................................................................................23 Measurable Objectives...............................................................................................23 Policy Areas..................................................................................................................27 Preserving, Enhancing, and Restoring a Green Infrastructure Network......................................................27 Improving Surface and Ground Water Quality.....................................................................................................36 Protecting Potable Water Sources.............................................................................................................................38 Preserving, Enhancing and Restoring Canopy Coverage.................................................................................40 Greening the Built Environment................................................................................................................................45 Stewardship, Outreach, and Education...................................................................................................................48

Implementation ..........................................................................................................49 Appendices...................................................................................................................60 Appendix A: Documents Supporting the Green Infrastructure Plan...........................................................60 Appendix B: Green Infrastructure Network Mapping Methodology ...........................................................61

Maps Map 1. 2017 Countywide Green Infrastructure Network..................................................................................28 Map 2. Close-up of Green Infrastructure Network..............................................................................................29 Map 3. Special Conservation Areas...........................................................................................................................32 Map 4. Watershed Condition Ratings.......................................................................................................................39

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Green Infrastructure Plan: A Countywide Functional Master Plan

BACKGROUND In 2005, Prince George’s County adopted and approved the Approved Countywide Green Infrastructure Plan (2005 Green Infrastructure Plan or GI Plan) to protect the integrity of ecological features of countywide significance through the planning, land acquisition, and land development processes. The 2005 GI Plan was driven by the direction provided in the Prince George’s County Approved General Plan (2002 General Plan). It has helped guide County decision-making to ensure ecological connectivity, reduce forest fragmentation, improve water quality, and direct limited resources to priority areas for more than a decade. The term Green Infrastructure was introduced in the mid-1990s to describe and place value on the interconnected natural areas benefitting wildlife and humans. In more recent years, the meaning of the term has been expanded to include green stormwater solutions that use plants or mimic natural systems to clean polluted runoff. Figure 2. Elements Included in the Definition of Green Infrastructure

Green Implementation Tools to Clean the Chesapeake Bay:

• Green roofs • Energy efficient buildings

• Green stormwater methods • Connected stream valleys • Urban green spaces • Connected watersheds • Forest and tree canopy • Diverse ecosystems • Open space • Connected natural areas

From your green roof to the Chesapeake Bay Elements included in the definition of Green Infrastructure for this plan start where the rain falls on our green roofs, flows into bioretention areas, through natural areas, into streams and rivers, and into the Chesapeake Bay.

The definition of Green Infrastructure is being expanded from the definition used in 2005 (strictly an ecological approach) to one that embraces the full spectrum of the definition of Green Infrastructure as illustrated above. The purpose of the GI Plan is to provide broad countywide strategies and recommendations as a tool to guide future development activity and preservation, and to provide a foundation to achieve its stated goals. It should not be construed as superseding, or conflicting with, codified criteria for development. Resource Conservation Plan | 19


Section II

Analysis of 2005 Green Infrastructure Plan Implementation During the preplanning phase of this plan, the 2005 GI Plan policies and strategies were analyzed to determine which ones have been implemented and to provide recommendations for updated policies and strategies. The analysis showed that a majority of the strategies in the 2005 GI Plan have been implemented, resulting in the need for a plan update. The results of this analysis are summarized in Table 1 below. Table 1. 2005 Green Infrastructure Plan Strategy Implementation Status Total Strategies Completed Completed and ongoing Ongoing Not started TOTAL IMPLEMENTED PERCENT IMPLEMENTED

92 26 11 43 12 80 87

The analysis showed that of the 92 strategies in the 2005 plan, 80 have either been completed or are completed and ongoing in their implementation. This includes the preparation of key environmental legislation updates such as the stormwater management ordinance, woodland conservation ordinance, and the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area ordinance. The analysis document can be found in the RCP Technical Summary. This plan builds on the policies and strategies of the 2005 GI Plan to achieve the County’s long-term vision of an interconnected network of significant countywide environmental features that retains ecological functions, maintains or improves water quality and habitat, and supports the desired development pattern of the general plan. This plan expands the definition of green infrastructure to include elements that green the built environment.

Conservation of Green Infrastructure Each plan within the RCP provides a more detailed definition of conservation as appropriate for that plan. Because this plan uses a broad definition of green infrastructure, the definition of conservation is equally broad—conservation of natural resources and energy resources are included.

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Green Infrastructure Plan: A Countywide Functional Master Plan

Figure 3. Definition of Conservation in the Green Infrastructure Plan As noted in Section I: Overview, the word

conservation can be defined as:

The action of conserving something, in particular: • Preservation, protection, or restoration of the natural environment, natural ecosystems, vegetation, and wildlife. • Preservation, repair, and prevention of deterioration of archeological, historic, and cultural sites and artifacts. The Green Infrastructure Plan seeks to conserve and connect the remaining significant ecological resources in the County and restore lost connections where appropriate while implementing the desired development pattern of Plan 2035. It also provides guidance on greening the built environment, reducing energy consumption to conserve global resources, and providing residents with healthier, more connected places to live.

The Green Infrastructure Plan: A Countywide Functional Master Plan (Green Infrastructure Plan or GI Plan) is written to function in concert with the other two elements of the RCP—the Agriculture Conservation Plan: A Countywide Functional Master Plan (ACP) and the Rural Character Conservation Plan: A Countywide Functional Master Plan (RCCP). It aligns with the goals of these plans through strategies to address green and open spaces and to preserve irreplaceable elements in our landscapes such as the designated Special Conservation Areas. Together, these three plan elements will help to guide growth appropriately throughout the County, ensuring that significant environmental features are conserved and green elements are incorporated into all This plan amends the related policies communities in support of a green economy. and strategies of previously approved plans, in particular the following:

Summary of Community Input The 2005 GI Plan built upon the public input and direction provided by the 2002 General Plan. This sequencing is being repeated as the 2005 GI Plan is being updated after the approval of Plan 2035 in 2014. As noted in the Overview section, the public input process consisted of three community input sessions where participants were asked what they wanted to see more of and less of in the three subject areas covered in the plan: green infrastructure, agriculture, and rural character. These sessions were followed by an open forum where a summary of the input to-date was provided and an opportunity was given to comment on draft maps. An input session was also held to focus on the issues of interest to municipalities.

• Plan 2035 • 2005 Green Infrastructure Plan • 2010 Water Resources Plan

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Section II

For most participants, issues of interest relevant to the GI Plan included: • Prioritize restoration and protection of ecological green infrastructure inside the Capital Beltway. • Acknowledge the importance of connecting wildlife corridors in urban areas to improve ecosystem services. • Provide larger riparian buffers and shoreline protections. • Avoid building green stormwater infrastructure in places that are forested (don’t sacrifice forests for a stormwater management structure). • Preserve and/or restore stream health and functions. • Require that trees transplanted be native, supportive of habitat, and planted in such a way to ensure their longevity. • Remove invasive plants. • Adopt restrictions on hydraulic fracturing and other unsustainable energy sources. • Require public projects to meet environmental requirements. • Grant fewer exemptions from the Tree Canopy Coverage Ordinance requirements. • Consider addressing the causes of climate change/sea level rise/extreme weather events. Public agencies also came together during the development of the RCP to discuss the plan contents and future implementation. Each agency saw how their work is reflected in the plan and sought ways to participate in its implementation. Just as the implementation of Plan 2035 will involve the coordinated efforts of everyone, the RCP must involve public agencies and nonprofits, places of worship and educational institutions, and businesses and volunteers in its implementation. The GI Plan’s implementation is particularly dependent upon interagency and nonprofit coordination because there are so many people working toward the same environmental goals. The County’s Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) is one example of an ongoing, multiagency project where a coordinated effort is necessary. For a summary of the public input provided for all three elements of the RCP, refer to the Section I: Overview. Full summaries of all of the public input sessions are available in the RCP Technical Summary.

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Green Infrastructure Plan: A Countywide Functional Master Plan

PLAN GOALS The goals of the GI Plan are to support the desired development pattern of Plan 2035 by: • Preserving, enhancing, and/or restoring an interconnected network of significant countywide environmental features that retains ecological functions and improves water quality. • Increasing connectivity of built and natural green spaces. • Improving wildlife habitat. • Addressing energy efficiency and the need for green buildings and jobs. • Improving overall human health by providing equitable access to connected open and green spaces throughout the County. The GI Plan provides guidance for decision-making at all levels of government, businesses, developers, nonprofits, and associated organizations; provides the framework for conservation of natural areas; and supports the creation of thriving, energy efficient communities.

MEASURABLE OBJECTIVES The 2005 GI Plan contained eight measurable objectives. Technology changes and a lack of trend data rendered the eight measurable objectives difficult to track. The 2017 GI Plan narrows the focus to three objectives that provide the most tangible and measurable benefits to human health—water quality, forest and tree canopy coverage, and greening the built environment.

Objective One: In 2035, water quality in the majority of the County’s watersheds will be improved. The water quality analysis results in the RCP Technical Summary, based on water quality sampling between 1999 and 2013, show that there has been no statistical improvement in water quality in the County’s watersheds. The analysis provides several reasons for the lack of improvement. The most important reason is that it takes a very long time and a significant amount of effort to improve water quality in any particular watershed. The County’s WIP provides a full spectrum of strategies and approaches to improve water quality. The WIP is the County’s blueprint moving forward and should be supported in all aspects of land use decisionmaking. From land acquisition for conservation, to the approaches to stormwater management on new development projects, everything needs to support the improvement of water quality.

Resource Conservation Plan | 23


Section II

“In order to turn around the effects on our streams of decades of untreated, polluted runoff, and improve our water quality, we need: everyone, doing everything, everywhere.� –Adam Ortiz, November 2, 2015, Director, Department of the Environment

This objective will be measured as part of the WIP. Continued water quality sampling should be supported in order to report on the future progress of this objective. The strategies contained in this plan support reaching this objective.

Objective Two: In 2035, there will be 52 percent forest and tree canopy coverage countywide. An advanced forest mapping tool used with geographic information system (GIS) map layers became available in recent years to measure countywide forest and tree canopy coverage more accurately. The results showed that 52 percent of the County was covered in forest and tree canopy in 2009. The 2009 data were further evaluated to determine that, of that 52 percent forest and tree canopy coverage, 44 percent is considered forest canopy and 8 percent is tree canopy. As shown in Figure 4, while 52 percent of the County was covered by forest and tree canopy in 2009, an additional 39 percent of the County was identified as being able to accommodate canopy coverage (identified as possible tree canopy or TC vegetation and impervious areas that are not buildings, roads, and parking). The areas of possible tree canopy are areas where trees could be planted to increase canopy coverage, especially in built areas where the canopy coverage will provide multiple benefits related to human health, such as reduced temperatures and improved water quality. Maintaining the 52 percent goal in 2035 will require a variety of strategies to improve preservation and increase planting. Tree planting alone will not result in the maintenance of this percentage because the focus of development has not yet shifted away from clearing forests for development. What will be needed is a concerted effort to implement the development patterns proposed in Plan 2035 and move away from suburban sprawl development on forested and undeveloped sites and onto more urban sites where the necessary infrastructure for development already exists. Combining these efforts with an improved Tree Canopy Coverage Ordinance should result in the conservation of sufficient forests and the planting of a sufficient number of trees to meet the goal of 52 percent in 2035. For more information and analysis regarding canopy goals, see the 2010 Forest Canopy Assessment Study in the RCP Technical Summary.

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Green Infrastructure Plan: A Countywide Functional Master Plan

Figure 4. Existing and Possible Forest and Tree Canopy Coverage

In the same manner as the technological advances from 2000 to 2009 that resulted in vastly improved data for mapping the green infrastructure network, and certain difficulties in comparing land-based features over time, in the future the method of measuring forest and tree canopy may advance again. When this measurable objective is evaluated using the 2009 data as the baseline, the advances in technology should be acknowledged and appropriately accommodated.

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Section II

Objective Three: In 2035, 90 percent of the strategies under Greening the Built Environment will be implemented. Building greener has multiple benefits to the environment and to people. Green spaces are essential to urban dwellers, providing places to gather and interact with nature. Green buildings are healthier and use fewer resources. They focus on building methods and siting that consider natural and passive energy use, limited impacts on natural resources, and conserving and reusing stormwater. Their interiors have fewer impacts on human health in the form of off-gases from materials and improved air circulation. While the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards have been used extensively, other standards for site work and neighborhood design are being developed and should be considered as the science and technology evolves.

Purpose and Need for the Plan Since 2005, the GI Plan has provided guidance for land use decision-making that has resulted in meaningful progress toward conservation and connectivity of natural areas in the County, while supporting the desired development pattern of the 2002 General Plan. There are many reasons that the 2005 GI Plan needs to be updated. The five primary reasons are: 1. Plan 2035 provides direction for the preparation of an updated green infrastructure plan. 2. The GI network map needs to be updated to reflect the current delineation of Regulated Areas as defined in the County Code (updated in 2010 as recommended by the 2005 GI Plan) and Evaluation Areas as necessitated by poor water quality and changes in state priorities for conservation. 3. State and federal regulations require addressing water quality at the county level. The policies and strategies in the updated GI Plan will address water quality. 4. Green buildings, energy conservation, and the generation of clean energy need to be addressed in a land use master plan. 5. The vast majority of the strategies in the 2005 GI Plan have been implemented (87 percent).

Success in creating an interconnected network of ecological features requires a concerted effort that includes the following activities: Preserving resources in place and ensuring that the changes around them do not inhibit their ability to survive. Enhancing the existing ecosystem. This includes removal of invasive plants and planting of native plants. Connecting the physical attributes on the ground that exist today and creating connections where they do not currently exist. Connections could be created through preserving or planting of green corridors or simply providing a row of street trees to connect pollinators to green spaces. Restoring ecosystem elements that may have been lost or restoring lost ecosystem services. Protecting resources through a variety of mechanisms such as placing an easement over the land or placing it in public protection where appropriate. Maintaining the natural and constructed elements of the green infrastructure network to ensure they will function properly over time.

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Green Infrastructure Plan: A Countywide Functional Master Plan

POLICY AREAS Preserving, Enhancing, and Restoring a Green Infrastructure Network Land use plans typically direct growth and describe a desired development pattern for a given area. Plan 2035 envisions growth occurring where gray infrastructure, such as roads and public utilities, exist and growing less in the greenfields areas of the County where this infrastructure does not exist or is less prepared to absorb new growth. The green infrastructure network also provides guidance on where and how to grow by mapping sensitive natural resources and helping to shape development. Placing land within the network does not prohibit development. The purpose of the network is to shape development in a way that allows natural resources to continue to be connected and functioning after the development occurs. The network is not used for analysis unless an application is made to the County for disturbances; in other words, it has no effect unless or until a property owner submits an application. While green buildings, energy efficiency, and renewable energy are part of the GI Plan, they are not intended to be placed within the network. As constructed elements, they should be placed outside the network wherever possible to support the preservation of the natural environment. The 2017 Countywide Green Infrastructure Network Map (Map 1) is conceptual in nature and illustrates a generalized pattern for ecological green infrastructure conservation in the County. It is envisioned as an assessment tool to evaluate the role of a specific location within a larger ecological system. The map should be viewed as a guide to decision-making that demonstrates a vision of interconnected natural areas that also includes community forests and local tree canopy coverage. The network map should also be used as a guide when Network Gaps are identified during the preparation of master and sector plans and during the review of land development applications. Because the map was created using GIS layers that do not provide site-specific information, it should not be used at the site scale for taking measurements or to assess exact acreages of a property within the network. The network identified on Map 1 is not precisely comparable to the network identified in 2005 because the technology has advanced to the degree that an equal comparison is not possible. Generally speaking, the 2017 network map covers more land area than the 2005 network. There are two reasons for the land area increase. First, the technology used for the 2017 map captures a finer grain of detail when mapping streams and other natural elements than was possible in 2005. Secondly, the updated network incorporates community tree canopy coverage areas within the Evaluation Area because of the need to address the urgent countywide issue of water quality (see Figure 4). Resource Conservation Plan | 27


Section II

Map 1. 2017 Countywide Green Infrastructure Network

Regulated Areas represent a conceptual delineation of connected regulated environmental features including streams, wetlands and their buffers, the 100-year floodplain, and their adjacent steep slopes. The features shown are the known locations of regulated features at a large scale. This delineation should not be used for land development purposes. Approval of a Natural Resource Inventory is required to confirm the locations of regulated environmental features (streams, wetlands, floodplains). Ca

pita

w l Belt

Evaluation Areas include patches of land known to contain one or more sensitive environmental features of concern such as interior forests (to focus connectivity on the largest remaining blocks of forests), areas of predicted wetland migration (to address climate change), and protected lands (to ensure connectivity to previous conservation efforts). Evaluation Areas are used to look more closely at the role the location plays in conserving sensitive resources and preserving or establishing land-based connections within the network.

ay

Mapping Criteria for Evaluation Area: To be included in the Evaluation Area, patches must be: a. 1 acre or greater in size b. within 200 feet of another patch inside the Beltway c. within 600 feet of another patch outside the Beltway d. at least 50 feet wide outside the Beltway (no minimum width inside the Beltway)

Legend

Miles

Regulated Area Evaluation Area

Plan 2035 Growth Boundary

0

Inside the Beltway Outside the Beltway, within the Growth Boundary Outside the Growth Boundary (Rural and Agricultural Area)

28 | The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission

1

2

3

4

5

U


are used to look more closely ation plays in conserving es and preserving or -based connections within

Green Infrastructure Plan: A Countywide Functional Master Plan

Mapping the Green Infrastructure Network

The designated green infrastructure network is an interconnected map that contains environmental features that are of countywide significance. The network shown in Map 1 was developed using mapping data from 2009 to determine the Regulated Areas of countywide significance, based on the current regulations for protecting sensitive environmental features in the County Code, as amended to reflect the mapping criteria. Evaluation Areas containing current data from various years were added to reflect areas that contain environmental features of concern for conservation. For a summary of the methodology used to create the network map, refer to the RCP Technical Summary. In general, the Regulated Areas are the combination of the following elements: • Streams and wetlands and their associated buffers

Evaluation Area: aluation Area,

• 100-year floodplains

Map 2. Close-up of Green Infrastructure Network

• Adjacent slopes 15 percent or greater.

To map the Regulated Areas for the network map, the first step is to map the environmental features listed above, countywide. If a segment of stream or wetland and its associated buffers were not connected to the overall network, that segment was removed from the Regulated Area mapping. In the 2005 network mapping, in order to remain within the network, a stream corridor had to have associated forested corridors that were at least 200 feet wide outside the Capital Beltway (no minimum inside the Beltway). Because the County’s water quality is poor, and cleaning the water is required by law, all streams identified in the network are included within the 2017 network countywide (the requirement to have a 200-foot-wide forested corridor was eliminated). This resulted in a Regulated Area portion of the network that includes more stream segments and associated floodplains and slopes than were included in the 2005 plan. This is necessary to protect and improve water quality countywide (see Objective One) and to provide more opportunities for preserving and replanting forests (see Objective Two).

ze other patch

other patch

outside the m width

The Evaluation Areas were mapped by combining various environmental data sets including conservation easements, potential forest interior dwelling bird habitat areas, and wetland migration areas. Where features were not connected to the network, or were separated by distances beyond the mapping parameters, features were deemed to not be of countywide significance; however, because these areas are mapped on the countywide data maps, they can be identified during later stages of review and should be considered for inclusion as a designated Network Gap. While some of the Evaluation Area site features are regulated by the County and/or the state, their exact position on the ground cannot be determined, because many of these layers, especially the layers generated by the state, are conceptual in nature. This results in the need to treat the network map as a conceptual guide to decision-making. Resource Conservation Plan | 29


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The 2005 green infrastructure network identified Network Gaps in addition to the Evaluation and Regulated Areas. Countywide identification of potential Network Gaps was not performed with the updated network because the network is too complex and the future opportunities for connectivity are too broad to make these important decisions at the countywide scale. As properties are evaluated at a smaller scale, either through the land development or preservation processes or during the master or sector plan process, the identification of Network Gaps and opportunities for connectivity should be explored.

Using the Network When using digital mapping, a level of detail is implied that does not exist on the ground. For example, a line on a map may be a straight line, or it may be simply connecting two points reporting the same data. The boundaries of the Regulated and Evaluation Areas appear to be straight lines that could be used for specific measurements; however, the data used to create the network map were prepared using differing parameters and datasets, resulting in the need to view the resulting outline as a conceptual line for broad review purposes. During the land development process, the Regulated and Evaluation areas receive different levels of consideration. The Regulated Areas are considered conceptual until their features and their buffers are mapped in greater detail on an approved Natural Resource Inventory (NRI). Streams, wetlands and floodplains that make up the conceptual Regulated Areas are referred to as Regulated Environmental Features in the County Code and their locations are mapped on a plan drawn to scale on the NRI. Impacts to regulated environmental features are recommended for approval only where necessary for construction of road crossings, the installation of necessary public utilities, or the placement of stormwater outfalls when no alternatives are feasible. The Evaluation Areas will be considered during the review process as areas of high priority for on-site woodland and wildlife habitat conservation and restoration of lost connectivity. These areas should be considered before the use of off-site conservation options. Properties that contain evaluation areas will develop in keeping with the underlying zoning and in conformance with the other regulations of applicable ordinances; however, consideration must be given to the resources that exist and their priority for preservation, restoration, and permanent conservation. Areas where there are opportunities to make critical connections in the green infrastructure network and/or to restore areas and enhance the ecological functioning of the network should be identified as Network Gaps during the review process.

Mapping Special Conservation Areas Areas of specific countywide significance in need of special attention have been identified on Map 3. These areas, identified as Special Conservation Areas (SCAs), contain unique environmental features that should be carefully considered when land development proposals are reviewed in the vicinity to ensure that their ecological functions are protected or restored and that critical ecological connections are established and/ or maintained to the areas. This is particularly important when Network Gaps are identified. Connections to and around these areas improve the long-term sustainability of the SCAs. Other wildlife habitat types of countywide significance exist that are unique and in need of conservation. Many of these habitats occur within the network’s Evaluation Areas that should be used to determine where Network Gaps need to be identified. 30 | The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission


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The following are general descriptions of the 13 Special Conservation Areas. The numbers refer to the designations of each SCA on Map 3. 1.

Beltsville Agricultural Research Center—The Beltsville Agricultural Research Center (BARC), located in the northern part of the County, is owned by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and includes approximately 6,500 acres. It is among the largest and most diversified agricultural research complexes in the world. BARC has experimental pastures, nurseries, orchards, gardens, fields for cultivated crops, and forested ecosystems. This complex has large areas of open space that provide important ecological and wildlife network connections. The site also contains a wide variety of habitats that provide extensive research opportunities. Its placement in the green infrastructure network’s Evaluation Area emphasizes that any future land use of the area should be carefully considered.

2.

Patuxent Research Refuge—The Patuxent Research Refuge is the nation’s only national wildlife refuge established to support wildlife research. The refuge is 12,841 acres and is owned by the U.S. Department of Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service; 4,300 acres of the refuge are located in Prince George’s County. Throughout decades of change, Patuxent’s mission of conserving and protecting the nation’s wildlife and habitat through research and wildlife management techniques has remained virtually unchanged. The site also contains the National Wildlife Visitor’s Center, providing educational opportunities related to wildlife conservation. The land that comprises the Patuxent Research Refuge supports a wide diversity of wildlife in forest, meadow, and wetland habitats. The land is managed to maintain biological diversity for the protection and benefit of native and migratory species. During the fall and spring migrations, many waterfowl species stop to rest and feed. More than 200 species of birds occur on the refuge. A nesting pair of bald eagles has used the refuge since 1989. The Refuge is expanding its investigation of other areas for land conservation efforts in order to ensure a sustainable land base for the wildlife the Refuge supports. Particular attention should be given to minimizing forest fragmentation in the area. The refuge is one of the largest forested areas in the mid-Atlantic region and provides critical breeding habitat and an important nesting area for a variety of bird species. Biologists at the refuge have found that increasing forest fragmentation due to urban development has reduced many populations of neotropical migratory birds utilizing the refuge.

3.

Greenbelt Park—Greenbelt Park is one of the largest natural sanctuaries within the urbanized areas in the region. The mixed evergreen/deciduous forest provides a refreshing escape. The park’s 1,100 acres provide facilities for camping, hiking, cycling, picnicking, and a variety of other outdoor pursuits. The park is owned and operated by the National Park Service. Greenbelt Park provides a large area of connectivity within the larger context of the inner-beltway communities. Connections surrounding the park should be maintained and enhanced or restored whenever possible.

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Map 3. Special Conservation Areas

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Green Infrastructure Plan: A Countywide Functional Master Plan

4.

Main Stem of the Anacostia River—The Anacostia River main stem (from the County line to the confluence of the Northeast and Northwest Branches) contains tidal waters that flow landward into one of the farthest points in Prince George’s County. This highly manipulated urban waterway is an important historic spawning ground for anadromous fish such as alewife herring, blueback herring, hickory shad, white perch, striped bass, yellow perch, American eel, and sea lamprey. These species spend most of their lives in saltwater but return to fresh water to spawn. For the past 30 years, the Anacostia main stem and the freshwater tributaries immediately upstream have been the focus of efforts to improve the waterways through reducing flooding, removing stream blockages, improving stream bank stability, replanting lost stream buffers, and improving water quality. The goal is to reopen the historic spawning grounds and to replace important portions of the green infrastructure network that were denuded as the Washington metropolitan region expanded. As development and redevelopment within this watershed occur, lost habitat should be restored and water quality should be improved.

5.

Belt Woods—Belt Woods is one of the few remaining old-age upland forests in the Atlantic Coastal Plain physiographic province. It is an upland hardwood forest dominated by tulip poplar and white oak, supporting a dense and diverse bird population. The density of birds breeding at Belt Woods is among the highest observed on the East Coast. Critical wildlife connections and wetlands of special state concern support this system and should be maintained and enhanced. Development surrounding this site should be conducted sensitively and should consider the needs of the flora and fauna of this unique community. Belt Woods is owned by the State of Maryland and is managed by the Western Shore Conservancy. It is recognized by the National Park Service as a national natural landmark.

6.

Suitland Bog—Suitland Bog is one of few remaining Magnolia Bogs (also known as seepage bogs) that were once much more extensive in the region—about 30 bogs were once known to exist in the Washington area. Suitland Bog is located inside the Beltway and includes approximately 60 acres of unique wetland habitat. The site is owned by The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) and is known for its rare plant life and a variety of carnivorous plants, as well as rare and threatened plants, that thrive there. The three most important impacts that could affect Suitland Bog are direct encroachment causing habitat loss, sedimentation, and alteration of surface and/or ground water flow patterns. Activities within the Suitland Bog watershed should maintain ground water flow to the bog, limit surface water flooding of the bog, and reduce or eliminate sediment reaching the bog.

7.

Patuxent River Corridor—Efforts to protect the entire Patuxent watershed began in the 1960s through Maryland’s Patuxent River Watershed Act, encouraging the seven counties bordering the river to preserve its natural lands. Today, M-NCPPC owns more than 7,400 acres of marshes, swamps, and woodlands along the river, known collectively as the Patuxent River Park. Together with many thousands of acres owned by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and other counties, protected lands along the Patuxent compose one of Maryland’s premier greenways. The preservation of the natural environment and the river’s scenic character are priorities along this corridor. To this end, much of the Patuxent River watershed is located in the Rural and Agricultural Area, outside the public water and sewer area. The low-density zoning and the existing and proposed conservation methods of this plan should serve to add to the protection of this river and its tributaries.

8.

Jug Bay Complex—Jug Bay Natural Area of the Patuxent River Park and the Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary. a. Patuxent River Park/Jug Bay Natural Area—The Jug Bay Natural Area of the Patuxent River Park, near Upper Marlboro, provides some of the best bird watching opportunities in Maryland. More than 290 species have been recorded here, more than 100 of those confirmed Resource Conservation Plan | 33


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as nesting, including the least bittern, which is a species in need of conservation. Jug Bay has been designated an Important Birding Area by the National Audubon Society. There is also a companion natural area across the river in Anne Arundel County—Jug Bay Wildlife Sanctuary— and together the complex exceeds 2,000 acres. The marshes here boast one of the largest stands of wild rice in Maryland, attracting large numbers of migrating sora rails and waterfowl in the early fall. Many of the visitors to this area, as well as residents of the surrounding community, enjoy the educational and recreational bird watching opportunities at Jug Bay. The area has been designated as a component of the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve system, which encourages long-term research in the area. Jug Bay is often described as a microcosm of the Chesapeake Bay because of its wide range of ecosystems, with marsh and river surrounded by fields and forest. Jug Bay itself is a spectacular expanse of open water, where the Patuxent River slows to loop around high bluffs to the west in Prince George’s County and spreads across low-lying areas to the east, forming one of the largest wetland systems on the western shore. b. Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary—Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary is the only wildlife sanctuary operated by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources as a Natural Resource Management Area (NRMA). It is adjacent to the Patuxent River Park/Jug Bay NRMA and comprises more than 1,500 acres of marshland, woodlands, farm ponds, and fields along the picturesque Patuxent River. The sanctuary ranks ninth on the Smithsonian Institution’s Chesapeake Bay inventory of significant natural areas and contains the largest Canada goose wintering ground on the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay. Flocks of geese spend the winter at the sanctuary, and some remain for the summer to nest on the ponds and nearby marshes. Although the Jug Bay Complex includes a significant amount of land, one threat to its continued existence is water quality degradation. Within the Patuxent River watershed, special attention should be paid to maintaining and improving water quality. 9.

Piscataway Park and Mount Vernon Viewshed—Piscataway Park was established by Congress in 1961 to preserve the view of the Maryland shore of the Potomac River from George Washington’s home in Mount Vernon, Virginia. In his lifetime, George Washington wrote admiringly of the view, but the first written account of the landscape came from Captain John Smith. Smith visited the area in June 1608, meeting with native inhabitants in a town called Moyaone, the political center of the Piscataway chiefdom. While the written record of the area dates back to Smith, archeological evidence, such as that found at the Accokeek Creek Site, a designated National Historic Landmark, shows occupation of the area for 11,000 years. A recently completed Indigenous Cultural Landscape Study for the Nanjemoy and Mattawoman Creeks (National Park Service, November 2015) identifies

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opportunities for interpretation of native landscapes along the Captain John Smith Trail (CJST), which follows the shoreline of Piscataway Park. The park, owned and operated by the National Park Service, is approximately 5,000 acres (more than 1,000 acres within the County) and stretches for six miles along the Potomac River coastline from Piscataway Creek to Marshall Hall. The forests, fields, and wetlands of Piscataway Park provide habitat for a wide variety of wildlife and bird species. The number of forest-nesting neotropical migrant birds is especially high, and several warbler species that are sensitive to habitat fragmentation regularly nest in Piscataway Park. The Mount Vernon Viewshed, also known more broadly as the Area of Primary Concern, delineates the land in Virginia and Maryland that can be viewed from the porch of George Washington’s home in Virginia. This viewshed has been delineated using topographic modeling as shown on Map 11 (see page 117) in the RCCP. The conservation of this viewshed provides local benefits to the people of Prince George’s County through the protection of rural character and unique habitats, while also providing national benefits through the protection of a nationally-significant viewshed. Insensitive development of these private lands has the potential for cumulative erosion of the area’s environmental quality, rural character and viewshed integrity over time. Forest fragmentation within the Area of Primary Concern, the water quality of the Potomac and its tributaries, and the protection of wildlife and birding habitat are concerns for this SCA. Development surrounding the park should continue to protect the viewshed and protect the water quality of the Potomac. 10.

Mattawoman Creek Stream Valley—Mattawoman Creek and its tidal and nontidal wetlands are among the most productive finfish spawning and nursery streams in the Chesapeake Bay region. The wetland areas support unusually large numbers of fish-eating wildlife, especially great blue herons, great egrets, bald eagles, and blackcrowned night herons. The tidal wetlands contain the largest concentration of nesting wood ducks in Maryland. The quality of the water entering the stream systems in the watershed is of particular concern.

11.

Cedarville State Forest and Zekiah Swamp Watershed—Cedarville State Forest is an actively managed 3,625-acre forest at the headwaters of Maryland’s largest freshwater swamp, the Zekiah. Most of Cedarville is forested with more than 50 species of trees. Wildlife is abundant and forestry management practices have created successional forest habitats that enhance bird habitat. A unique feature of the forest is the Cedarville Bog, which is within the headwaters of the Zekiah Swamp. The bog supports a unique array of plants, such as sphagnum moss and insect-eating plants. The 77,000-acre Zekiah Swamp watershed is a vast complex of extensive hardwood swamp forests intermingled with shrub swamps, wetlands, grass and sedge savannas, open beaver ponds, and shallow pools. Zekiah Swamp Run, designated a wetland of special state concern and considered by the Smithsonian Institution as one of the most ecologically important on the East Coast, flows through the area in a southwesterly direction from Cedarville State Forest on the Prince George’s/ Charles County boundary to the Wicomico River, one of nine state-designated scenic rivers. The Zekiah Swamp is an undisturbed wild area with a densely vegetated interior supporting a diversity of plant and animal life, many of which are classified as rare, threatened, or endangered species. Maintenance of water hydrology is of particular concern for this special conservation area. Because much of the area is in private ownership, the potential exists for changes to the hydrology that may damage its long-term viability. This is an area that should receive protection through public or private conservation investments, and if surrounding areas are developed, the design of the land development proposals should seek to maintain the existing hydrology.

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12.

Potomac River Shoreline—Along the Potomac River shoreline there are a variety of existing and proposed land uses including national parkland, single-family detached homes, marinas, and the National Harbor project. There are many federal, state, local, nonprofit, and volunteer efforts underway to protect and restore the Potomac River. The Potomac River shoreline SCA within Prince George’s County includes areas supporting the main stem of the Potomac River as well as Piscataway Creek, Swan Creek, Broad Creek, and Oxon Cove. There are several national parks along the shoreline including Piscataway Park, Fort Foote, Harmony Hall/Broad Creek Historic District, Fort Washington, and Oxon Hill Farm. These areas contain woodlands, wetlands, important plant communities and wildlife habitats, as well as fossil and archeological resources, and they serve as important natural connectors along the river. All of the Potomac River shoreline in Prince George’s County is located in the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area, which has special regulations to ensure that development and other land uses are sensitive to the health of the bay. Water quality is of particular concern in this special conservation area, as is the preservation of the natural environment and the river’s scenic character. Forest fragmentation should be minimized and ecological connections between existing natural areas should be maintained and/or enhanced when development occurs.

13.

Broad Creek—The tidal wetlands at the mouth of Broad Creek have been identified as an area important to the overall ecology of the Lower Potomac River Basin. The natural productivity of this area is of great value to resident and migratory fish, waterfowl, and marsh birds. For this reason, the tidal wetlands of Broad Creek have been designated as an area of Critical State Concern. Future actions in this watershed should ensure the conservation and preservation of these wetlands.

Improving Surface and Ground Water Quality Prince George’s County is home to more than 621 miles of known streams within three major river basins. The Patuxent River basin covers roughly the eastern half of the County, the Anacostia River basin covers the northwest portions, and the Potomac River basin covers the southwest portions. These streams serve as the network of waterways that receive stormwater runoff from built and natural surfaces. As the stormwater hits the ground and moves toward these streams it picks up dirt, debris, grease, oil, trash, and other pollutants and deposits them into the receiving streams. The 2002 General Plan contains a measurable objective to address the important issue of water quality:

“Protect and enhance water quality in watersheds by, at a minimum, maintaining the 2001 condition ratings of all watersheds countywide.” 36 | The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission


Green Infrastructure Plan: A Countywide Functional Master Plan

Figure 5. Watershed Ratings as Reported in the 2005 Green Infrastructure Plan 10%

Very Poor Poor

38%

52%

Fair

These ratings were reported in the 2005 GI Plan and are based on the 1999-2003 biological assessments. Recent studies have shown that no statistical change in water quality has occurred over time. The rating scale includes categories of “good” and “very good” but there were no watersheds with this rating in the County when evaluated at this scale. See Map 4 on page 39 for an analysis of water quality at a larger watershed scale.

Subsequently, the 2005 GI Plan contained two measurable objectives (numbered 5 and 6 in the GI Plan) addressing the need to improve the quality of the water in receiving streams:

“By the year 2025, improve stream habitat in each major watershed to elevate the Benthic Index of Biological Integrity (IBI) rating [or habitat rating for objective 6] of the watershed by at least one category using as a baseline the 1999-2003 biological assessment of the streams and watersheds of Prince George’s County completed by the Department of Environmental Resources.” The plan acknowledges that future sampling would be needed to measure the change in biological integrity or habitat over time:

“Tracking this objective: The County has just completed its first round of five-year sampling covering all watersheds. As the rotating sampling efforts are completed in the future, the Benthic Index of Biotic Integrity [or habitat] rating will be compared to the previous rating to determine if the rating is higher, lower, or the same.” The water quality in the County’s streams has been deteriorating over time, but prior to the use of biological stream survey studies, a reliable and replicable method for measuring long-term stream and subwatershed health had not been established at the County level. To measure water quality over time, the County and M-NCPPC funded countywide water quality sampling in two rounds between 1999 and 2013 that have been summarized in the report Water Quality: Summary of Bioassessments 1999–2013. There have been several difficulties in tracking water quality conditions over time as summarized in the report such as the scale of the watersheds for reporting (previous data had been reported for 41 small watersheds, WIP data are reported for nine larger watersheds) and the low number of samples taken per small watershed. The report shows no statistical difference in the water quality sampled over this time period. Moving forward, there needs to be consistent and concerted effort to measure and report countywide water quality, using the same scale of reporting that is used by the Maryland Department of the Environment for reporting measures taken to address the WIP. Map 4 shows water quality ratings for watersheds at the scale that is used for reporting on the WIP (eight-digit watersheds).

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The implementation of the policies and strategies contained in this plan, when coupled with the County’s efforts to implement the WIP and Plan 2035’s desired development pattern, should result in significantly improved water quality by 2035.

Protecting Potable Water Sources The majority of the County’s public water supply is the responsibility of the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission. Most of the County’s public drinking water supply is sourced from the Patuxent River, upriver from Prince George’s County. There are a few public wells and many private wells throughout the County. Private wells are primarily located in the Plan 2035 designated Rural and Agricultural Areas, which are outside the public sewer envelope. The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission monitors and provides the treatment of the County’s public drinking water to ensure its quality. The Water Resources Functional Master Plan addresses land use policies for potable water and should be reviewed for guidance on drinking water supply issues. The GI Plan updates the plan with respect to supporting regional environmental planning efforts to protect the Patuxent River watershed upriver, monitoring available private well information, and continuing to prohibit hydraulic fracturing to protect ground water.

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Map 4. Watershed Condition Ratings

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The State of Maryland identifies waterways as an important focus of water quality protection efforts— Stronghold Watersheds and Tier II waters. Stronghold watersheds are defined as places where rare, threatened, or endangered species of fish, amphibians, reptiles, or mussels have the highest numbers and thus are the watersheds most important for the protection of Maryland’s biodiversity. Tier II waters are those stream segments whose water quality exceeds the minimum standards to support the existing or designated uses and, in the event of an anticipated amendment to the County’s water and sewer plan or issuance of a discharge permit, will be subject to an antidegradation review. These waterways are not mapped as part of this plan because both the names and locations of these features could change over time. They are noted here and in the plan strategies under the designation of “state-designated priority waterways” to capture these areas of special concern during evaluation of land development proposals and other aspects of land use decision-making. Addressing water quality at the site scale includes an evaluation of the condition of the watershed within which the development is occurring. The health of the stream(s) to receive the runoff from the development should be assessed and methods proposed to address current conditions through enhancement and/or establishment of forested buffers and/or the restoration of lost ecological functions. The on-site methods proposed to address water quality and water quantity controls must be designed to reduce or eliminate impacts on receiving streams. Combining efforts to reduce forest clearing, with reduced and cleaner stormwater runoff, should result in improved water quality over time.

Preserving, Enhancing and Restoring Canopy Coverage Plan 2035 set a 20-year, no-net-loss goal of maintaining the existing 52 percent forest and tree canopy coverage. This is compatible with the state’s overall no-net-loss goal of 40 percent statewide. Strategies need to be in place to ensure that this goal is met. Plan 2035 recommends the creation of a Forest and Tree Canopy Strategy to address how this goal will be met. This strategy is provided in this plan by addressing the four main components of forest and tree canopy conservation: • Preserving existing forests • Addressing forest health • Planting more trees • Planting trees where they will survive These four components, and the supporting policies and strategies provided in this plan, comprise the Forest and Tree Canopy Strategy for Prince George’s County. The four components of the strategy are addressed in more detail below. Before discussing the strategy, the terms forest canopy and tree canopy need to be defined to provide a better picture of how to address them together and separately. See Figure 6 for an illustration of forest canopy and tree canopy.

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Green Infrastructure Plan: A Countywide Functional Master Plan

Figure 6. Forest and Tree Canopy Defined

Preserving Existing Forests The main focus of the 2005 GI Plan was on the conservation of significant remaining ecosystems using the existing stream network and connected forests as the framework. Large landscape-scale conservation efforts have long been a part of the Chesapeake Bay region. Concentrated efforts to save the Chesapeake Bay have been ongoing for more than three decades; however, several largescale forest preservation and connectivity efforts are just beginning. Implementation of the GI Plan should seek to support these larger efforts by ensuring that ecological connections are maintained and restored where possible.

Examples of regional land conservation efforts that should inform local decisions regarding connectivity:

• Baltimore-Washington Partnership for Forest Stewardship • Greater Baltimore Wilderness Coalition • Patuxent Research Refuge Land Conservation Design Project

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As noted in the report The Economic Values of Nature: An Assessment of the Ecosystem Services of Forest and Tree Canopy, the annual economic benefits of the County’s forest and tree canopy include: • Providing $430 million in benefits by cleaning the air. • Providing $12.8 billion in benefits by cleaning the water. • Reducing temperatures in canopied communities by 9 to 13 degrees.

Addressing Forest Health While measuring the total acreage of forests countywide has value and is needed to evaluate the goal over time, a more meaningful measure of sustainability is forest health. The technology is not currently available to measure forest health on a large scale, so this issue needs to be addressed as opportunities arise, giving preference to healthier forests over less healthy forests when making land use decisions.

Ongoing challenges to forest health:

• Increasing fragmentation • Increasing percentage of forest edges • Shifts in plant and animal species and reductions in diversity • Forest pests such as the Emerald Ash Borer and the Asian Longhorn Beetle • Human actions such as planting invasive plants, removing the understory, and over mulching • Deer browse

Several Maryland publications have been providing updates on the health of the state’s forests. The issues of greatest concern remain forest loss and fragmentation, a shift in species composition from climate change and changes to the overall landscape, increases in the percentage of invasive plants, and increasing concerns about insect pests such as the Asian longhorn beetle and emerald ash borer. Other forest pests being monitored include the gypsy moth and the forest tent caterpillar. Invasive plants are a concern because they provide few benefits to the ecosystem and humans and they occupy precious space in natural areas where native plants could be providing increased benefits to humans and wildlife. It is difficult to measure and monitor forest health at the County scale; however, several forest management techniques can provide ways to improve forest health and avoid potential health issues in the future.

Forest Health Guiding Principles • Larger and wider is better. As decisions are made to disturb existing forests, deference should be given to creating forest patches that are as large and wide as possible. Forest patches that are more than 200 feet wide provide precious Core Forest interiors that are necessary for some plants and animals to survive. Patches more than 600 feet wide provide interior forest habitat that is critical to the survival of certain bird species called Forest Interior Dwelling species (FIDS). • Connected is better. The more that a forest and its inhabitants can share genetic material with a larger breeding population, the healthier everyone will be. Connectivity also provides wildlife with opportunities to move around and connect to other populations and areas with greater diversity.

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• Keep and improve existing forest edges. When a new forest edge is created, the disturbance often results in invasive plants moving in that take the place of native plants that could be restoring a healthy forest edge. It takes decades to restore new forest edges to a healthy condition and, in the meantime, the invasive plants, especially aggressive ones like kudzu, can overtake an area and make restoration difficult. New forest edges should not be created when development occurs, and if edges are created, they should be planted with shade trees and other plants to reduce the impacts of invasive plants and other impacts of new forest edges.

According to the study Forest Fragmentation, in 2009 Prince George’s County had more Edge Forests (51 percent of the forests) than Core Forests (49 percent of forests), reflecting a tipping point for forest health. Edge Forests are those within 100 feet of a forest edge and often contain invasive plants that do not contribute to the overall system the way native plants do. Core Forests are critically important to overall forest health and to providing necessary wildlife habitat.

• Conserve diverse landscapes. One of the difficulties in conserving a diversity of landscapes and diverse species communities is the tendency for conservation to focus only on those areas where humans cannot (or should not) build such as streams, wetlands, and floodplains. In order to provide both humans and wildlife with the ongoing benefits of green spaces, more attention needs to be paid to the contribution that each landscape makes to the overall green infrastructure network and what benefits the landscape may make to the whole. Forests become fragmented from each other as a result of a variety of human actions. Under the definition of Green Infrastructure used in this plan, there is a need to address more than just a network of ecological areas, but also a broader view of the ways that the environment supports human health. The study The Economic Values of Nature: An Assessment of the Ecosystem Services of Forest and Tree Canopy found that the County’s existing 52 percent forest and tree canopy provides benefits to humans through cleaner air, cleaner water, and reduced temperatures. These annual benefits include reduced or eliminated health care costs and the infrastructure costs to construct facilities that would provide the same benefits. The 2010 Forest Canopy Assessment showed predicted losses of forest canopy coverage based on approved tree conservation plans. The study concluded that, with the implementation of the updated environmental regulations enacted in 2010, it should be possible to meet the Plan 2035 goal of maintaining the County’s 52 percent forest and tree canopy coverage. It is estimated that if every single-family detached property in the County planted one shade tree, in 10 years that would amount to approximately 100 acres of new tree canopy coverage.

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Even though the economic recession resulted in the slowing of development activity and a corresponding slowing of the annual forest acreage loss, the annual loss figures demonstrate that to maintain the County’s current 52 percent forest and tree canopy coverage, the planting of new trees will not be enough. The conservation of existing forests, in connected communities, that are healthy and can survive long-term are needed. Focusing only on the total acres of forests conserved does not provide a complete picture. To be sustainable over time, forests need to be healthy. While some of the issues are more of a challenge to control than others, the shape and configuration of these forests could be improved to ensure their longterm sustainability.

Planting More Trees Plant more trees; this is one aspect of the Forest and Tree Canopy Strategy that is fairly obvious. This can be a challenge in a variety of ways. In natural settings, when trying to grow a forest from scratch (afforestation), or where a forest existed until recently (reforestation), there are two main challenges: the poor health of the soil and the size of the local white-tailed deer population who forage on seedlings planted for these purposes. Soil issues can be addressed by the incorporation of organic matter; however, compacted soils are difficult to recover. Care must be taken to prevent soil compaction where planting is to take place. Vegetation management can also be a challenge because of the need to control competing vegetation as the new trees become established. One of the best ways to address this issue is to plant larger caliper trees, especially along the edges of the areas being planted to delineate them. Tree tubes have been used in some areas with success where the deer populations are especially high. Planting more trees in urban settings can be difficult because of the competition for limited space outside of buildings, parking lots, and roads. Moving forward, it will be important to carefully plan green spaces, streets, and open spaces to allow adequate root and canopy space for trees. Planting Trees Where They Will Survive Plan 2035 envisions a shift from building more suburban communities to growing in ways that are more sustainable, where compact and efficient development serves the needs of more people. To ensure that these new communities are livable places that provide clean air, clean water, and moderated temperatures, and that are pleasant, welcoming, vibrant, and healthy, the provision of green spaces and tree canopy coverage are critical design elements. The current Zoning Ordinance, Landscape Manual, and Road Code and associated Standards were originally written with a

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suburban growth model in mind and are currently being updated. As we move forward into a different way of growing that serves more people more equitably, new design standards are needed to ensure that planted trees survive long enough to provide more robust benefits. Planting trees in more constructed environments is a challenge because the spaces left for planting trees are often too small compared to those used in urban settings. Street trees in particular are often not provided the rooting or canopy space needed to survive. With regard to reforesting with tree seedlings, the remaining soil in reforestation areas is not adequate to support the long-term survival of the planted trees because it is compacted and devoid of organic matter. In order to harness the canopy benefits from planting more trees, more viable spaces, with adequate and appropriate soils, are needed. Design standards for urban tree spaces need to address: • Providing adequate soil amendments, root space, and soil volume for both preserving and planting trees. • Using appropriate soil amendments for robust root growth. • Selecting tree species that can withstand the conditions. • Providing multiple functions for open and green spaces such as gathering, wayfinding, stormwater management, parks, open space requirements, and tree canopy requirements.

Greening the Built Environment The vision of Plan 2035 is for Prince George’s County to provide “…strong, green, healthy communities… [with] quality open space; restored ecosystems; and iconic destinations.” One aspect of green and healthy communities is providing built environments that are welcoming and where people want to spend time. This means they need to have green and open spaces for people to congregate and they need buildings that are healthy and have fewer impacts on the environment.

There are two types of green roofs, intensive, which are thicker and contain more plant types, and extensive green roofs, which are shallow and contain fewer plant types—mainly low-growing succulents. The average 5,000-square-foot extensive green roof provides benefits to communities through cleaner air and reduced temperatures at the rate of:

Green buildings incorporate sustainable practices $190,000 over 50 years throughout the design, construction, and operation stages = $3,800 per year in such as reducing waste of materials during construction, using locally-sourced materials, and providing interior community benefits for spaces that are healthy. Other green building tools include one green roof! living architecture such as living walls and structures, green roofs that absorb rainwater and regulate interior building temperatures, and rainwater collection of all types. Green buildings and infrastructure reduce the demand for energy and cost less over the life cycle of the structure than traditional building methods. One of the economic development strategies in the County is to increase the number of County-based jobs. Increasing the number of green buildings creates demand for green and locally-sourced building materials and local expertise for design and construction. Creating local demand for these products and skills could result in a surge in green jobs in related industries. The County is also well positioned to Resource Conservation Plan | 45


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develop this market because of the amount of available warehouse and industrial spaces that could be converted to production of green building materials. There are also potential opportunities within the County to increase use of renewable energy sources; however, the installation of supporting infrastructure for power derived from these sources should be done in such a way that other valuable assets, such as agricultural land and clean water, are not lost. Practices which are employed to generate power but can leave ground water sources contaminated, such as fracking, should continue to be banned. There are many benefits to greening the built environment. Incorporating green building features into new development and redevelopment projects can improve indoor air quality, water quality, and energy efficiency; promote the adoption of renewable energy and water conservation; and reduce stormwater, the use of toxins, and waste. All of these factors contribute to the Plan 2035 goal of improving the health of our residents and workers.

Climate Change and Sea Level Rise Climate change and sea level rise will impact the built environment and the natural environment. In Prince George’s County, these changes will primarily impact three areas: • Increases in the level of mean high tide in areas of tidal waters (along the Potomac shoreline, portions of the Anacostia River, and the Patuxent River north to approximately Queen Anne Road). • Increases in the impacts of severe weather events that include periodic flooding events and the creation of new wetlands both in tidal areas and inland areas where they do not currently exist. • Changes in vegetation over time because of increasing temperatures and changes in the cycles of seasons. Table 2 provides a description of the areas impacted by each climate change threat and options for how to address it. These are not intended to be exhaustive lists and are focused on environmental land use solutions. Table 2. Possible Solutions to Climate Change Threats Climate Change Threat

Areas Impacted

How to address?

Tidal changes

All of the Potomac shoreline and portions of the Anacostia and Patuxent Rivers

These areas are subject to the Chesapeake and Coastal Bays regulations at the state level that are regulated in the County through the County Code in Subtitle 5B and other subtitles as the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area. It is located within 1,000 feet of mean high tide. This line was updated in 2015 and will likely need to be updated periodically as tide levels change. Future infrastructure decisions in these areas should be carefully considered and planned for predicted levels of tides and severe weather events.

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Green Infrastructure Plan: A Countywide Functional Master Plan

Climate Change Threat

Areas Impacted

How to address?

Impacts of severe weather events and drought

Flooding: FEMA flood maps have been updated

In 2016, the Federal Emergency Management Agency flood maps were updated to reflect current conditions. These maps provide the County and property owners with necessary information for decision-making moving forward and result in cost savings to homeowners seeking flood insurance.

Wetlands: Areas important for climate change adaptation were mapped by Maryland DNR

The DNR mapped Wetland Adaptation Areas were included in the Evaluation Area mapping as part of the green infrastructure designated network.

Countywide

The primary impact of drought is usually on domestic water supplies. Because Prince George’s County obtains most of its public drinking water supply from the Patuxent and Potomac Rivers, efforts to protect and conserve this watershed should be ongoing. Forests, trees, and landscape plants also suffer during a drought. Planting more resilient species will help green spaces to tolerate changing conditions.

Existing and planted vegetation countywide

The increasing pressures of climate change emphasize the need for redoubled efforts to remove invasive plants and restore healthy forests and landscapes.

Changes in vegetation types

As new vegetation is planted, species should be selected that can tolerate the conditions of today and the future. Native, resilient species should be chosen, using “right plant/ right place principles” and minimizing the use of cultivars. Trees selected for urban conditions must be able to tolerate the potentially harsh microclimates and support stormwater management for both quality and quantity.

Climate Action Plan In 2012, the County completed a draft Climate Action Plan (CAP) that identifies three broad categories of activities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that intersect with this plan including transportation, land use, and government operations. The draft CAP promotion of connectivity to facilitate bicycle and pedestrian trails is consistent with this plan’s policies to increase the connectivity of built and natural green spaces. Tree planting figures prominently under land use in the draft CAP. Trees reduce the urban heat island effect and extract carbon dioxide from the air. In this way, tree canopy goals, including planting and preservation, advance both the goals of this plan and those of the draft CAP. By adopting a broader definition of green that includes energy goals, the GI Plan and the draft CAP are aligned in commitments to promote and achieve renewable portfolios. This includes solar installations on government properties, energy efficiency retrofits, conservation strategies, and the use of power purchasing agreements.

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Hazard Mitigation Plan The Prince George’s County Hazard Mitigation Plan aims to reduce the vulnerability of citizens and the built environment to flood and fire impacts. The GI Plan supports this aim by calling for the conservation of natural areas, including flood hazard areas. The preservation of natural areas identified as flood hazard areas during the development process and the land conservation strategies proposed in the GI plan significantly advance hazard mitigation goals. Additionally, the goal to reduce forest fragmentation by contiguous preservation supports the long-term survival of native plants thus decreasing local fire vulnerability.

Stewardship, Outreach, and Education

Stewardship Ideas:

People are more aware of their environment than in the past but unfortunately are more disconnected from it. With our attention being paid to electronic devices instead of to our surroundings, it is difficult to engage people in doing the work needed to conserve natural resources and spaces. Through stewardship, outreach, and education, people’s connection to the outdoors can be restored.

• Lead by example • Award excellence • Support existing organizations

Public agencies who are land managers can provide a good example for citizens regarding how to care for and manage natural resources. By maintaining public lands in sustainable ways—reducing the use of chemicals, reducing mowing (and the burning of fossil fuels), and restoring lost habitat where possible— public land managers can demonstrate to County citizens and workers how they should manage their land. One method to promote land stewardship is to provide a land conservation awards program where positive and example-setting projects can be publicly recognized. This type of program can motivate people to adopt more green practices. Another method to promote both stewardship and education is the establishment of an environmental advisory committee that can provide County elected and appointed officials with advice on environmental matters. Outreach and education have been strong elements of the WIP’s implementation in the County. These efforts should be continued, and expanded where possible, to address a variety of environmental issues countywide. Partnerships with organizations who are already doing outreach efforts are also a valuable tool to expand the message to more people.

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IMPLEMENTATION The following policies and strategies, in addition to those found in other plans, provide the decisionmaking framework for land use decisions countywide. They are grouped by the policy areas described above and provide guidance for County agencies and commissions, residents, nonprofits, and businesses.

Preserving, Enhancing, Connecting, Restoring, Protecting, and Maintaining a Green Infrastructure Network POLICY 1: Preserve, enhance and restore the green infrastructure network and its ecological functions while supporting the desired development pattern of Plan 2035.

Strategies 1.1

Ensure that areas of connectivity and ecological functions are maintained, restored and/or established by: a. Using the designated green infrastructure network as a guide to decision-making and using it as an amenity in the site design and development review processes. b. Protecting plant, fish, and wildlife habitats and maximizing the retention and/or restoration of the ecological potential of the landscape by prioritizing healthy, connected ecosystems for conservation. c. Protecting existing resources when constructing stormwater management features and when providing mitigation for impacts. d. Recognizing the ecosystem services provided by diverse land uses, such as woodlands, wetlands, meadows, urban forests, farms and grasslands within the green infrastructure network and work toward maintaining or restoring connections between these landscapes. e. Coordinating implementation between County agencies, with adjoining jurisdictions and municipalities, and other regional green infrastructure efforts. f. Targeting land acquisition and ecological restoration activities within state-designated priority waterways such as stronghold watersheds and Tier II waters.

1.2

Ensure that Sensitive Species Project Review Areas and Special Conservation Areas (SCAs), and the critical ecological systems supporting them, are preserved, enhanced, connected, restored, and protected. a. Identify critical ecological systems and ensure they are preserved and/or protected during the site design and development review processes. b. Prioritize use of public funds to preserve, enhance, connect, restore, and protect critical ecological systems.

1.3

Integrate into the work programs of all County agencies the priority status of the designated green infrastructure network as the County’s highest priority areas for preservation, restoration, and enhancement of natural resources.

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POLICY 2: Support implementation of the GI Plan throughout the planning process. 2.1

Identify opportunities for implementation of the GI Plan as new master and sector plans are prepared by reviewing the local green infrastructure network boundaries with respect to: a. Areas of local significance. b. Opportunities for connectivity through the designation of Network Gaps. c. Areas designated in local green infrastructure or sustainability plans that are in need of conservation. d. Historic properties with environmental significance. e. Specific areas in need of mitigation or restoration.

2.2

Revise applicable ordinances and/or standards to allow the use of flexible design standards to: minimize impervious surfaces; reduce fragmentation of existing forests and habitats; establish new linkages through planting and/or restoration; and minimize ecological impacts. a. Prepare and adopt flexible design standards to allow alternative designs in areas where development is encouraged, such as the Plan 2035 designated Downtowns, Regional Transit Districts, the Innovation Corridor, and Local Centers. b. When flexible design standards are allowed: (1) Ensure that the standards result in equitable and accessible green and open spaces. (2) Ensure that the public has physical and/or visual access to the green and open spaces where appropriate through the provision of access and views from an existing or proposed sidewalk, trail, or roadway. (3) Continue to support the ability of projects to build to the desired pattern and density of Plan 2035 by allowing limited and necessary impacts to regulated environmental features where necessary for stormwater features. (4) Provide options for the design of impervious surfaces such as the use of permeable pavement for areas of occasional vehicle access.

2.3

Strengthen regulations where environmental conditions warrant and provide greater flexibility where development is targeted. a. Strictly limit development impacts to regulated environmental features to activities that are absolutely necessary and unavoidable for construction of road crossings, the installation of necessary public utilities, or the placement of stormwater outfalls when no alternatives are feasible. b. Allow impacts to regulated environmental features as appropriate to accommodate new development and redevelopment within designated Downtowns, Regional Transit Districts, the Innovation Corridor, and Local Centers and where needed to accommodate planned development on constrained sites. Mitigation for these impacts should be provided as close to the area of impact as possible.

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c. Evaluate streamlining the woodland and landscaping requirements for urban redevelopment and infill development projects by revising the existing requirements regarding open/green spaces, woodland conservation, and tree canopy coverage into a comprehensive Green Area Ratio requirement. 2.4

Identify Network Gaps when reviewing land development applications and determine the best method to bridge the gap: preservation of existing forests, vegetation, and/or landscape features, and/ or planting of a new corridor with reforestation, landscaping and/or street trees.

2.5

Continue to require mitigation during the development review process for impacts to regulated environmental features, with preference given to locations on-site, within the same watershed as the development creating the impact, and within the green infrastructure network.

2.6

Strategically locate off-site mitigation to restore, enhance and/or protect the green infrastructure network and protect existing resources while providing mitigation.

POLICY 3: Ensure public expenditures for staffing, programs, and infrastructure to support the implementation of the GI Plan. 3.1

Continue public acquisition of land and easements in stream valleys designated in the Land Preservation Parks and Recreation Plan. a. Seek additional funding sources for acquisition and conservation easements. Coordinate and strategize the acquisition of public lands with the Parks and Recreation Foundation. b. Identify ways to coordinate with and provide support to land trusts to achieve plan goals. c. Evaluate public land acquisition processes to ensure that the natural resources present on properties that are unique and in need of conservation are considered as part the acquisition process.

3.2

Ensure that immediate and future impacts to the green infrastructure network are minimized, if not avoided, when public facilities and infrastructure are constructed. a. Strategically plan and fund public infrastructure, such as stormwater management facilities and sewer and water lines, to support the desired development pattern of Plan 2035 and concentrate growth outside of the green infrastructure network in so far as possible. b. Consider modifying the review process for public facility and infrastructure projects to prioritize those that have a reduced impact on the environment or that include ecological restoration as a key element. c. Ensure that public facilities and infrastructure consider the impacts of sea level rise and extreme weather events in their designs. d. Minimize forest and ecosystem fragmentation when public facilities are built in the green infrastructure network and maintain ecological functions of the network. e. Colocate utilities in urban settings to reduce or minimize the impact on the green infrastructure network. Consider establishing a framework to hold regular/annual meetings with utilities in order to coordinate planning investment and development needs.

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3.3

Design transportation systems to minimize fragmentation and maintain the ecological functioning of the green infrastructure network. a. Provide wildlife and water-based fauna with safe passage under or across roads, sidewalks, and trails as appropriate. Consider the use of arched or bottomless culverts or bridges when existing structures are replaced or new roads are constructed. b. Locate trail systems outside the regulated environmental features and their buffers to the fullest extent possible. Where trails must be located within a regulated buffer, they must be designed to minimize clearing and grading and to use low impact surfaces.

3.4

Ensure full compliance with and enforcement of all existing regulations including the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area (CBCA) and the Woodland and Wildlife Conservation Ordinance. a. Evaluate the existing enforcement process for meeting the regulatory requirements and penalties for noncompliance to determine how enforcement measures can be improved. b. Enhance enforcement efforts associated with state-mandated tree conservation and CBCA plans. c. Improve enforcement efforts on sites with state oversight to ensure conformance with County approved grading permits and tree conservation and CBCA plans.

3.5

Encourage interior forest restoration and preservation by creating exclusion or limited use areas where forest interior dwelling bird species (FIDS) habitat is present on public lands.

POLICY 4: Provide the necessary tools for implementation of the GI Plan. 4.1

Prepare and adopt landscape design standards that provide a menu of scored landscape element options to create flexible development regulations in support of Plan 2035’s desired shift in focus from greenfield development to infill and redevelopment.

4.2

Continue to require the placement of conservation easements over areas of regulated environmental features, preserved or planted forests, appropriate portions of land contributing to Special Conservation Areas, and other lands containing sensitive features.

4.3

Create a catalog of targeted mitigation sites. a. Coordinate County agencies to create a countywide, cross-referenced database for the identification and tracking of off-site mitigation projects for woodland conservation; stream, wetland, and ecological function restoration; potential environmental mitigation sites identified; and stormwater management mitigation areas. b. Coordinate contributions of data for possible mitigation sites from all sources (e.g., County, state, and federal agencies, citizens, nonprofits, etc.). c. Conduct stream corridor assessment surveys of major waterways periodically and enter data into the countywide database. d. Include information collected during the preparation of existing conditions reports for master and sector plans into the countywide database.

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4.4

Prepare an action plan for recommendations contained in this plan to identify: a. Who is responsible for implementing the strategies. b. What tasks need to be accomplished. c. Time frames for implementation. d. Resources needed for implementation. e. How progress will be monitored and evaluated.

4.5

Periodically assess the progress of meeting the objectives of the GI Plan and update the action plan as necessary to ensure successful implementation.

4.6

Provide incentives to encourage nonregulatory compliance with plan strategies. a. Continue to evaluate options for transference of development rights from places where development is not desired to places where development is encouraged by Plan 2035. b. Evaluate how density bonuses could maximize on-site preservation of natural resources.

Improving Surface and Ground Water Quality POLICY 5: Improve water quality through stream restoration, stormwater management, water resource protection, and strategic conservation of natural lands.

Strategies 5.1

Continue to coordinate efforts across County agencies to implement and meet the State and Federal pollution reduction requirements of current and future phases of the County’s Watershed Implementation Plan for Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) and state stormwater permit requirements.

5.2

Continue to utilize the local stormwater utility fees to fund projects and programs to meet the stormwater pollutant load reductions mandated under Federal and State laws and to improve the water quality of local streams and the Chesapeake Bay.

5.3

Strategically select projects for implementation that improve water quality by ensuring that projects that provide the greatest ecosystem services and the highest immediate benefit are given priority.

5.4

Prioritize stormwater restoration projects that will support the future land use pattern of Plan 2035. Designated Downtowns, Regional Transit Districts, the Innovation Corridor, and Local Centers should be given priority for stormwater retrofits, especially environmental site design practices and projects that address water quantity controls and address flooding.

5.5

Continue the comprehensive and coordinated tracking program used to monitor implementation of Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) projects and routinely share this information with other County agencies.

5.6

Continue to monitor water quality at the eight-digit watershed scale and report progress as appropriate over time.

5.7

Continue to include in master and sector plans an analysis of the existing issues related to stormwater runoff, identify possible solutions, and share the results with County agencies.

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5.8

Limit the placement of stormwater structures within the boundaries of regulated environmental features and their buffers to outfall pipes or other features that cannot be located elsewhere.

5.9

Prioritize the preservation and replanting of vegetation along streams and wetlands to create and expand forested stream buffers to improve water quality.

5.10 Identify strategies to reduce impervious surfaces by amending the County Code and/or standards and coordinating with County agencies. Include in this discussion the reduction of parking requirements, use of shared drive aisles and driveways, and the sizes of roadways. 5.11 Develop a program to utilize vacant land (both publicly and privately owned) for stormwater management. Acquire land where appropriate to serve the dual purpose of stormwater management and recreational open space. 5.12 Continue to coordinate with the State of Maryland on the proposed nutrient trading program and on policies to reduce nonpoint source pollution to meet the requirements of the WIP. 5.13 Implement the remaining policies and strategies of the 2010 Approved Water Resources Functional Master Plan (Water Resources Plan). Continue to evaluate master plans, planning studies, and development review applications for opportunities to implement the Water Resources Plan.

Protecting Potable Water Supplies POLICY 6: Coordinate environmental efforts to ensure a sustainable water supply for residents and businesses. 6.1

Participate in regional environmental planning efforts such as the Patuxent River Commission and the Greater Baltimore Wilderness Coalition to protect water quality in the Patuxent River.

6.2

Monitor available private well information to recognize and address trends in well water quality.

6.3

Continue to prohibit the extraction of natural resources such as gas and oil using hydraulic fracturing or similar methods that impact groundwater sources.

6.4

Revise the Building Code to allow appropriate water reuse systems and support requests from applicants who seek to include this feature.

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Preserving, Enhancing, and Restoring Canopy Coverage POLICY 7: Preserve, enhance, connect, and restore forest and tree canopy coverage.

General Strategies for Increasing Forest and Tree Canopy Coverage 7.1

Continue to maximize on-site woodland conservation and limit the use of off-site banking and the use of fee-in-lieu.

7.2

Protect, restore, and require the use of native plants. Prioritize the use of species with higher ecological values and plant species that are adaptable to climate change.

7.3

Improve the success rate of removal of invasive plant projects by providing standards for the initial removal and maintenance to ensure long-term eradication. Resources need to be allocated and partnerships with volunteer or other organizations are needed to ensure long-term success of invasive plant removal projects.

7.4

Ensure that trees that are preserved or planted are provided appropriate soils and adequate canopy and root space to continue growth and reach maturity. Where appropriate, ensure that soil treatments and/ or amendments are used.

7.5

Provide universal planting standards countywide and a single tree list that includes recommended trees for various uses such as reforestation, stream restoration, street trees, ornamental uses, and trees for stormwater and plants considered invasive or undesirable.

7.6

Establish robust and enforceable maintenance standards for tree preservation and planting.

7.7

Update the process and criteria for using the Woodland Conservation Fund and the funds collected within the CBCA to increase planting.

7.8

Continue to track forest and tree canopy coverage countywide through the use of mapping technology, using 2009 as the baseline year for comparison.

7.9

Annually evaluate tree canopy and woodland conservation metrics. This includes data on fee-in-lieu, off-site tree plantings and mitigation. Report findings to the Prince George’s County Planning Board, County agencies, and elected officials.

Forest Canopy Strategies 7.10 Continue to focus conservation efforts on preserving existing forests and ensuring sustainable connectivity between forest patches. 7.11 Improve the success of afforestation and reforestation efforts by requiring that the plantings be: conducted in uncompacted soils with adequate organic matter, planted with planting of stock larger than seedlings, and provided protections from and management of competing vegetation. 7.12 Discourage the creation of new forest edges by requiring edge treatments such as the planting of shade trees in areas where new forest edges are proposed to reduce the growth of invasive plants. 7.13 Continue to prioritize the protection and maintenance of connected, closed canopy forests during the development review process, especially in areas where FIDS habitat is present or within Sensitive Species Project Review Areas. 7.14 Use available state data and regional planning efforts to identify forest patches and other sensitive ecosystems that are critical to regional forest and ecosystem connectivity. Resource Conservation Plan | 55


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Tree Canopy Strategies 7.15 Provide standards for the preparation of tree preservation plans for the conservation of individual existing trees and small forest patches. Include penalties for improper tree preservation plan implementation and incorporate all requirements into the approved tree conservation or landscape plan. 7.16 Consider legislation to require mitigation for the removal of individual trees when infill development occurs in Established Communities as designated in Plan 2035 and for the removal of specimen and champion trees countywide. Include penalties for tree preservation efforts that fail as a result of construction. 7.17 Evaluate the exemptions from the Tree Canopy Coverage Ordinance to determine how the regulations can apply to more types of applications and explore options for meeting portions of the canopy requirement by using such methods as green roofs and green stormwater features. 7.18 Ensure that new, more compact developments contain an appropriate percentage of green and open spaces that serve multiple functions such as reducing urban temperatures, providing open space, and stormwater management.

Greening the Built Environment POLICY 8: Implement green building techniques and green neighborhood design methods to reduce energy use, stormwater runoff, and the heat island effect; improve air and water quality; and increase opportunities to reduce, reuse, and recycle previously used resources.

Strategies 8.1

Create a green building code that supports the use of green building methods and materials.

8.2

Evaluate the County’s various regulatory codes and manuals to assess how to comprehensively provide green and open space. Consider the use of a method such as a Green Area Ratio so that built environments are greener and provide multifunctional landscapes.

8.3

Revise the tax code or other appropriate regulations to provide developer incentives for green building certifications such as LEEDÂŽ Silver, Gold, and Platinum certifications for residential and commercial buildings and neighborhoods. Incentives should be commensurate with achieved levels.

8.4

Revise and update the Zoning Ordinance and Subdivision Regulations to require green building features consistent with Plan 2035 to help fulfill the requirements of the WIP and the Climate Action Plan (CAP)—when finalized, as well as other relevant plans.

8.5

Redevelop brownfield and superfund sites in priority growth locations.

8.6

Study and implement methods to increase the amount of construction and demolition waste that is diverted as part of solid waste recycling in the County. Possible methods include tax incentives and reduced permitting fees.

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POLICY 9: Require the use of sustainable development practices in the construction, renovation, and expansion of public facilities to reduce operational and maintenance costs, environmental impacts, and enhance occupant health and productivity.

Strategies 9.1

Require public buildings to be constructed to a minimum certification at the LEEDÂŽ Gold (or equivalent standards) level or set appropriate targets for energy reduction, water reuse, or waste diversion.

9.2

Monitor the use of, and report on, sustainable practices in public facilities in order to document environment, health, and safety benefits, as well as cost-effectiveness.

POLICY 10: Assess land use decisions for potential climate change impacts.

Strategies 10.1 Ensure infrastructure decisions address predicted sea level rise elevations and the impacts of extreme weather events. 10.2 Periodically perform a flooding and sea level rise analysis for the County. Prioritize climate adaptation upgrades to at-risk areas with the greatest population impacts and include implementable actions and policy. 10.3 Include more detailed hazard information related to climate adaptation and mitigation strategies when updating the County’s Hazard Mitigation Plan. This plan should utilize the information obtained in the sea level rise and flooding analysis, and should also include implementable actions for areas at high risk for flooding. 10.4 Create a countywide standard for reviewing infrastructure installation, upgrades, and maintenance projects against projected climate change impacts. 10.5 Locate major road, transit, electrical, wastewater treatment, stormwater, and other infrastructure out of high-risk areas. Where relocation is not feasible, incorporate climate-resilient technologies and practices in upgrades to existing infrastructure. 10.6 Identify climate mitigation strategies related to land use. Integrate climate action strategies into the County Code as appropriate. 10.7 Implement the County’s Hazard Mitigation Plan and identify strategies related to land use. Integrate appropriate strategies into County codes as appropriate. POLICY 11: Reduce overall sky glow, minimize the spill-over of light from one property to the next and into sensitive environmental areas, and reduce glare from light fixtures.

Strategies 11.1 Amend the County Code to include lighting standards for appropriate development activities. 11.2 Evaluate lighting design standards and practices for public buildings and spaces to ensure that safety, energy conservation, and light spillover are addressed.

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11.3 Review and amend the County Code, Road Code, and/or Standards to ensure that new roadway lighting meets the guidelines for minimization of light spillover and sky glow, provides lighting in the appropriate spectrums, and relies wherever possible on low-energy light sources such as LED or solarpowered street lights. POLICY 12: Provide adequate protection and screening from noise and vibration.

Strategies 12.1 Evaluate and revise the County Code to establish noise and vibration standards. Use the current State of Maryland noise standards as guidelines for noise, and industry accepted standards for vibration, and identify uses and activities that require additional restrictions. 12.2 Ensure new development is designed so that dwellings or other places where people sleep are located outside designated noise corridors. Alternatively, mitigation in the form of earthen berms, plant materials, fencing, or building construction methods and materials may be used. POLICY 13: Promote the efficient use of energy resources by providing education, outreach, and technical assistance to residents and businesses.

Strategies 13.1 Develop a Sustainable Energy Education and Outreach Strategy to inform residents and businesses about the benefits of reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions. 13.2 Create an Energy Savers Volunteer Roundtable to assist with the implementation of education and outreach initiatives. 13.3 Encourage the use of energy management tools, such as the Environmental Protection Agency’s Portfolio Manager—a free energy management tool that allows businesses to track, assess, and disclose their buildings’ energy and water performance. POLICY 14: Encourage investment in energy infrastructure, renewable energy, and the use of smart grid technologies to improve the efficiency, reliability, affordability, and sustainability of energy production and distribution.

Strategies 14.1 Promote the use of innovative energy financing mechanisms such as on-bill financing, propertyassessed clean energy, energy performance contracting, power purchase agreements, and home energy loan programs for moderate- to low-income residents. 14.2 Encourage the installation of the latest smart-grid/metering technology by offering incentives and technical assistance. 14.3 Create an energy assurance framework to assess strategies for enhancing energy security and community resiliency. 14.4 Participate in regional efforts to support the deployment of electric vehicles (EVs) and EV charging infrastructure. 58 | The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission


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14.5 Partner with local energy providers to develop alternative fueling stations for compressed natural gas, liquefied propane, biofuels, and electric vehicles. POLICY 15: Encourage the generation of low-carbon and clean, renewable energy sources.

Strategies 15.1 Promote the development of Energy Positive homes and buildings that generate more energy than what is used in the production, construction, and operation of the home or building through the application of geothermal, solar, and wind technology. 15.2 Utilize solar panels or similar technology to reduce the amount of electricity consumed through the use of outdoor lighting for streets, parking lots, parks, and/or signage and other outdoor areas. 15.3 Evaluate and modernize, as warranted, the regulations in the Zoning Ordinance that impact the location, size, and design of solar, wind, and alternative energy production facilities. Include options for streamlining development review of permit procedures. 15.4 Develop a range of incentives to encourage the adoption of solar facilities on roofs, parking lots and structures, and unused open spaces. 15.5 Revise and update the Zoning Ordinance and Subdivision Regulations to include standards and criteria for siting renewable energy facilities at different scales.

Stewardship, Outreach, and Education POLICY 16: Promote environmental stewardship, outreach, and education as important elements of the overall success of the GI Plan.

Strategies 16.1 Lead by example on public lands by demonstrating environmental stewardship and protections for environmental features, especially within the green infrastructure network. 16.2 Create an environmental advisory committee at the County level to address additional opportunities for stewardship, outreach, and education. 16.3 Publicly recognize private efforts to support the preservation, restoration, and/or enhancement of the green infrastructure network. a. Develop a local awards program to recognize development projects that use environmentally sensitive and/or energy efficient designs. b. Coordinate with municipalities to ensure their participation in stewardship and awards programs. 16.4 Continue education and outreach efforts related to implementation of the WIP and other County efforts. 16.5 Partner with organizations that are conducting outreach and education sessions and recognizing stewardship efforts.

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APPENDICES Appendix A: Documents Supporting the Green Infrastructure Plan This list contains the plans, studies, and documents that provided direction for the preparation of the GI Plan. Year

Document name

Document Summary

2002

Prince George’s County Approved General Plan

Established the need for the first green infrastructure plan and set forth the vision for its implementation. Provided the first Environmental Infrastructure Chapter in a general plan addressing the need for environmental protections.

2005

Approved Countywide Green Infrastructure Plan

Provided a countywide network of ecological lands that included working lands in rural areas. Policies and strategies support the appropriate use of natural resources.

2014

Plan Prince George’s 2035 Approved General Plan

The most recent General Plan for the County specifically calls for an update to the 2005 Approved Countywide Green Infrastructure Plan and the preparation of a Forest and Tree Canopy Strategy. The 2017 GI Plan implements these recommendations and supports the desired development pattern envisioned in Plan 2035. Plan 2035’s growth policies focus on directing development to established communities, especially designated Local Centers and Regional Transit Districts, and away from greenfields (areas currently in a natural state).

Various dates

Prince George’s County Code

Sections of the County Code that address green infrastructure include, but are not limited to, the Woodland and Wildlife Habitat Conservation Ordinance in Subtitle 25, the Water Resources Protection and Grading Code in Subtitle 32, the Subdivision Regulations in Subtitle 24, the Zoning Ordinance in Subtitle 27, and the Building Code in Subtitle 4.

2016

Resource Conservation Plan Technical Summary

The Technical Summary contains the research studies and reports that support the recommendations of the RCP. The majority of the summary’s contents focus on research related to the elements of the GI Plan.

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Green Infrastructure Plan: A Countywide Functional Master Plan

Appendix B: Green Infrastructure Network Mapping Methodology Background Mapping of the green infrastructure network for the Green Infrastructure Plan: A Countywide Functional Master Plan followed the same basic methodology as the network mapping for the 2005 GI Plan. In summary, the Regulated Areas were mapped and then evaluated for connectivity. The proposed Evaluation Areas are then added to the connected RA network and again, the network is evaluated for connectivity. To determine connectivity, patches that were 50 feet or farther apart were deleted from the network. The mapping of the Regulated Areas used 2009 data; the mapping of the Evaluation Areas used the best available data from various years. Aerial photographs from various years were used to evaluate existing conditions. The 2005 network was used to inform the 2017 network. Network Gaps were not identified for the 2017 network because of the complexity of the network and the desire to provide the opportunity for future gap identification at a scale closer to the ground. All of the work on the network mapping was completed using ArcGIS version 10.3.

Step 1: Establish the Regulated Areas The Regulated Areas (RAs) establish the framework for the network map. Using the streams (hydro) layer as the framework, the following data were added: • Stream buffers as follows: Developed Tier: 60 feet on each side; Developing Tier: 75 feet on each side; and Rural Tier: 100 feet on each side (note: while the growth policy tier designations were revised prior to creation of the 2017 network, the three levels of stream buffer delineations remain in the County Code). • Nontidal wetlands with a 25-foot-wide buffer on all sides. • Wetlands of Special State Concern with a 100-foot-wide buffer on all sides. • 100-year FEMA floodplain (2005). • Slopes that are 15 percent or greater within 20 feet of any of the features described above. • Chesapeake Bay Critical Area (as of December 2014). After the rough RA is established, it was refined by clipping out unconnected fragments and eliminating non-contributing slopes (only those slopes that contribute to the related environmental feature were included in the RA buffers). The 2005 GI network was used as a guide during this step to determine whether a fragment of the network should remain. Aerials from various years were used to evaluate the presence or absence of connected features.

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Step 2: Establish the Evaluation Areas Step 2A: Creation of the draft EA The Evaluation Area (EA) layer was created to ensure that critical resources and previously protected lands are considered when land use decisions are made. The County-level data sources focus on previously protected lands (so that critical connections to and between these properties can be maintained or restored) and other elements of countywide importance including the existing forest and tree canopy coverage. Critical resources included in the EA were primarily identified by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (MDNR). The data layers that make up the Evaluation Area layer were combined into one layer and then evaluated for connectivity to determine countywide significance. If patches of land that were designated as part of the EA were separated by a gap of 50 feet or more, the unconnected patch was deleted. The County-sourced data layers that are part of the EA include: • Platted Easements layer that includes these easement types captured from recorded plats: cemeteries, conservation, floodplains, historic, landscape, landscape buffer, scenic, storm drain, storm water management, wetland, and woodland conservation). • Protected Lands layer that includes easements through the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation, the Historic Agricultural Resource Preservation Program, and the Maryland Environmental Trust. • Forest and Tree Canopy, 2009. • Historic Environmental Settings. • Private Conservation Properties. The MDNR data layers that are part of the EA include: • National Wetland Inventory (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) • Sensitive Species Project Review Areas • Green Infrastructure Hubs and Corridors V5 • Forests Important for Water Quality • Natural Heritage Areas • Wildlife and Rare Species Habitat • Wetland Adaptation Areas • Coastal Wetland Adaptation Areas • Sea level rise predicted area • Areas Important for Climate Change • Potential Forest Interior Dwelling Species Habitat

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Green Infrastructure Plan: A Countywide Functional Master Plan

Step 2B: Establishing the Final Draft EA During the community input portion of the plan, three scenarios were developed. The three network options, labeled A, B, and C, were presented showing the same RA configuration and differing parameters for mapping the EA as described below. The “inside” and “outside” descriptors apply to the Capital Beltway in order to ensure that there is sufficient EA within the Beltway. Option

Maximum Gap Between Patches

Minimum Patch Size

A

25 feet inside

5.0 acres

50 feet wide inside and outside Beltway

2.0 acres

50 feet wide inside and outside Beltway

1.0 acre

50 feet wide inside and outside Beltway

50 feet outside B

50 feet inside 100 feet outside

C

200 feet inside 600 feet outside

Minimum Patch Width

Community participants were asked to provide input on which option they favored. The majority of participants favored Option C, which showed the largest amount of EA. This scenario was chosen as the final network delineation and the final draft map was prepared.

Resource Conservation Plan | 63


Section III Agriculture Conservation Plan: A Countywide Functional Master Plan


Agriculture Conservation Plan: A Countywide Functional Master Plan

Land preserved through conservation programs and regulations from 2010 to 2015:

M-NCPPC parkland in agriculture:

9,958 acres

1,200 acres

Size of the Priority Preservation Area:

85,594 acres or 27% of the County


Agriculture Conservation Plan: A Countywide Functional Master Plan

Our Vision

for the Future Plan 2035 contains a broad vision for our future. The following vision statement reflects how the implementation of the Agriculture Conservation Plan could shape the future in support of the healthy, vibrant, and connected communities envisioned in Plan 2035.

In 2035, Prince George’s County provides a wide variety of sources for healthy food from local sources. Land conservation programs are selfsustaining and the agricultural and green economy benefits rural and urban residents alike.

The County has a wellfunctioning local food system from production to nutrient and waste management, and a healthy population educated about growing their own food and reflecting healthier lifestyle choices. Prince George’s County contains profitable working farms, growing a variety of crops at different scales, that sustain agricultural and rural economies.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS Our Vision for the Future............................................................................................67 Background..................................................................................................................69 Analysis of 2012 Priority Preservation Area Plan Strategy Implementation..............................................70 Conservation of Agriculture........................................................................................................................................71 Summary of Community Input..................................................................................................................................71 State Planning Mandates.............................................................................................................................................72

Plan Goals.....................................................................................................................73 Measurable Objectives...............................................................................................74 Policy Areas..................................................................................................................78 Conserving Agricultural and Forested Lands........................................................................................................78 Promoting an Agriculturally Based Economy.......................................................................................................87 Supporting Urban Agriculture....................................................................................................................................88

Implementation...........................................................................................................89 Appendices...................................................................................................................94 Appendix A: Documents Supporting the Agriculture Conservation Plan..................................................94 Appendix B: Methodology for Determining the Priority Preservation Area in Prince George’s County ...........................................................................................................................................97

Maps Map 5. Technical Corrections to the Priority Preservation Area for Prince George’s County...............82 Map 6. 2017 Priority Preservation Area for Prince George’s County.............................................................83 Map 7. Technical Corrections to the Sustainable Growth and Agricultural Preservation Act Map for Prince George’s County ................................................................................................................................................84 Map 8. Technical Corrections to the Sustainable Growth and Agricultural Preservation Act Map for Prince George’s County (Continued)........................................................................................................................85 Map 9. 2017 Sustainable Growth and Agricultural Preservation Act Map.................................................86

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Agriculture Conservation Plan: A Countywide Functional Master Plan

BACKGROUND The Agriculture Conservation Plan: A Countywide Functional Master Plan (Agriculture Conservation Plan or ACP) is intended to address the growing demand for land for urban and rural agricultural enterprises throughout Prince George’s County. The County lies in a region with a rapidly expanding population base and a dwindling supply of natural resource land. Indeed, every hour in America, almost 40 acres of farmland are lost to development, never to be farmed again. In addition, with climate change occurring at a faster and faster pace, there is a keen awareness of the value of keeping the ecosystem healthy and providing ample land resources for local food production. This plan amends the related policies and strategies of previously approved plans, in particular the following: • Plan 2035 Approved General Plan • 2012 Priority Preservation Area Functional Master Plan There are three research studies that contain recommendations that contributed to the contents of this plan: • 2009 Prince George’s County Strategic Program for Agricultural Development • 2012 Urban Agriculture: A Tool for Creating Economic Development and Healthy Communities in Prince George’s County, MD • 2015 Healthy Food for All Prince Georgians: An Assessment of Access to Healthy Food in Prince George’s County, MD

Early settlers began farming along the Potomac and Patuxent Rivers in Southern Maryland, the oldest region of the state, more than 300 years ago, before the County of Prince George’s was established. The decline of tobacco— prompted by the Maryland Tobacco Buyout program instituted in 1998—wounded the economic engine in Southern Maryland at the same time that the BaltimoreWashington Metropolitan Area was becoming a fastgrowing population center. In recent years, rural farmers have transitioned into more contemporary farming practices and are exploring niche markets that can be supported with lower initial costs for production materials and land. Urban farmers are growing in number and the need for healthy food sources close to our population centers has never been higher. The Agriculture Conservation Plan also implements important Maryland legislation regarding agricultural preservation. This plan updates and replaces the 2012 Priority Preservation Area (PPA) Functional Master Plan, which established a goal of preserving 80 percent of the remaining undeveloped land in the area set aside as the PPA, and sets the stage for continuing sustainable agricultural enterprises in the rural and agricultural areas of the County. The PPA boundaries are being corrected in this plan to reflect land use decisions made in other plans since the approval of the PPA in 2012. No changes to the boundaries are being proposed as part of this plan.

In 2012, the Sustainable Growth and Agricultural Preservation Act (SGA) became law in Maryland. The act, known as the SGA or the septics bill, created a requirement that counties prepare a tier map that restricts development in certain areas and allows development to continue at existing densities and with allowable building methods elsewhere. The areas where the regulations changed are called Tier IV areas, where subdivisions proposing more than seven Resource Conservation Plan | 69


Section III

lots are no longer allowed. This law was implemented in the County with the passage of the SGA Tier Map in November 2012. The SGA Tier boundaries are being corrected in this plan to reflect land use decisions made in other plans since the approval of the PPA in 2012. No other changes to the boundaries are being proposed as part of this plan. The ACP also incorporates recommendations from the 2012 study Urban Agriculture: A Tool for Creating Economic Development and Healthy Communities in Prince George’s County, Maryland. In conjunction with traditional farming in rural areas, urban agriculture has progressed from its beginnings in the late nineteenth century in America to a thriving movement toward enhanced health and well-being, sustainability, and reliable access to nutritious food. The purpose of the ACP is to provide broad countywide strategies and recommendations as a tool to guide future development activity and preservation, and to provide a foundation to achieve its stated goals. It should not be construed as superseding, or conflicting with, codified criteria for development.

Analysis of 2012 Priority Preservation Area Plan Strategy Implementation During the pre-planning phase of this plan, the 2012 PPA Plan policies and strategies were analyzed to determine which ones have been implemented and to provide recommendations for updated policies and strategies. While approximately 70 percent of the PPA Plan’s implementation strategies are ongoing, two important strategies have been completed. Prince George’s County has received certification of its agricultural land preservation program through the Maryland Department of Planning (MDP) and the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation (MALPF) and has strengthened the existing rightto-farm legislation. Another important strategy being explored by a County Council-appointed work group is the option of developing a transfer of development rights (TDR) program. The implementation of this strategy from the 2012 PPA Plan has been difficult due in part to the lack of demand for development rights in areas that would typically be required to purchase those rights. While the desired development pattern is to build in designated Downtowns and other centers and corridors, these designated growth areas are already zoned for the intended density. To require purchasing of development rights to build in designated growth areas could dampen the market and not achieve the desired development pattern of Plan Prince George’s 2035 Approved General Plan (Plan 2035). The transfer of development rights tool should continue to be explored as other strategies for land conservation are implemented. This plan builds on the policies and strategies of the 2012 PPA Plan to achieve the County’s long-term vision of a viable rural agricultural and forestry-based economy. The 2012 PPA Plan provided policies and strategies that only apply to the designated PPA. The 2017 Agriculture Conservation Plan, as the name implies, applies countywide and provides policies and strategies for agricultural and forestry pursuits at all scales. 70 | The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission


Agriculture Conservation Plan: A Countywide Functional Master Plan

Conservation of Agriculture The Section I: Overview of the Resource Conservation Plan provides a broad definition of conservation that applies to all three plans and is restated in Figure 7. Each plan within the RCP contains a detailed definition of conservation as appropriate for that plan. Because this plan uses a broad definition of Agriculture that includes all aspects of growing food from urban to rural farms, the definition of conservation is equally broad, and incorporates the conservation of land for growing food, conservation of fuel as a result of a shorter trip from farm to table, and the conservation of human health through the provision of healthy food choices. Figure 7. Definition of Conservation in the 2017 Agriculture Conservation Plan

As noted in the Section I: Overview, the word

conservation can be defined as:

“…the action of conserving something, in particular: • Preservation, protection or restoration of the natural environment, natural ecosystems, vegetation, wildlife. • Preservation, repair, and prevention of deterioration of archeological, historic, and cultural sites and artifacts.” The Agriculture Conservation Plan seeks to provide healthy food choices, local sources of food and forestbased products, and the land to grow them on. It also provides guidance for the agricultural programs and people needed to bring sustainable food choices and forest products to all County residents and workers.

The definition of agriculture is also broad within the context of this plan. It includes food, fiber and fuel; the growing of natural building materials; and all the infrastructure and programs needed for successful implementation. Where the PPA Plan focused only on rural agriculture within a specific area, the 2017 Agriculture Conservation Plan addresses the need for countywide policies and strategies to address production of goods at all scales. These Ecosystem Services that nature provides through agricultural and forestry pursuits have immense value in supporting healthy, thriving communities.

Summary of Community Input The Agriculture Conservation Plan is building upon the public input received during the preparation of Plan 2035, which envisions a shift from large-lot residential subdivisions to focused development in areas where the necessary public infrastructure already exists (designated Downtowns, Regional Transit Districts, the Innovation Corridor, and Local Centers). The 2012 PPA Plan built upon the community input of a variety of ongoing discussions at the time regarding preservation of rural and agricultural land. The resulting plan in 2012 contained strategies that were focused on rural-scale agriculture and land conservation. The ACP addresses all scales of agriculture and forestry operations to support healthy communities. As noted in Section I: Overview, the public input process consisted of three community input sessions where participants were asked what they wanted to see more of and less of in the three subject areas covered in the plan: green infrastructure, agriculture, and rural character. These sessions were followed by an open forum where a summary of the input was provided, with an opportunity to comment on draft maps. An input session was also held to focus on the issues of interest to municipalities. Resource Conservation Plan | 71


Section III

The issues of interest to the most participants relevant to the ACP included: • Provide a more systematic approach to supporting local agriculture at all scales and ensure consistent annual funding. • Identify, preserve, and make available parcels suitable for urban agriculture, with a focus on communities most in need. • Support smaller enterprises that are not eligible for programs that have large acreage requirements. • Ensure the new Zoning Ordinance provides for a wide variety of uses. • Encourage privately owned conservation easements and other land conservation methods. During the development of the Resource Conservation Plan (RCP), public agencies came together to discuss the plan contents and future implementation. Each agency saw how their work was reflected in the plan and sought ways to participate in its implementation. Moving forward, just as the implementation of Plan 2035 will involve the coordinated efforts of everyone, so must the RCP seek to involve public agencies and nonprofits, places of worship and educational institutions, and businesses and volunteers in its implementation. The ACP implementation is especially dependent upon agencies and nonprofits with limited funding that support the agricultural economy. To continue progress in this area, one element that is missing is a dedicated funding source for personnel and programs. For a summary of the public input provided for all three elements of the RCP, refer to Section I: Overview. Full summaries of all of the public input sessions are available in the RCP Technical Summary.

State Planning Mandates There are two areas where the Maryland Department of Planning helps to guide agricultural land conservation and support sustainable growth patterns. This plan addresses the requirements of both sets of state legislation and provides policies and strategies to ensure continued implementation into the future.

Priority Preservation Area The State of Maryland requires the preparation of a PPA Plan for counties seeking a certified agricultural preservation program to identify lands with agricultural and forestry uses and to ensure their conservation and continuation (see HB 2 (2006), Section 3.05(a)(6)(ii)(8) of Land Use Article of the Maryland Annotated Code, and in accordance with Section 2-518 of the Agriculture Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland).

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Agriculture Conservation Plan: A Countywide Functional Master Plan

The following vision adopted as part of the Senate Bill 273 2009 is also supported by the PPA designation and related policies and strategies: • Ensure quality of life and sustainability. • Concentrate growth in existing population and business centers. • Improve environmental protection. • Improve resource conservation.

Sustainable Growth Act Tiers

The certification of Prince George’s County’s agriculture program in February 2014 by MDP and MALPF jointly reflects the County’s commitment to agriculture as a viable, long-term, and necessary element of our economy.

Tier I: Public sewer approved (sewer categories 3 and 4).

Sustainable Growth and Agricultural Preservation Act

Tier III: Major subdivisions allowed on septic (sewer category 6).

The ACP also maintains compliance with the 2012 SGA, which limits the use of septic systems on large-lot residential development in order to reduce nitrogen pollution flowing into local rivers and streams and the Chesapeake Bay. On November 20, 2012, the County Council approved the first SGA map that shows four tiers.

Tier II: Public sewer planned (sewer category 5).

Tier IV: Minor subdivisions allowed on septic (sewer category 6).

As a result of this state legislation, major subdivisions (more than seven lots) are prohibited where public water and sewer is not available and where septic systems are utilized. Within the Rural and Agricultural Area (RAA) there are two SGA Tier designations, Tiers III and IV. As allowed by the SGA legislation, within Tier IV the definition of a Minor Subdivision is a maximum seven lots.

PLAN GOALS The goals of the Agriculture Conservation Plan are to support the desired development pattern of Plan 2035 by: • Preserving, enhancing, and restoring priority agricultural lands and providing access to smaller parcels for farming countywide. • Supporting an agriculture-based economy. • Increasing opportunities and support for urban agriculture. • Providing equitable access to healthy food options that support local growers. • Improving overall human health. The ACP provides guidance for decision-making at all levels of government, businesses, developers, nonprofits, and associated organizations; provides the framework for conservation of agricultural land; and supports the creation of thriving, energy efficient communities. In summary, the ACP seeks to preserve and promote agriculture countywide by supporting all aspects of providing sustainable healthy food sources now and in the future. Resource Conservation Plan | 73


Section III

MEASURABLE OBJECTIVES The 2012 PPA Plan contains the state-mandated goal of preserving 80 percent of the County’s designated Priority Preservation Area as its expressed objective:

“…to preserve 80 percent of the remaining undeveloped land within the priority preservation area while maintaining and enhancing agricultural and forestry production on already protected farm and forest lands.” The plan’s stated objective reaffirmed the 2002 General Plan objective to “protect a countywide average of 1,500 acres per year of agricultural, strategic forest, or other sensitive lands through the use of Rural Legacy Program, County-funded acquisitions, and other conservation programs.” The goal and objective from the PPA Plan are being converted to measurable objectives in this plan so that they can be measured and reported over time.

Objective One: In 2035, we will have conserved an average of 1,500 acres of land countywide per year and, of this amount, an average of 20 acres of land will have been conserved for urban agriculture inside the growth boundary. Plan 2035, as well as the 2002 General Plan, contains an annual target for land conservation countywide of 1,500 acres. All types of land conservation programs are included in the goal, as are the acres of woodlands preserved and planted as a result of implementation of the Woodland and Wildlife Habitat Conservation Ordinance. Between 2010 and 2015, the average acreage preserved annually was 1,638 acres, meeting the goal of 1,500 acres for the reporting period. As shown in Table 3, between 2010 and 2015, the two County-driven programs are yielding approximately 85 percent of the total acreage of land preserved annually. The Historic Agricultural Resource Preservation Program (HARPP) is funded by the County and the woodland conservation acres are generated from a County ordinance. To meet state-mandated goals for land conservation, more assistance is needed to fund agricultural and land conservation at the local level.

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Agriculture Conservation Plan: A Countywide Functional Master Plan

Table 3. Countywide Acres Preserved Through Land Conservation Programs and Regulations Method

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

HARPP

516

697

536

300

0

MALPF

Percent of Total

TOTAL

140

Total To-date

2,189

22

2,973

511

0

170

0

163

109

953

10

1,651

MET

0

0

0

0

0

72.9

72.9

1

672

Rural Legacy

0

134

0

0

0

296

430

4

2,629

Program Open Space

54.7

0

0

0

0

0

54.7

1

8,654

WC (on-site)

552

842

613

1,189

1,612

467

5,275

53

21,263

WC (off-site)

15

212

54

220

241

241

983

10

9,701

1,594

1,866

1,373

1,709

2,016

1,253

9,958

TOTAL

45,543

Note: Acreage figures have been rounded to the nearest acre; woodland conservation acreages are subject to change in future years. Because of rounding the percentages, the total adds up to more than 100 percent. These programs are described in more detail starting on page 78. HARPP: Historic Agricultural Resource Preservation Program. MALPF: Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation. MET: Maryland Environmental Trust. Rural Legacy: A state program that provides funds for conservation of lands within a designated area. Program Open Space: A state program that provides funds to counties for parks and open space. WC (on-site): Designated areas of woodland conservation on an approved tree conservation plan that are within the boundaries of the development site that generated the requirement. Projects subject to the regulations that came into effect in 2010 are required to place conservation easements in the land records for on-site woodland conservation areas. WC (off-site): Designated areas of woodland conservation that are outside the boundaries of the development site that generated the requirement on land that has conservation easements in the land records and is subject to the requirements of an approved tree conservation plan.

As demonstrated in Table 3, the target of an average of 1,500 acres of land conservation per year is currently being met; however, the types, needs, and availability of land moving forward are expected to shift. It is anticipated that fewer large farms will be available in the future for land conservation programs that have acreage limits such as MALPF and HARPP (50- and 35-acre minimums respectively). More support is needed to consistently fund both large-scale conservation programs in addition to providing assistance for smaller enterprises that are anticipated to form a growing percentage of the overall local food suppliers over time. Large operations also need supporting infrastructure such as places to aggregate and process their products. The goal of 20 acres within the growth boundary emphasizes the importance of urban agriculture endeavors on a smaller scale. Existing urban farms, community gardens, and school or institutional gardens have been identified, and these types of urban agriculture systems and many more can be replicated in places such as vacant lots and where other available acreage exists. Resource Conservation Plan | 75


Section III

Objective Two: In 2035, we will have preserved 80 percent of the undeveloped land within the designated Priority Preservation Area. The Agricultural Stewardship Act of 2006 requires Maryland counties to preserve 80 percent of their designated Priority Preservation Area (PPA). Table 4 shows the calculation of 80 percent of the undeveloped land within the Priority Preservation Area, in order to determine the acreage goal for Objective Two. The total acreage of the 2016 PPA in Table 4 represents the acreage in the 2012 PPA Plan minus properties removed from the PPA in 2014 as part of Plan 2035. This calculation does not include the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center (BARC) or the Patuxent Research Refuge (PRR) properties. BARC and PRR are classified as institutional land uses, although they are primarily used for agricultural, natural resource, and wildlife habitat research. Any significant changes to the BARC properties require Congressional approval. The 2016 data in Table 4 (line 5) include the PPA acreage in 2012 already protected plus properties preserved between February 28, 2011, and May 31, 2016. The acreages of developed and undeveloped properties were also updated. The remaining protection goal of 20,446 acres was reduced from that reported in the 2012 PPA Plan primarily through an increase in Land Already Protected within the PPA. A small contributing factor to the reduction is the increase in acres identified as developed as a result of an improved methodology for identifying developed properties and the removal of two properties from the PPA during the approval of Plan 2035. This measurable objective will continue to be monitored and the supporting strategies will be tracked. Table 4. Priority Preservation Area Target Acreage Protection Goal (See descriptions of each line below the table.) 1

Priority Preservation Area

2012

2016

Change

75,033

74,769

(-264)

2

Developed

17,258

18,238

980

3

Undeveloped

57,775

56,531

(-1,244)

46,220

45,225

(-995)

4

Target Acreage Protection Goal (80% of Undeveloped)

5

Land Already Protected

21,451

24,779

3,328

6

Remaining Protection Goal

24,769

20,446

(-4,323)

Line 1: Priority Preservation Area (not including BARC and PRR properties). The PPA including BARC and PRR properties is 85,594 acres. Line 2: Developed land has an improvement value of $15,000 or more, and is not within BARC or PRR; is not vacant; is not in an agricultural use. The amount of change detected is attributable primarily to a refinement in the methodology. Line 3: Undeveloped is the acreage of land that does not meet the definition of Developed (Line 1 minus Line 2). Line 4: Target Acreage Protection Goal is 80 percent of the Undeveloped (Line 3). Line 5: Land Already Protected is land that is not included in the Protection Goal (Line 6). Line 6: Remaining Protection Goal is the result of subtracting out the Land Already Protected from Target Acreage Protection Goal (Line 4 minus Line 5).

While the County has made significant progress toward meeting the state-mandated land preservation goal for the PPA, funding continues to be lacking within both state and County programs to meet these goals. The measurable objective of meeting the goal of preserving 80 percent of the undeveloped land within the PPA will continue to be monitored and the supporting strategies will be tracked. 76 | The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission


Agriculture Conservation Plan: A Countywide Functional Master Plan

Objective Three: In 2035, the level of participation in our farm and forest conservation programs by owners of operations on 35 acres or less of land and participation by property owners of color has risen to at least 15 percent of the overall acreage preserved. Historically, agricultural uses have been conducted on a large scale with the associated need for large, expensive equipment. Farm preservation programs have targeted these larger farms as a strategy to preserve large landscapes and connect them to each other, keeping active farmland in production. Smaller farms supporting niche markets are on the rise, they support more manageable operations, require fewer inputs of infrastructure and equipment, and provide more opportunities for diverse crops. Between 2004 and 2015, only 3 out of 51 farms preserved during that time period were 35 acres or less in size (about 6 percent). Few people of color have benefitted from the state and County land conservation programs to date. To provide more equitable participation, marketing and mentoring are needed to assist people who want to pursue agriculturally based occupations. The primary points of contact for farmers are the Soil Conservation District, and the University of Maryland Extension, Prince George’s County, which are in need of permanent funding sources to continue to improve outreach efforts. This measurable objective will continue to be monitored and the supporting strategies will be tracked.

Purpose and Need for the Plan The purpose of the Agriculture Conservation Plan is to update the vision and goals, objectives, policies, and strategies for agricultural and forestry uses and apply them countywide to ensure the future viability of urban and rural agricultural enterprises and support the County’s certified agricultural preservation program. This can be accomplished by supporting the desired development pattern of Plan 2035 and by: • Updating and replacing the 2012 Priority Preservation Area Functional Master Plan policies and strategies to address current issues. • Amending the PPA and SGA designated boundaries to reflect previous approvals. • Incorporating urban agriculture policies and strategies into a functional master plan, thus providing authority and guidance for implementation. • Providing guidance for working with federal, state, and local agencies. Part of the vision of Plan 2035 is to preserve all that we value. One of the three themes of the guiding principles in the plan is to “sustain our natural resources and rural areas by preserving our existing rural and agricultural communities, including our rural viewsheds, farmland, and the agricultural economy.” The Agriculture Conservation Plan expresses this and fulfills the plan’s guiding principle to “protect and value our natural resources” including the conservation of agricultural forested lands and the programs needed to sustain these facets long term. Resource Conservation Plan | 77


Section III

POLICY AREAS Conserving Agricultural and Forested Lands Conserving agricultural and forested lands results in long-term benefits for all County residents and businesses. One of the tenets of Plan 2035 is to stop a growth pattern that has focused on growing onto forested properties or land used for agriculture. Its focus is to grow where public investments in infrastructure have already been made, and reduce pressures to build where precious agricultural and forestry resources occur. This shift in focus benefits all County residents and businesses because it results in fewer added costs to the government from maintaining new infrastructure—such as roads, schools, and police stations—in areas where few people live. Conserving agricultural and forested lands also results in health benefits such as cleaner air and sources of healthy food closer to home. One of the trends in agriculture has been to produce food on smaller parcels, often in communities that are already built. Vacant lots and underutilized public spaces are ripe opportunities for creating foodrelated activities to strengthen and energize under-served communities. As the Agriculture Conservation Plan is implemented, the broadening scope of agricultural uses must be considered.

Land Conservation Programs and Funding Despite development pressures, population growth, and the consumption of previously undeveloped land over the past few decades, land has been preserved through a variety of conservation programs and public ownership. Table 3 shows the acreages of land that have been permanently preserved countywide using these methods. The programs noted in Table 3 are described below.

Historic Agricultural Resource Preservation Program/Purchase of Development Rights The Purchase of Development Rights (PDR) Program and the Historic Agricultural Resource Preservation Program (HARPP) were established to acquire conservation easements voluntarily offered by landowners, but they utilize different funding sources. The PDR has not been implemented yet; however, the HARPP program secured $21 million in funding over a period of eight years. This funding has been used to secure easements on 2,973.29 acres. This successful program does not have a secure source of annual funding. In order to move forward and continue the success of HARPP, an annual, consistent funding source is needed. Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation The Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation (MALPF) is one of the most successful agricultural land preservation foundations in the country. It functions within the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) to purchase permanent agricultural preservation easements on productive farm and forest land that meet a specific set of criteria. Since 1977, the foundation has worked in every county, helping the State of Maryland to preserve in perpetuity just under the milestone of 300,000 acres on more

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Agriculture Conservation Plan: A Countywide Functional Master Plan

than 2,000 farms, more agricultural land than any other state in the country. Since 2004, Prince George’s County has placed 1,651 acres under easement through MALPF. In 2010 alone, the MALPF program preserved 511 acres of the 1,594 acres preserved that year. Maryland Environmental Trust The Maryland Environmental Trust (MET), Maryland’s statewide land trust and one of the oldest and most successful land trusts in the nation, is a not-for-profit corporation established in 1967 and designed to protect land from development. The MET has preserved approximately 672 acres in the County through protective easements and donated lands, and is dedicated to conserving and improving the aesthetic, scenic, health and welfare, and cultural qualities found in the natural environment. Through its training, technical assistance, administrative and project grants, the MET helps groups of interested citizens to form local land trusts. The MET and a local land trust may jointly hold conservation easements. Rural Legacy Program Prince George’s County participates in the Rural Legacy Program, which is a state program that provides the focus and funding necessary to protect large, contiguous tracts of land and other strategic areas from sprawl development and to enhance natural resource, agricultural, forestry, and environmental protection through cooperative efforts among state and local governments, land trusts, and willing property owners. The goals of the Rural Legacy Program are to: • Establish greenbelts of forests and farms around rural communities in order to preserve their cultural heritage and sense of place. • Preserve critical habitat for native plant and wildlife species. • Support natural resource economies such as farming, forestry, tourism, and outdoor recreation. • Protect riparian forests, wetlands, and greenways to buffer the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries from pollution runoff. Protection is provided through the acquisition of easements, purchases from willing landowners, the supporting activities of Rural Legacy Sponsors, and local governments. The Soil Conservation District took over the administration of this program in 2007. The Patuxent River Rural Legacy Area, which stretches from the southern tip of the County along the eastern border north to US 50, includes the Patuxent River Park, Patuxent River Natural Resource Management Area, and the Merkle Wildlife Management Area at Jug Bay. Of the 34,984 acres in the Prince George’s County Rural Legacy Area, 2,629 acres have been preserved (about 7.5 percent). Rural Legacy funding has waned recently for the County, which competes with other counties and private land trusts. Resource Conservation Plan | 79


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Program Open Space Established in 1969 by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Program Open Space (POS) is a nationally recognized program with two components—a local grant component for recreation land or open space areas, and a component that funds acquisition and recreation facility development by the State of Maryland. When a person buys a house or land, a percentage of the State Real Estate Transfer Tax goes into a special fund for POS. Program Open Space protected more than 352,000 acres of land statewide, and has preserved 8,654 acres in Prince George’s County. Regarding parks and open space acquisitions, the County expects to continue its long-term policy of acquiring land for recreation and natural resource protection as noted in Formula 2040. Throughout the County, DNR owns and manages 6,728 acres of state parks, state forests, natural resource management areas, heritage conservation fund sites, and natural areas. In recent years, POS dollars have been reapportioned and become an increasingly unreliable source of funding for land conservation. More needs to be done at the local level to ensure that open space for active and passive recreation is available and accessible to the County’s growing population. Woodland Conservation The acreages reported in Table 3 are a result of the implementation of the regulations on land development contained in the Maryland Forest Conservation Act. In the County the regulations are called the Woodland and Wildlife Habitat Conservation Ordinance (WCO) and can be found in Subtitle 25 of the County Code. The acreages reported in Table 3 for woodland conservation may change in the future if revisions are approved to tree conservation plans for previously reported projects. On-site woodland conservation acres reported represent those areas planted or preserved on a development site in order to meet the requirements of the WCO. Woodland conservation on-site is credited at one acre of preservation or planting for one acre of requirement. Projects subject to the regulations that came into effect in 2010 are also required to place conservation easements over the woodland conservation areas used to meet the regulations. If a project is unable to meet the woodland conservation requirements on-site, acreage credits can be purchased from an off-site woodland conservation bank. Banks are established using a conservation easement in the land records and an approved tree conservation plan. Woodland conservation off-site is credited at two acres of preservation required for each acre of requirement (as an incentive to preserve or plant on-site and to encourage planting off-site). If an off-site bank is planted with a new forest, the acreage can be used acre-for-acre to meet the requirement. Most woodland conservation banks encumber most of a forested parcel. To ensure future stewardship of the property, at least one acre of area is required to be kept free of the conservation easement for a future building site if a home does not already exist. Woodland conservation banking supports agricultural land conservation by allowing properties whose main focus may be agriculture to place an easement over the wooded areas of the property to protect them in perpetuity. This allows property owners the opportunity to preserve the agricultural portion of their land using HARPP, MALPF, or other mechanisms, and to preserve the forested areas on other portions of their property using the WCO off-site banking program.

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For a robust conservation program, multiple sources of funding are needed from preservation programs that can address current and future trends. If most of the large parcels have been preserved, it would be prudent to have funding mechanisms that can address the needs of smaller parcels countywide, thus focusing on infill preservation, between and among already preserved parcels. To ensure that result, a targeted, annual funding source is needed to support innovative methods, including local food production in urban and rural settings. It is critical to work with federal, state, and local partners, including land trusts and nonprofits, especially when funding is limited, so that shared resources of time and money can be leveraged to the greatest benefit. Limited conservation dollars should be used to preserve as many acres as possible. Thus it is important to clarify the guidelines that allow multiple programs to be implemented on an eligible parcel, while remaining true to the conservation goal of preserving the maximum number of acres. In addition to strategic use of limited conservation dollars, when properties currently adjacent to, but outside of, the boundaries of the PPA receive conservation easements or some other form of preservation, they should be included in the PPA. Determining the feasibility of easement programs and tools for small-scale agricultural enterprises is critical, so that local food security can be enhanced. Simultaneously, there is a need to minimize future development and address pipeline development in prime agricultural areas, and maximize it in areas planned for increased population density that can be served by existing and planned infrastructure. Other strategies to pursue include evaluating conservation subdivisions to discover their potential in rural communities for encouraging development of minor subdivisions that preserve greater percentages of land for agricultural endeavors, including equine-themed or community gardening amenities. The strategies under the Conservation of Agricultural and Forested Lands policy area also take into account restoring marginal agricultural and forested lands that have been abandoned or are underutilized, to increase the potential for viable enterprises on those sites. While most of the preservation programs have a minimum acreage requirement of up to 50 acres, the ACP seeks to increase opportunities to support owners of smaller parcels (35 acres or less), and those owned by people of color who may not have benefitted from agricultural preservation programs in the past. This support is needed, especially with the popularity of urban agriculture as niche businesses such as small vineyards, cheese operations, or community supported agriculture (CSA) become more popular.

Land Conservation Through State Programs and Legislation The 2012 PPA Plan has only been in place for a limited time, but the progress has been significant given the certification of the agriculture conservation program jointly by MDP and MALPF in 2014 and other legislation that has been approved in recent years. The PPA boundaries are being amended as shown in Map 5 to address two technical corrections. There are no amendments to the PPA boundaries being proposed as a result of this plan. Map 6 shows the 2017 boundaries of the PPA. The Sustainable Growth and Agricultural Preservation Act of 2012 (SGA) requires Maryland counties to designate and maintain four SGA tiers for the application of certain development restrictions. On November 20, 2012, the County Council approved the first SGA Tier Map. There are five technical corrections to the map that are being made in this plan. The technical corrections are shown on Map 7 and Map 8, and the final map is shown in Map 9.

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Map 5. Technical Corrections to the Priority Preservation Area for Prince George’s County

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Map 6. 2017 Priority Preservation Area for Prince George’s County

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Map 7. Technical Corrections to the Sustainable Growth and Agricultural Preservation Act Map for Prince George’s County

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Map 8. Technical Corrections to the Sustainable Growth and Agricultural Preservation Act Map for Prince George’s County (Continued)

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Map 9. 2017 Sustainable Growth and Agricultural Preservation Act Map

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Promoting an Agriculturally Based Economy In recent years, there has been a concerted effort to define agriculture broad enough to encompass emerging markets and specific enough to ensure that adjacent properties are not adversely impacted. The current definition of agriculture in the Zoning Ordinance provides a framework for the discussion of an agriculturally based economy: “The business, science, and art of cultivating and managing the soil, composting (to include the composting of regionally generated sewer sludge pursuant to a permit issued by the state), growing, harvesting, and selling crops, livestock and the products of forestry, horticulture, floriculture, viticulture, hydroponics, animal husbandry, i.e., breeding, raising, or managing livestock, including horses, poultry, fish, game, and fur-bearing animals, dairying, beekeeping and similar activities. Agriculture includes processing on the farm of an agricultural product in the course of preparing the product for market, which may cause a change in the natural form or state of the product. Agriculture includes equine activities and equine facilities. Equine activities includes teaching equestrian skills, participating in equestrian events, competitions, exhibitions or other displays of equestrian skills, and caring for, breeding, boarding, dealing, selling, renting, riding or training equines. Equine facilities include barns, stables, rings, paddocks or accessory buildings or structures used for equine activities. The term “Agriculture” shall not include the commercial feeding of garbage or offal to animals, the slaughtering of livestock for marketing (except otherwise permitted by law) or the disposal of sludge except for fertilization of crops, horticultural products, or floricultural products in connection with an active agricultural operation or home gardening.” (Subtitle 27-107.01(a)(9))

This definition is necessarily broad and also states the types of uses that are not considered agriculture. In the Zoning Ordinance and Subdivision Regulations rewrite project, consideration should be given to keeping this definition, or one like it, to make clear what uses are and are not included. The description of the uses could be more broad, allowing for clarification as needed, and needs to consider urban agriculture both on individual properties and as a commercial enterprise. The agriculture sector of the County’s economy is not linked to the economic development strategy promoted countywide. In order to compete with surrounding counties and sustain the agriculture economy, the County’s economic development framework needs to be engaged. Exploration of tax and other financial incentives is needed so that limited financial resources can be leveraged appropriately. New and expanding green markets need to be supported through a variety of tools such as incubators, grants, loans, and improving connections between producers and consumers. Coordination is also needed between agencies at all levels of government, and the business and nonprofit sectors to promote opportunities for agriculturally Resource Conservation Plan | 87


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based enterprises. The most critical position in this coordination is the Agricultural Market Specialist, currently funded year-to-year as a part-time position. The much-needed coordination of farm-related activities has occurred since 2009 and critical connections have been made that have resulted in many innovations and new programs. An annual, secure, and permanent funding source is needed for this position, or one like it, so that at least one full-time position can be created, and even expanded, as the support for an agriculturally based economy increases in the future. Promoting an agriculturally based economy also includes supporting various programs that can result in increased participation in this economic sector. Promoting forest stewardship and certification programs and the benefits of woodland conservation banking on private property can go a long way to assisting in meeting the preservation goals and reduce the pressure to use County, state, and federal funds to preserve critical lands. Collaborating with economic development agencies and financial organizations in the County could make it easier for existing and new farmers to get information, technical assistance, and financial resources. Providing services to the farming community and responding to the needs in a convenient, one-stop format can expedite processes. This collaboration can ease the progress toward innovative technologies and forming profitable businesses in the agricultural economy that focus on emerging technologies, such as the biofuels industry or filling the need for renewable energy in the form of wind, biomass, and solar enterprises. Innovative approaches to food security, such as farm-to-institution, farm-to-school, and farm-to-table programs, can flourish in Prince George’s County, due in part to our proximity to a large and growing population base.

Supporting Urban Agriculture The policies and strategies under this policy area address the need to incorporate urban agriculture in land use planning and zoning, to increase awareness of and access to land suitable for urban agriculture uses and to collaborate with various County, state, and local agencies and institutions to support urban agriculture in its many forms. There needs to be an effort to identify land for potential urban agriculture enterprises in zones that are appropriate for such uses. Education is key, as well as developing an inventory of land that is appropriate for urban agriculture uses. There is room for urban and suburban farming and before and during the process of establishing a priority preservation area, it has become clear that there is broad public interest in protecting agricultural enterprises inside the growth boundary of the County and wherever urban agricultural endeavors are appropriate. For example, establishing an urban agriculture incubator or establishing an educational farm on public land could be productive ways to inspire future generations of farmers to learn

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about the industry and apply their special talents to excel in a field that contributes to a sustainable way of life. Supporting the existing programs, such as educational efforts of the University of Maryland Extension, maintaining funding for the County’s agricultural marketing specialist, and establishing a champion for urban agriculture in a new position or as a designated staff member with a County agency, can help expand the sources of locally grown, fresh foods. These efforts will contribute greatly to the overall health and well-being of Prince Georgians, who can improve their health greatly by adopting healthier eating habits and growing their own food. Urban agriculture is an integral part of food system planning, thus fueling the launch of the Prince George’s County Food Equity Council (FEC), a local independent food policy council that aims to significantly improve public health and community well-being for all who live, work, study, worship, and play in the County. The FEC develops and supports policies, procedures, and initiatives designed to improve the local food system. By strengthening the economic viability of local food production, processing, and distribution enterprises, particularly among communities that are not benefitting from the current food system, the FEC helps to address food security issues uncovered in the 2015 study Healthy Food for All Prince Georgians: An Assessment of Access to Healthy Food in Prince George’s County, MD. Creating awareness and taking active steps toward a thriving agricultural sector at all scales are important to ensuring future economic prosperity in Prince George’s County. The Agriculture Conservation Plan is a blueprint for supporting broad community efforts to create meaningful change in the local food system.

IMPLEMENTATION The following agriculture conservation policies and strategies provide the decision-making framework regarding agricultural and forestry land uses in the County. They are grouped by policy area and provide guidance for residents, nonprofits, businesses, and County agencies and commissions.

Conserving Agricultural and Forestry Lands POLICY 1: Preserve, enhance, and where appropriate restore agricultural and forestry lands. 1.1

Secure permanent and recurring County funding for land conservation programs that focus on the placement of conservation easements that support continued farming and forestry practices.

1.2

Increase the funding for a variety of programs to expeditiously preserve agricultural land and retain healthy forests, in private ownership, with preference given to parcels adjacent to land that has already been preserved or adjacent to land that is eligible for preservation funds based on its characteristics.

1.3

Increase coordination with local land trusts and nonprofit organizations and support their roles in preserving land in the County.

1.4

Continue to update state certification of the agricultural land preservation program signifying the importance to the County of preserving high-value farm and forest land and supporting the agriculture industry.

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1.5

Continue to allow multiple programs to preserve land on a single property, while ensuring that protections funded through separate programs do not overlap.

1.6

Continue to provide farming opportunities where appropriate on public land and seek additional options for public support of all scales of farming operations.

1.7

Restore where appropriate marginal agricultural and forested lands to improve productivity and economic viability.

1.8

Clarify the application processes for land preservation programs, coordinate the programs with each other, and coordinate and promote all the programs in a more efficient way.

1.9

Evaluate the feasibility of small-scale easements or other land acquisition programs as a method of securing land for urban, suburban, and rural food production.

1.10 Develop a work plan to provide complete information about agricultural and forestry preservation benefits, and to increase the participation of farm and forest landowners, with a focus on farms owned by people of color and those that are 35 acres or smaller. POLICY 2: Minimize development in areas of prime farm and forest acreage to preserve critical masses of the agricultural land base. 2.1

Continue to implement, strengthen, and enforce the right-to-farm provisions in the County Code to demonstrate the County’s commitment to an agriculturally based economy.

2.2

Evaluate the conservation subdivision regulations to determine if it is feasible to increase the amount of area required for conservation without affecting the allowable density.

2.3

Include non-PPA properties in the PPA if they contain productive soils, are within the Rural and Agricultural Area of the County and fill a gap between preserved properties.

POLICY 3: Support preservation of 80 percent of the Priority Preservation Area. 3.1

Seek available federal, state, local, and other sources of funding to preserve agricultural and forestry lands within the PPA.

3.2

Designate an annual, ongoing source of funding targeted for preservation of agricultural and forestry lands within the PPA, sufficient to preserve 80 percent of the PPA.

3.3

Continue to evaluate the policies and strategies of the Agriculture Conservation Plan that relate to the PPA every three years to allow regular opportunities to report on plan implementation.

POLICY 4: Identify valuable mineral resources, seek methods to protect and manage access and reclaim these areas where possible for future farm or forest enterprises or agricultural support services. 4.1

Enforce the reclamation requirements on sand and gravel mines including the implementation of the tree conservation plan, the grading permit, and the restoration of the preserved topsoil.

4.2

Determine appropriate uses for previously mined lands including restoring the soil for agricultural purposes, forestry enterprises, or other community or recreational uses.

4.3

Revise the Environmental Impact Report process to require applicants to provide the report and all required information regarding potential impacts of mining applications.

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Promoting an Agriculture-based Economy POLICY 5: Seek opportunities to increase the value of farm and forest lands. 5.1

Allow a broad spectrum of new uses, including agritourism, on agricultural and forested lands, as long as those uses continue to focus on agriculture and forestry or related uses and do not take existing agricultural or forested land out of production.

5.2

Revise the Zoning Ordinance to allow appropriate agricultural and forestry uses in appropriate zones.

5.3

Promote forest stewardship and certification programs, landowner cooperatives, tree planting, and other innovative practices to increase land values and minimize forest loss.

5.4

Promote woodland conservation banking as a way to preserve and connect valuable forest patches on private properties.

5.5

Continue to adjust fee-in-lieu amounts as needed to support woodland banking as the less expensive alternative for meeting the woodland requirements.

5.6

Continue to evaluate options for establishing a transfer of development rights (TDR) program as market conditions evolve in the future.

5.7

Continue to utilize various programs, policies, and regulations, such as the Woodland and Wildlife Habitat Conservation Ordinance banking program, to encourage the protection of prime agricultural and forested lands, secure carbon credits, and maximize carbon sequestration where appropriate.

5.8

Consider County tax credits as incentives for the establishment of conservation easements.

POLICY 6: Strengthen agriculture as a viable economic sector. 6.1

Add the economic viability of farm and forest enterprises to the County’s overall economic development strategy.

6.2

Evaluate appropriate financial incentives and tax credits for agricultural enterprises.

6.3

Complete efforts to create and launch a One-Stop Shop where farmers and producers can access services from the Soil Conservation District (SCD), University of Maryland Extension, and other local, state, and federal agencies that provide technical or regulating assistance.

6.4

Explore the viability of markets for bio-based renewable energy production, such as bio-energy and bio-based forest products such as fuelwood, timber, or pulpwood.

6.5

Develop grant and low-interest loan programs to support new and continuing agriculture enterprises, including start-ups and maintenance and upgrades of existing operations.

6.6

Consider revising County procurement policies to require that County agencies give priority to County farmers.

6.7

Support farm-to-institution, farm-to-school, and farm-to-table programs, and connect farmers to schools, colleges, hospitals and other institutions, and restaurants.

6.8

Promote and support direct marketing to consumers via farmers markets, CSAs, roadside stands, and on-farm sales and encourage creative ways to market locally grown foods.

6.9

Revise the Zoning Ordinance to allow food processing facilities and value-added activities in more zones.

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POLICY 7: Involve County and state agencies, municipalities, educational institutions, and nonprofit organizations in the development of agricultural and forestry-related businesses. 7.1

Continue and improve coordination between County agencies and all involved in the growing of healthy food.

7.2

Continue SCD coordination efforts of the federal and state activities with respect to best management practices, support services, and preservation activities with the various governmental entities and nonprofit organizations.

7.3

Secure permanent funding for the agricultural marketing specialist position in cooperation with the University of Maryland Extension.

7.4

Support the work of the Prince George’s County Food Equity Council and consider their policy recommendations.

7.5

Support the establishment of a food hub that includes agricultural distribution, processing, and support facilities, and a commercial kitchen. Partner with the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission and seek funding and technical assistance to support food hub development at the Cheltenham Warehouse Facility or other similar properties.

7.6

Collaborate with the Prince George’s County Economic Development Corporation and other business development entities to facilitate farmer training programs such as incubators, agricultural enterprise development and marketing, and connecting small food retailers with local produce providers.

Supporting Urban Agriculture POLICY 8: Include urban agriculture in land use planning and zoning. 8.1

Evaluate opportunities for incorporating urban agriculture uses as land use plans are updated or created.

8.2

Consider setting aside land for community gardens and/or urban farms in all new development in residential, mixed-use, and comprehensive design zones.

8.3

Revise the Zoning Ordinance to: a. Allow urban agriculture uses in all zones and in all growth policy areas, provided that different rules may apply to different types of agricultural and forestry uses in different zones. b. Allow innovative urban agriculture practices such as rooftop farms and indoor warehouse farms where space exists or can be created.

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POLICY 9: Increase awareness of and access to land suitable for urban agriculture uses. 9.1

Increase access to public land for urban agriculture uses.

9.2

Encourage edible landscaping in all projects, including in parks and along sidewalks, and other public rights-of-way, as well as on privately owned land. Future updates to the Landscape Manual should include a section on edible landscaping.

9.3

Create and maintain a publicly owned land inventory and identify land appropriate for a variety of urban agriculture uses.

9.4

Initiate a farmlink program for urban agriculture to connect farmers to property owners who want to sell or lease their land.

9.5

Create a vacant-lot cultivation program for abandoned properties in areas with limited access to healthy food.

9.6

Create a special urban agriculture easement program to preserve vacant or unused land for urban agriculture.

9.7

Encourage innovative designs to accommodate urban agriculture, including vertical farms and include growing food as part of multifunctional landscapes.

POLICY 10: Involve County and state agencies, municipalities, educational institutions, and nonprofit organizations in the development of urban agriculture. 10.1 Establish a new position or designate a staff member within a County agency to act as an urban agriculture coordinator/food system coordinator and policy specialist to coordinate among local, state, and regional parties. 10.2 Support the programs and educational efforts of the University of Maryland Extension Service and partner with them on projects. 10.3 Build demonstration gardens for food production at government facilities and organize garden tours to educate the public. 10.4 Evaluate the feasibility of establishing more school gardens and an educational farm on public land. 10.5 Establish an urban agriculture incubator. 10.6 Consider the policy recommendations and implementation strategies provided in Urban Agriculture: A Tool for Creating Economic Development and Healthy Communities in Prince George’s County, MD.

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APPENDICES Appendix A: Documents Supporting the Agriculture Conservation Plan This list contains the plans, studies, and documents that provided direction for the preparation of the Agriculture Conservation Plan. Year

Document name

Document Summary

2002

Prince George’s County Approved General Plan

Established the Rural Tier, now known as the Rural and Agricultural Area, with a vision for preserving agriculture, rural character, vistas, recreation, woodlands, and wildlife habitat. Set the goal of conserving an average of 1,500 acres of land per year.

2004

Southern Maryland Tobacco The National Trust for Historic Preservation added the estimated Barn Coalition (SMTBC) 5,000 Tobacco Barns of Southern Maryland to America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in 2004. The SMTBC formed to support farmers’ efforts to preserve and repurpose the barns. This intercounty coalition helped spark future preservation efforts and brought attention to the valuable cultural resources in Southern Maryland and Prince George’s County. Participating counties included: Prince George’s, St. Mary’s, Anne Arundel, Calvert, and Charles.

2005

Approved Countywide Green Infrastructure Plan

Provided a countywide network of ecological lands that included working lands in rural areas. Policies and strategies support the appropriate use of natural resources.

2009

Prince George’s County Strategic Program for Agricultural Development

First published in conjunction with the Subregion 6 Master Plan and Sectional Map Amendment, this document outlines the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats relating to the County’s agricultural sector and identifies recommendations in four focus areas—Regulation and Policy, Market Development, Business Development, and Economic Development.

2012

Sustainable Growth and Agricultural Preservation Act

Also known as the SGA or SB 236, this statewide legislation required that localities designate septic tiers, or areas that either will or will not be allowed to connect to public sewer lines, in order to direct future development. The effect has been a reduction in development demand in portions of the RAA, indirectly preserving agricultural areas from development.

2012

Priority Preservation Area Functional Master Plan

Also known as the PPA, this plan fulfills the state requirement for each County seeking certification to define a priority preservation area that supports profitable agricultural and forestry enterprises. Among the PPA recommendations are agricultural land preservation and minimization of development that could affect the viability of agriculture in the PPA. The County has since received certification through the Maryland Department of Planning (MDP) and the Maryland Agricultural and Land Preservation Foundation (MALPF), allowing many areas in the PPA to be preserved through MALPF funding and other programs. The PPA Plan helped lay the groundwork for minimizing the impacts of development in rural areas.

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Year

Document name

Document Summary

2012

Urban Agriculture: A Tool for Creating Economic Development and Healthy Communities in Prince George’s County, Maryland

Urban agriculture is increasingly being considered as a strategy for enhanced urban food security. This report defines urban agraiculture and describes its relationship to food system planning, sustainablility, and public health. It discusses planning and public policy for urban agriculture and best local government practices.

2013

Approved Subregion 5 Master The Subregion 5 Master Plan includes areas in the south and Plan and Proposed Sectional southwest of Prince George’s County. It outlines a vision for the Rural Map Amendment and Agricultural Area (RAA) that protects large amounts of land for environmental quality, recreation, agriculture, and preserving rural character and vistas. Recommendations for the RAA “…are intended to balance pressure for residential development and landowners’ equity with the desire to maintain rural character and sustainable natural environments.” Especially important are the Piscataway, Mattawoman, and Potomac watersheds, which are areas with significant environmental and historic value.

2013

Approved Subregion 6 Master Plan and Sectional Map Amendment

Subregion 6 comprises the southeastern portion of the County, 70 percent of which is designated as being within the RAA. It is the largest contiguous rural area in the County. Subregion 6 Master Plan development policies echo those of the Subregion 5 Master Plan. They allow for limited residential development at low densities that can occur in ways that preserve rural character. These include employing conservation subdivision techniques and limiting the effects of lighting in rural areas. The plan also devotes a section to the subregion’s ample historic and cultural resources, which is aimed at protecting rural and historic character by safeguarding vernacular architecture and encouraging adaptive use of historic structures.

2014

Plan Prince George’s 2035 Approved General Plan

The most recent General Plan for the County specifically calls for implementation of the guidelines from the Croom and Aquasco Scenic Byway Plan and for the preservation of viewsheds and historic resources. It also establishes a growth policy that focuses on directing development to established communities, especially designated Local Centers and Regional Transit Districts, and away from rural areas.

2015

Healthy Food for All Prince Georgians: An Assessment of Access to Healthy Food in Prince George’s County, Maryland

Also known as the Food System Study, this assessment of access to healthy food identifies issues related to demand and supply of health food. It includes findings on areas with limited food access, food-health connection, school meals, and food insecurity. Policy recommendations are provided.

Various dates

Prince George’s County Code

Sections of the County Code that address agriculture and forestry concerns include the Agriculture Ordinance in Subtitle 30, the Woodland and Wildlife Habitat Conservation Ordinance in Subtitle 25, and the Historic Preservation Ordinance in Subtitle 29.

Various dates

Prince George’s County Zoning Ordinance

The Zoning Ordinance applies countywide and contains the regulations that apply to land development in the various zoning categories. Recent efforts have updated the definition of agriculture to include more types of uses. The Zoning Ordinance is currently being rewritten.

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Appendix B: Methodology for Determining the Priority Preservation Area in Prince George’s County The methodology for determining the 2012 Priority Preservation Area (PPA) Plan’s delineation of the PPA took into consideration state law and other criteria as noted below. The 2017 PPA boundaries were amended to reflect technical corrections required because of other plan approvals. The total acreage required to meet the 80 percent goal was amended to reflect the current acreages of developed and undeveloped land within the PPA, as of May 2016. The identification of developed properties was refined to ensure a more accurate calculation. Refer to the ACP for more information regarding the acreages within the PPA in 2017. When the PPA was created in 2012, the following methodology was used in its delineation: Criteria for inclusion on the PPA is provided in HB 2, Section 3.05(a)(6)(ii)(8) of Land Use Article of the Maryland Annotated Code, and in accordance with Section 2-518 of the Agriculture Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland which states that a PPA shall: • Contain productive agricultural or forest soils; or be capable of supporting profitable agricultural and forestry enterprises where productive soils are lacking. • Be governed by local policies that stabilize the agricultural and forest land base so that development does not convert or compromise agricultural or forest resources. • Be large enough to support the kind of agricultural operations that the County seeks to preserve, as represented in its adopted comprehensive plan. • Include the County’s acreage goal for land to be preserved through easements, which shall be equal to at least 80 percent of the remaining undeveloped land in the PPA, as calculated at the time of application for state certification. Quality soils are important for determining the PPA, and a high priority is placed on the conservation, protection, and enhancement of soil, water, and other natural resources. In particular, it is critical to retain soil quality for agricultural uses, and not allow it to become depleted or eroded. Productive agricultural or forest soils were defined as being in the following categories based on the USDA soil layer (Class IV, Forest class soils, was based on the hardwood forest cover): • Class I: Few limitations that restrict their use for agriculture. • Class II: Moderate limitations for agriculture (reduce choice of plants or require moderate conservation practices). • Class III: Severe limitations for agriculture (reduce choice of plants and/or require special conservation practices). • Class IV: Very severe limitations for agriculture (reduce choice of plants and/or require very careful management).

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The previously mentioned criteria set forth in HB 2 2006 were used to delineate the PPA. Other criteria used for determining the appropriateness of land for inclusion in the PPA, similar to the methodology used in Subregions 5 and 6, included: Primary Criteria • Areas of Class I, II, and III agricultural soils. • Land in the Rural and Agricultural Area. • Agriculturally assessed properties for tax purposes. • Areas in the zoning categories: »» R-A (Residential-Agricultural) »» R-O-S (Reserved Open Space) »» O-S (Open Space) »» R-E (Residential-Estate) »» R-R (Rural-Residential) • Properties permanently protected by MALPF, HARPP, or PDR preservation programs, Rural Legacy, Program Open Space, Maryland Environmental Trust. • Land adjacent to areas protected by HARPP, MALPF, and woodland conservation banks. • Areas with parkland being farmed. • Areas least compromised by development. • Areas with forest resources, with special emphasis on existing or potential hardwood resources. Supporting Criteria • Areas within the green infrastructure network. • Areas with mineral resources. • Rational, simple boundaries following, where possible, natural features and roads rather than property lines. Definitions The following definitions were used in the delineation of the PPA, distinguishing the categories of land that were considered in deriving the target acreage protection goal. Agricultural assessment: Land actively used for farm or agricultural purposes; actively used means land that is actually and primarily used for a continuing farm or agricultural use; in addition, gross revenues derived from the agricultural activity are required to be $2,500 or more. Developed: Land that has an improvement value of $15,000 or greater and is not within the BARC or the PRR; is not vacant; and is not in agricultural use. Calculation of this acreage by the Information Management Division is approximate and subject to change pending revisions of the land use layer and other datasets. The amount of change detected is attributable primarily to a refinement in the methodology.

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Undeveloped: Land within the PPA that is not classified as developed. Total acreage protection goal: 80 percent of the undeveloped land in the PPA. Permanently preserved: Has a perpetual conservation or open space easement, or fee simple ownership, held by a federal, state, or local government or nonprofit organization for natural resource, forestry, agriculture, wildlife, recreation, historic, cultural or open space use, or to sustain water quality and living resource values. Woodland conservation banking sites are considered permanently preserved and protected and, if relocated, incur a substantial penalty in increased acreage. The net tract area of established woodland conservation banks was used in this calculation. Protected: For the PPA, same as permanently preserved. Remaining protection goal: the difference between the 80 percent total acreage protection goal and the protected acres (subtracting protected acres); the remaining undeveloped land that is eligible for protection. When doing this reporting in the future the table below should be used. Table X. Priority Preservation Area Target Acreage Protection Goal (see descriptions of each line below the table) 2017 1

Change

Priority Preservation Area

2

Developed

3

Undeveloped

4

20XX

Target Acreage Protection Goal (80% of Undeveloped)

5

Land Already Protected

6

Remaining Protection Goal

Line 1: Priority Preservation Area (total delineated area). Line 2: Developed land has an improvement value greater than or equal to $15,000 and is not within BARC or PRR; is not vacant; is not in an agricultural use. Line 3: Undeveloped is the acreage of land that does not meet the definition of Developed (Line 1 minus Line 2). Line 4: Target Acreage Protection Goal is 80 percent of the Undeveloped (Line 3). Line 5: Land Already Protected is land that is not included in the Protection Goal (Line 6).

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Section IV Rural Character Conservation Plan: A Countywide Functional Master Plan


Rural Character Conservation Plan: A Countywide Functional Master Plan

Miles of Special Roadways:

390 miles

Percentage of Mount Vernon’s viewshed within Prince George’s County:

Number of supporting documents: (See Appendix A)

20

53%


Rural Character Conservation Plan: A Countywide Functional Master Plan

Our Vision

for the Future Plan 2035 contains a broad vision for our future. The following vision statement reflects how the implementation of the Rural Character Conservation Plan could shape the future in support of the healthy, vibrant, connected communities envisioned in Plan 2035

In 2035, Prince George’s County is participating in the ongoing conservation of its rural heritage through careful and strategic application of context-sensitive solutions, including viewshed protections.

Prince George’s County is distinguished as having beautiful rural landscapes that support rural living and a thriving rural economy based on heritage and ecotourism.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS Our Vision for the Future................................................................................103 Background.....................................................................................................105 Conservation of Rural Character ..........................................................................................................106 Summary of Community Input..............................................................................................................107

Plan Goals........................................................................................................108 Measurable Objectives..................................................................................108 Policy Areas.....................................................................................................112 Preserving Rural Character ....................................................................................................................112 Protecting Designated Viewsheds........................................................................................................116 Conserving the Anacostia Trails Heritage Area (ATHA).....................................................................118

Implementation..............................................................................................121 Appendix: Planning Efforts and Documents Supporting the Rural Character Conservation Plan ........................................................124 Maps Map 10. Special Roadways......................................................................................................................114 Map 11. Mount Vernon Viewshed (Area of Primary Concern)..........................................................117 Map 12. 2017 Anacostia Trails Heritage Area......................................................................................120

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BACKGROUND One of Prince George’s County’s most significant defining features is its rich rural and agricultural heritage. A significant portion of the County remains rural, much of it designated as the Rural and Agricultural Area (RAA) in Plan Prince George’s 2035 Approved General Plan (Plan 2035). Rural character includes resources such as scenic views, historic sites, and magnificent landscapes that are historically and culturally significant and in need of conservation. Rural areas hold tremendous value as the embodiment of the County’s heritage, and have been the subject of many studies and conservation measures to preserve, protect, and maintain their unique character. Table 5 summarizes three recent studies that contributed significantly to this plan.

This plan amends the related policies and strategies of previously approved plans, in particular the following: • • • • •

Plan 2035 2010 Historic Sites and Districts Plan 2013 Subregion 5 Master Plan 2013 Subregion 6 Master Plan 2010 Subregion 1 Master Plan

A full inventory of relevant studies, applicable plans, and supporting documents is provided in Appendix A.

Table 5. Studies that Contributed to Recommendations in the 2017 Rural Character Conservation Plan Study Name

Status of Implementation

Croom and Aquasco Roads Scenic Byway Plan Elements, May 2012

CR-79-2013 endorses the findings of this study and authorized the Croom and Aquasco Scenic Byway Advisory Committee. The committee has not been established.

Rural Villages Study, September 2012

CR-79-2013 recognizes the Rural Villages Study as an effort by the Planning Department to work with the communities of Aquasco, Baden, and Croom to conserve rural character. Implementation has been limited by the requirements of the Sustainable Growth Act, which restricts development on septic systems in certain areas of the County.

Conserving Significant Cultural Landscapes: Protecting the Piscataway and Accokeek Historic Communities and the Mount Vernon Viewshed, March 2013

The study was presented during a Planning Board briefing on April 18, 2013. The Planning Board endorsed the study’s recommendations, authorized its release to the public, and approved staff’s request to proceed to viewshed legislation. The implementation of the protections recommended in the study are being considered as part of this plan and the ongoing Zoning Ordinance and Subdivision Regulations Rewrite project.

The Rural Character Conservation Plan (RCCP) builds upon the recommendations of these studies, as well as the multiple other planning documents, to provide goals, policies, and strategies to preserve landscapes in Prince George’s County that contribute to its significant cultural and historic resources and rural character. The plan is a tool that can help support rural lifestyles, heritage, and ecotourism and can assist in making development in rural areas more attractive to potential residents who value authentic landscapes. Resource Conservation Plan | 105


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The purpose of the RCCP is to provide broad countywide strategies and recommendations as a tool to guide future development activity and preservation, and to provide a foundation to achieve its stated goals. It should not be construed as superseding or conflicting with codified criteria for development.

Conservation of Rural Character Each of the plans within the Resource Conservation Plan (RCP) provides a more detailed definition of conservation as appropriate for that plan. This plan uses a definition of conservation that is broader than the one most people in historic and cultural preservation circles are accustomed to. The definition of conservation used in this context is purposefully broad to include preservation as well as enhancement and restoration. Figure 8. Definition of Conservation in the Rural Character Conservation Plan

As noted in the Section I: Overview, the word

conservation can be defined as:

“…the action of conserving something, in particular: • Preservation, protection or restoration of the natural environment, natural ecosystems, vegetation, wildlife. • Preservation, repair, and prevention of deterioration of archeological, historic, and cultural sites and artifacts.” The Rural Character Conservation Plan seeks to conserve the remaining vast and varied rural character elements: to preserve remaining features, to provide enhancement where needed, and to restore lost cultural and landscape elements.

The RCCP is written to function in concert with the other two elements of the RCP—the Green Infrastructure Functional Master Plan (GI Plan) and the Agricultural Conservation Functional Master Plan (ACP). It aligns with the goals of these plans in that it contributes to environmental protection by encouraging development patterns that minimally impact existing ecosystems and natural resources, helping to assure that existing agricultural land is able to remain in production. Together, these three plan elements will help to guide growth appropriately throughout the County, ensuring that areas with significant rural character retain value as historic resources and environmental assets, promoting a thriving agricultural and tourism economy.

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Summary of Community Input Between 2010 and 2015, public input was sought and received in conjunction with the studies noted in Table 5. In particular, the public participation was focused on rural character conservation in the Rural Villages study, which contains the results of a visioning session and various meetings with rural residents. Building on the input received during the preparation of these three recent studies, the public participation process sought to engage residents countywide regarding the value of rural landscapes. As noted in Section I: Overview, the public input process consisted of three community input sessions where participants were asked what they wanted to see more of and less of in the three subject areas covered in the plan— green infrastructure, agriculture, and rural character. These sessions were followed by an open forum where a summary of the input was provided and an opportunity was offered to comment on draft maps. An input session was also held to focus on the issues of interest to municipalities. The issues of interest to the most participants relevant to the RCCP included: • Provide regulations for special roadways and protect viewsheds of scenic roadways. • Ensure good wildlife habitat conditions such as wildlife crossings/underpasses and signage to alert drivers of wildlife. • Maintain current subdivision restrictions (must be conservation subdivision). • Ensure improved preservation of public and private properties along/in the rural tier. • Allow for bike trails along utility rights-of-way. • Promote the use and enjoyment of historic sites, parks, trails, agricultural resources, and bikeways to increase the number of people who want to protect areas. During the development of the RCP, public agencies came together to discuss the plan’s contents and future implementation. Each agency saw how its work is reflected in the plan and sought ways to participate in implementation. Moving forward, just as the implementation of Plan 2035 will involve the coordinated efforts of everyone, so must the RCP seek to involve public agencies and nonprofits, places of worship and educational institutions, and businesses and volunteers in its implementation. The implementation of the GI Plan is especially dependent upon interagency and nonprofit coordination because there are so many people working toward the same environmental goals. The County’s Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) is one example of an ongoing, multiagency project where a coordinated effort is necessary. For a summary of the public input provided for the RCP, refer to Section I: Overview. Full summaries of all of the public input sessions are available in the RCP Technical Summary.

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PLAN GOALS Rural character conservation provides multiple benefits to both residents of and visitors to rural and agricultural areas. Viewsheds provide connections to our shared heritage, and land conservation goals support the County’s goals for agricultural conservation. Rural landscapes are an economic asset for growing a green and agricultural-based economy. The goals of the 2017 RCCP are to support the desired development pattern of Plan 2035 by: • Preserving, enhancing, and restoring our rural heritage. • Supporting rural agriculture. • Improving human health by connecting more people to rural and scenic places. The RCCP provides guidance for decision-making at all levels of government, businesses, developers, nonprofits, and associated organizations, provides the framework for conservation of critical historic landscapes, and supports the continuation of rural and agricultural lifestyles in appropriate settings.

MEASURABLE OBJECTIVES When the resources to be measured involve the beauty and benefits of conserving historic and cultural landscapes, it can be difficult to quantify implementation milestones.

Objective One: In 2035, 90 percent of the implementation strategies in this plan will be either completed or will be implemented and ongoing. When the implementation status of this plan is evaluated in the future, it will be viewed through the lens of the total number of strategies completed plus the number implemented and ongoing. Some of the implementation strategies in the RCCP are ongoing tasks and some are one-time tasks. For an example of this type of analysis, see the RCP Technical Summary analysis of the strategies in the 2005 Green Infrastructure Plan (GI Plan), where 80 of the 92 strategies were completed or ongoing by 2015. The implementation time frame for the measurable objectives and implementation strategies in this plan is 20 years; however, it will likely be updated prior to completion of the 20-year period.

Purpose and Need for the Rural Character Conservation Plan The purpose of the RCCP is to preserve, protect and, where appropriate, restore the rural and historic character of Prince George’s County by: • Building upon past policies, strategies, and studies. • Coordinating with the goals and efforts of relevant state and County agencies. • Complementing the green infrastructure and agricultural conservation elements of the RCP.

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This functional master plan brings together rural character conservation policies and strategies from various existing planning documents and elevates the concerns raised in previous studies to master plan status, allowing them to contribute to future land development and roadway construction decisions. One of the themes that runs throughout the existing planning documents and studies is the need to create rural design standards that can shape proposed changes to the rural landscape and address not just certain roads and properties, but viewsheds and landscapes as a whole. The RCCP contains policies and strategies that help to shape future design standards to fulfill the needs identified by previous studies and contributes to context-sensitive development affecting rural landscapes. Plan 2035 contains six principles that guide its vision, policies, and strategies. The principle most relevant to this plan is: 6. Protect and Value Our Natural Resources Protecting and restoring our green infrastructure network, waterways, agricultural preservation areas, and forested lands will help improve the quality of our water and air, preserve remaining open spaces, and enhance community health. A healthy environment is increasingly a prerequisite for many businesses and workers looking to relocate to the region. Plan 2035 commits to proactively greening our built environment, restoring degraded resources, and promoting a more sustainable development pattern that reduces our reliance on driving and shifts development pressures away from our greenfields. Comprehensive implementation of Plan 2035, where development is directed away from rural, agricultural, and forested lands, could make significant contributions to the long-term conservation of rural character. Conserving rural character aligns with numerous other community goals. By ensuring the protection of views along scenic areas, residents and visitors can tangibly travel through history as they visit rural areas. They are provided with a full experience, not just a few picturesque sites. This could enhance Prince George’s County’s standing as a unique tourism destination, as well as foster local and regional pride and interest in the County’s history. The Conserving Significant Cultural Landscapes study identifies numerous benefits of rural character conservation, including boosting heritage tourism by capitalizing on links between important heritage sites and potentially increasing homeowner property values by ensuring proximity to mature forest or other green space.1 The RCCP fulfills both Plan 2035’s goal of implementing previous rural character studies and supports Conserving Significant Cultural Landscapes, pg. 32.

1

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its growth policy of focusing new urban and suburban development around designated downtowns and centers. The combination of directing growth toward areas with existing infrastructure and minimizing its impact on rural landscapes will ensure that future development is both efficient and contextually appropriate, contributing to, rather than detracting from, Prince George’s County’s appealing historic landscape. As repeatedly identified in the policies and strategies of Plan 2035—most pointedly under Policy 13 of the Community Heritage, Culture, and Design section—there is a need to “…implement contextsensitive design for roadways and residential and commercial development to preserve the County’s rural character.”2 The Rural Villages Study recommends “…extending and broadening the intent of the conservation subdivision; …protecting scenic viewsheds…and site characteristics unique to the Rural Tier while improving connectivity and safety for the pedestrian, cyclist, and motorist; and developing design guidelines to guide future development patterns.”3 Context sensitive solutions are also supported by the Department of Public Works and Transportation’s (DWP&T) Guidelines for the Design of Scenic and Historic Roadways when balancing scenic and historic road preservation with vehicle, bicycle, and pedestrian safety:

“In resolving such matters as needed safety improvements, maintenance issues, and preservation of scenic or historic features, all parties are to consider

various solutions for attaining the primary goals of safety.”4 In addition to preserving rural character along Special Roadways, the importance of the Mount Vernon viewshed cannot be overstated. This historic home of George Washington serves as a reminder of this region’s heritage as the birthplace of the nation, and points to the areas’ rich history and the shaping of Native American, European, and African (slave) cultures. The significance of preserving the view from this landmark has long been recognized by many, including active groups such as the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association that has maintained the property and its historical context since 1860. Approximately 53 percent of the viewshed is within the County, and almost half that is protected. Multiple public or nonprofit properties exist within the Mount Vernon viewshed, including The Accokeek Foundation’s National Colonial Farm, Alice Ferguson Foundation’s Hard Bargain Farm Environmental Center, Abridged Version Plan Prince George’s 2035, pg. 25, Strategy HD13.2. Rural Villages, pg. 3. 4 Guidelines for the Design of Scenic and Historic Roadways, Appendix F, Section IV.F–1 in Specifications and Standards for Roadways and Bridges, Prince George’s County Department of Public Works and Transportation. 2 3

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the Piscataway Historic District, the Fort Washington National Historic Site, the Moyaone Reserve, and Piscataway Park. Numerous planning efforts, such as successive Subregion 5 Master Plans and the Historic Sites and Districts Plan contain land use policies and strategies aimed at preserving rural character in the Mount Vernon Viewshed, which is also called the Area of Primary Concern (APC). See Map 11 on page 117 for the delineation of the APC. Throughout this plan, the APC is referred to as the Mount Vernon Viewshed. Although about 6,000 acres of the Mount Vernon Viewshed are already protected as public land or through scenic and environmental easements, more than 8,000 acres remain in private ownership. Insensitive development of these private lands has the potential to erode the area’s environmental quality, rural character, and viewshed integrity over time. The strategies recommended in this plan provide the guidance for land use decision-making within the Mount Vernon Viewshed and the guidance for the creation of design standards in the future to protect irreplaceable landscape elements. This plan consolidates the recommendations of numerous plans and studies. By implementing the strategies in the plan, and updating the County Code as needed, the vision of conserving landscapes and viewsheds critical to our heritage can become a reality.

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POLICY AREAS Preserving Rural Character

Ways to improve bicycle safety on rural roadways: • Improve shoulders, reduce changes in surfaces. • Improve signage for motorists and cyclists. • Provide designated bicycle lanes where the width of pavement allows.

Past planning efforts have discussed the need to define the elements of rural character. For example, the Conserving Significant Cultural Landscapes study describes unique features of the Piscataway-Accokeek area as the wide, peaceful confluence of the Potomac River and Piscataway Creek and prominent ridges and knolls with unfragmented blocks of mature forest, farmland, and other open space.5 The Rural Villages Study engaged the community by using visual preference surveys and discussions, and concluded that character elements relating to the natural and built environment in rural areas can change depending on the presence of contextual elements, although some characteristics were favored—low-density residential development well-screened from scenic and historic roadways; small-scale, farm-related storefronts; simple, unobtrusive signs; fencing; rustic driveways; and appropriate traffic calming elements. This conclusion is consistent with the best practices in this field—rural character must be evaluated within its context and design solutions need to be context sensitive. The Croom and Aquasco Scenic Byway Plan Elements document largely references the character-defining efforts of other studies such as the Lower Patuxent Scenic Byway Intrinsic Quality Inventory Report. The Lower Patuxent Scenic Byway is now called the Star-Spangled Banner Scenic Byway (SSBSB), and is a part of the larger Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail and Scenic Byway (STSP). This report provides a detailed account of the byway’s qualities that contribute to its rural character. Descriptions of these qualities include:

“The canopy of trees along the edge increases the scenic quality of this segment of Croom Road, with open vistas of agricultural land just beyond it.” and “…beyond this point, the landscape is rolling and Croom Road follows the natural topography of the land. The road turns more picturesque, offering views of open fields or views enclosed by shrubs and tree canopies on either side.”6 While rural character is often best defined by its context and relies on identification of unique landscape features, certain design standards can be applied countywide to lessen the visual impact of changes made to rural landscapes. Future design standards should be established in the Zoning Ordinance that strike a Conserving Significant Cultural Landscapes, pg. 2. Lower Patuxent Scenic Byway Intrinsic Quality Inventory Report, appendix to Croom and Aquasco Scenic Byway Plan Elements, pg. A1–26

5

6

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balance between context-specific and broad definitions of rural character that are recommended to allow for transparency, consistency, and efficiency in the development review process. The master plans for Subregions 5 and 6 provide extensive guidance on how to treat rural character and landscapes when development occurs. In addition, the need for rural design standards has been addressed in several master plans and was clearly articulated in the 2009 Approved Master Plan of Transportation (MPoT), which addresses the need to provide rural character protections for Special Roadways. Special Roadways, as shown on Map 10, include any road or section of road that is designated scenic, historic, or both; a scenic byway; or a parkway. Scenic and historic roads are designated as such by the County Council. Parkways are under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service, and scenic byways are designated by the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA). The Master Plan of Transportation provides the official inventory of currently designated Special Roadways and devotes a section to Conservation and Enhancement of Special Roadways, with policies such as “conserve and enhance the viewsheds along designated roadways,” under which strategies include “develop guidelines for the design of activities adjacent to designated roadways to include building setbacks, landscaping, scenic easements, and utility clearing.”7 Agencies responsible for Special Roadways: • Parkways: National Park Service • Scenic Byways: Maryland State Highway Administration • Scenic and Historic Roads: Prince George’s County Department of Public Works and Transportation

Approved Countywide Master Plan of Transportation (2009), pg. 49.

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Map 10. Special Roadways

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Rural character design standards should address: • Preservation of identified contributing features. • Need for viewshed analysis. • Constructed site features—building height, materials, lighting, site layout. • Applicability. SEE ALSO: The Community Heritage, Culture and Design chapter in Plan 2035 has additional policies and strategies related to rural character and design.

Development applications within the viewsheds of Special Roadways and properties within the Mount Vernon Viewshed as designated in this plan should be subject to a designated set of rural design standards in the Zoning Ordinance, to provide direction on how these critical landscapes and viewsheds are to be protected and enhanced. These standards should complement the requirements of other countywide ordinances and guidelines such as the Woodland and Wildlife Habitat Conservation Ordinance, the Landscape Manual, and DPW&T’s Specifications and Standards for Roadways and Bridges. Land development applications within designated viewsheds should be accompanied by an inventory of viewshed assets, perhaps as part of the review of the required Natural Resource Inventory.

The conservation subdivision method can improve rural character conservation, reduce development costs, and increase the preservation of natural, cultural, and agricultural site features when compared to conventional designs. The conservation subdivision method of development has been mandatory in the Rural and Agricultural Areas (formerly known as the Rural Tier) since 2010 and optional elsewhere in the County. In much of the Rural and Agricultural Area (RAA) conservation subdivisions are no longer mandatory because when the Sustainable Growth Act was passed, it eliminated the ability to create major subdivisions of more than seven lots in designated areas. Only minor subdivisions are allowed, and minor subdivisions are not required to use the conservation subdivision development method. The conservation subdivision requirements need to be reassessed to determine where they should be mandatory and where they should be optional. To support the desired development pattern of Plan 2035, subdivisions should be required to use the conservation subdivision approach wherever possible. If a site would be better developed using a traditional lot layout because there are no resources to preserve, or a traditional layout would serve another purpose such as improving site access, then traditional subdivision methods should be allowed to be used as an optional approach. The concept of rural villages was developed in the Rural Villages Study, which proposed the consolidation of development rights in such a way that small villages could be created at specified nodes. The existing villages of Aquasco, Baden, and Croom were studied to determine feasible options. The concepts used in the Rural Villages Study depended upon land use options that no longer exist, because of the restrictions imposed by the Sustainable Growth Act, negating the opportunity to transfer density to the rural villages and consolidate the development pattern. However, a time may come when technologies and land use options are available to create more vibrant villages. Options should be left open for a time when the limited development of small rural villages is feasible.

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Protecting Designated Viewsheds The viewsheds of concern in this plan are those along designated Special Roadways and the Mount Vernon Viewshed. Special Roadways include the parkways that are under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service, Scenic Byways that are designated by the state, and scenic and historic roads that are designated by the County. See Table 6 for a breakdown of the miles of each type of roadway. Map 10 shows the locations of the Special Roadways. Table 6. Miles of Special Roadways Roadway Type

Total Length (miles)

Total Length (miles) Not Counted Elsewhere

Scenic Roads

24.3

24.3

Historic Roads

203.6

203.6

Roads designated both Scenic and Historic

141.4

141.4

Scenic Byways

82.5

19.8

Parkways

18.9

0.0

470.7

389.1

TOTAL MILES

A viewshed can be defined as the area of land that can be seen from a particular location. In the case of Special Roadways, because it is not possible to identify any one location for viewing, this encompasses all land within one-half mile of the roadway to ensure that all appropriate impacts are evaluated. For Mount Vernon, the viewshed has been established using specialized computer mapping techniques that demonstrate what land is visible from the front porch of the Mount Vernon mansion at approximately 125 feet above sea level (see Map 11). The Mount Vernon Viewshed covers approximately 28,000 acreas of land in northern Virginia and southern Maryland, of which 15,000 acres (23 square miles) are in southwestern Prince George’s County—approximately 53 percent of the entire viewshed. Much of the development within the Area of Primary Concern (APC) has not significantly impacted the view from Mount Vernon, and almost half of the portion of the viewshed within Prince George’s County has been preserved, primarily through acquisition by government entities and through private conservation easements. The remainder of the Mount Vernon Viewshed that is not protected remains vulnerable to visually impactful development. To address potential visual impacts, the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) staff developed and are using an informational and analytical geographic mapping tool that has been integrated into everyday planning and development review tasks.

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Numerous viewshed analyses have addressed locations most vulnerable to development. The most recent analysis, conducted by M-NCPPC staff in 2011, concluded that the most important tools to protect the APC are: 1. Retaining existing tree cover and replanting where necessary. 2. Controlling the siting, height, and materials of structures. 3. Ensuring conformance of subdivision layouts and street alignment. Rural design standards would provide the opportunity to address development in the Mount Vernon Viewshed in a consistent way, ensuring that properties within this area of significant rural character remain relevant with their historic and cultural contexts. Map 11. Mount Vernon Viewshed (Area of Primary Concern) C Broad reek

V IR G I NI A

8 " ) D

Rd ay aw at

Indian Head Hwy

Po t o m a c

George Washington's Mount Vernon

Pi

sc

Fairfax County

M

R i ver

210

? !

8 " ) D

223

Pi

s c ata

Prince George's County

M

way Creek

8 " ) D

Livingston Rd

Berr

373

M

Accok

eek Rd

y Rd

Charles County

MA RYL A ND

Miles

Legend

? !

0

George Washington's Mount Vernon

Prince George's County

Mount Vernon Viewshed Area of Primary Concern

Surrounding Counties

1

2

U

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Conserving the Anacostia Trails Heritage Area (ATHA) On September 25, 2001, the County Council approved the Anacostia Trails Heritage Area Management Plan: A Functional Master Plan for Heritage Tourism (Heritage Plan). The Heritage Plan included numerous policies, strategies, and recommendations to build upon the extensive cultural, historic, and natural resources contained within the designated area, with an emphasis on encouraging and accommodating heritage tourism. Since its approval, a variety of efforts have been undertaken to implement the Anacostia Trails Heritage Area Functional Master Plan. As part of the RCP, the Anacostia Trails Heritage Area (ATHA) is being expanded to allow more communities the opportunity to apply for heritage grants through the state. The State of Maryland created the Maryland Heritage Preservation and Tourism Program to preserve the state’s historic, natural, and cultural resources and to develop programs that encourage heritage tourism. This program is administered by the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority (MHAA), which has the authority to recognize and certify heritage areas. The ATHA has been formally recognized by the state as a heritage area. The 2001 Heritage Plan is a functional master plan required by the Zoning Ordinance to be amended

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according to a process and schedule approved by the County Council. Because the RCP is also a countywide functional plan that amends the General Plan, it is an appropriate vehicle for amending the boundaries of ATHA. The map of the amended ATHA boundaries is provided in Map 12 and is being included in the RCP for public input and comment, per the requirements of the Zoning Ordinance. While the majority of ATHA is located in developed portions of the County, some areas contain rural character elements that support the ATHA heritage conservation goals. As implied by the name, the ATHA boasts an extensive network of existing stream valley trails and railtrails that provide nonmotorized access to many of the key historical, cultural, and recreational features in the area. One of the key recommendations of the heritage plan was the extension of the Anacostia Tributaries Trails System into both Washington, D.C. and north to the City of Laurel. The Prince George’s County Department of Parks and Recreation and other stakeholders are working to achieve this goal by extending the trail system from the Capital Beltway to the Beltsville Community Center. Likewise, the recently constructed Anacostia Riverwalk in the south connects the trail network into Washington, D.C. as envisioned in the Heritage Plan. As shown on Map 12, portions of Cheverly, Bowie, and Glenn Dale are proposed to be added to the ATHA. This designation and boundary change will not result in new regulations on the properties being added, but will make additional grant and funding opportunities available to these communities, including possible funds for the extension of the trails network into each of these areas. A planned trail to Bladensburg Waterfront Park will connect Cheverly to the Anacostia River Trail System, while Bowie and Glen Dale will have access to the Washington, Baltimore and Annapolis (WB&A) Trail and a planned future trail linking the WB&A Trail with the Anacostia Tributaries Trails System. The City of Bowie is also planning the Bowie Heritage Trail, which will extend north and south of the WB&A Trail and connect to destinations like the Bowie MARC Station and Old Town Bowie. The Anacostia Tributaries Trails System is the largest urban trail system in the country, and the planned extensions into Cheverly, Glenn Dale, and Bowie will greatly expand this network. The City of Laurel was included in the 2001 Heritage Plan and is proposed to be retained within ATHA, pending the concurrence of the City of Laurel. The existing extent of ATHA is approximately 88 square miles. The proposed addition to ATHA as highlighted on Map 12 is 22 square miles, for a total of approximately 110 square miles. Table 7 provides the approximate area totals. Table 7. ATHA Boundaries ATHA BOUNDARIES Portion of ATHA Existing ATHA

Acres

Square Miles

56,351

88

Added Area

13,948

22

TOTAL

70,299

110

The properties within ATHA are not subject to additional requirements, standards, or guidelines as a result of being within its boundaries. This designation makes the communities eligible for additional heritagerelated funding and other related benefits.

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Map 12. 2017 Anacostia Trails Heritage Area

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120 | The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission

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Rural Character Conservation Plan: A Countywide Functional Master Plan

IMPLEMENTATION The following policies and strategies provide the decision-making framework regarding land uses in rural areas of the County. They are grouped by policy area and provide guidance for nonprofits, businesses, and County agencies and commissions.

Preserving Rural Character POLICY 1: Promote development patterns that preserve, protect, and enhance rural character. 1.1

Require the use of the conservation subdivision method as the standard single-family detached method of subdivision in Rural and Agricultural Area and the areas designated as Sustainable Growth Act Tier II. Allow the use of traditional subdivision standards where little or no environmental or agricultural resources exist or can be restored on the property.

1.2

Ensure that the uses allowed in rural areas are appropriate to preserve rural character while ensuring that externalities such as traffic are addressed. An over concentration of industrial uses should be discouraged.

1.3

Consider requiring wider minimum buffers and setbacks from rural and Special Roadways to protect the rural character and setting.

1.4

Require the use of natural materials for constructed features to promote visual continuity with the landscape.

1.5

Utilize agriculture preservation programs and other funding sources to protect key elements of designated viewsheds.

1.6

Explore the establishment of scenic easement tax credits to protect historic and cultural viewsheds.

1.7

Provide wildlife with safe passage across or under roads as appropriate. Require bridges or bottomless culverts when existing structures are replaced or new roads, sidewalks, or trails are constructed to preserve the rural character of the area.

1.8

Require the use of appropriate spectrum, energy conserving, full cut-off optics on all street lights and residential and commercial lighting, and prohibit or limit electronic signs.

1.9

Ensure that noise impacts from roadways of arterial designation or higher are mitigated whether through the siting of buildings or through the provision of appropriate noise barriers.

1.10 Maintain the size and configuration of the Rural and Agricultural Area in perpetuity and do not reduce the size for any reason. 1.11 Evaluate options that may become viable in the future for alternative development scenarios for rural villages such as Aquasco, Baden, and Croom.

Resource Conservation Plan | 121


Section IV

POLICY 2: Ensure that both safety and context sensitivity are taken into account when altering features within the rights-of-way of Special Roadways. 2.1

Consider the safety and design standards of the applicable County, state, or federal departments of transportation or public works as an integral part of determining context-sensitive solutions within designated rights-of-way.

2.2

Prioritize design options that best address context sensitivity where multiple, equally safe options for alterations within rights-of-way are available.

2.3

Avoid the use of concrete solutions such as curb and gutter where green stormwater solutions are also appropriate.

2.4

Avoid the addition of extra lanes or acceleration/deceleration lanes on Special Roadways.

2.5

Promote community connectivity and safety for vehicles, pedestrians, and bicycles as appropriate in rural settings, while minimizing the visual impacts or alterations resulting from transportation improvements.

2.6

Improve bicycle facilities where possible along all rural roadways to promote recreational activity in rural areas while maximizing safety for bicyclists and motorists.

POLICY 3: Ensure that rural development procedures are clear, predictable, and efficient. 3.1

Develop a system by which areas subject to rural design standards can be readily identified, either through the Zoning Ordinance or some other mechanism.

3.2

Develop a guidance document to help applicants meet the requirements of a viewshed inventory.

Protecting Designated Viewsheds POLICY 4: Preserve, protect, and enhance the designated viewsheds of Special Roadways and Mount Vernon. 4.1

Require the submission of an inventory of the site and landscape features that contribute to the cultural, historic, and/or scenic significance of the designated viewsheds when land-disturbing activities are proposed within the Mount Vernon Viewshed or within one-half mile of the centerline of a Special Roadway.

4.2

Establish design standards within the Zoning Ordinance that apply to land-disturbing activities within designated viewsheds. Design standards should conserve landscape features and be contextsensitive, prioritizing avoidance, and then minimization of impacts on the landscape, before alteration of existing features. Where impacts on the landscape are unavoidable, mitigation may be necessary, including but not limited to the use of appropriate colors and materials of buildings, planting for screening purposes, or restoring landscape features to provide visual continuity.

122 | The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission


Rural Character Conservation Plan: A Countywide Functional Master Plan

4.3

Educate the public about the design standards and inform applicants early in the review process by placing a note on the site’s Natural Resource Inventory.

POLICY 5: Ensure the maintenance of existing and newly built features contributing to rural character over time. 5.1

Employ conservation easements to protect designated landscape features where identified in the viewshed analysis.

5.2

Prioritize planting of native species wherever possible, and focus on connecting functioning ecosystems and limiting the need for maintenance.

5.3

Enforce conservation and maintenance standards in areas subject to rural design standards.

Conserving the Anacostia Trails Heritage Area POLICY 6: Support the continued implementation of the Anacostia Trails Heritage Area Management Plan and the Maryland Milestones program. 6.1

Promote the amended boundaries of ATHA to stimulate renewed interest in this aspect of heritage tourism and the expansion of heritage tourism to additional areas within Prince George’s County.

6.2

Encourage planning and coordination between ATHA and other local cultural and heritage organizations.

6.3

Connect the Anacostia Tributaries Trails System with the WB&A Trail.

6.4

Continue to seek grants that support heritage tourism and the expansion of the trails network.

6.5

Support the development of the Bowie Heritage Trail in order to promote heritage tourism and resource restoration in the Old Town Bowie area.

6.6

Support the implementation of the trail connection between the Town of Cheverly and Bladensburg Waterfront Park to support a variety of potential users.

Resource Conservation Plan | 123


Section IV

APPENDIX Planning Efforts and Documents Supporting the Rural Character Conservation Plan This list was compiled from the three main supporting documents for the Rural Character Conservation Plan—the Rural Villages Study, Croom and Aquasco Scenic Byway Plan Elements, Conserving Significant Cultural Landscapes: Protecting the Piscataway and Accokeek Historic Communities and the Mount Vernon Viewshed, and additional research conducted for the preparation on the Resource Conservation Plan. Year

Document name

Document Summary

1995

Standards for the Treatment of Developed by the Secretary of the Interior and National Park Historic Properties and Guidelines for Service, these guidelines describe how to apply treatment the Treatment of Cultural Landscapes standards to historic and cultural landscapes through preservation, rehabilitation, restoration, and reconstruction, as appropriate. They intend to guide all actors in the development process in the planning and implementation of project work. While they officially apply to federally-funded projects, “the principles embodied in the Standards have also been adopted by hundreds of preservation commissions across the country in local design guidelines.” They have not been adopted by the County but can be used as a guide.

2002

Approved Prince George’s County General Plan

Established the Rural Tier, now known as the Rural and Agricultural Area, with a vision for preserving agriculture, rural character, vistas, recreation, woodlands, and wildlife habitat.

2004

Southern Maryland Tobacco Barn Coalition (SMTBC)

The National Trust for Historic Preservation added the estimated 5,000 Tobacco Barns of Southern Maryland to America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in 2004. The SMTBC formed to support farmers’ efforts to preserve and repurpose the barns. This intercounty coalition helped spark future preservation efforts and brought attention to the valuable cultural resources in Southern Maryland and Prince George’s County. Participating counties included Prince George’s, St. Mary’s, Anne Arundel, Calvert, and Charles.

2005

Approved Countywide Green Infrastructure Plan

Identified Special Conservation Areas within the Rural and Agricultural Area and countywide. SCAs are recommended for conservation because of their unique resources, which in many cases includes preservation of the rural landscape.

124 | The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission


Rural Character Conservation Plan: A Countywide Functional Master Plan

Year

Document name

Document Summary

2007

Lower Patuxent Scenic Byway Intrinsic Quality Inventory Report

This study, initiated by The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, was the first step in the development of a corridor management plan for the Lower Patuxent Scenic Byway, now known as the Star-Spangled Banner Historic Trail and Scenic Byway. This report covers in detail the archaeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational, and scenic qualities of the Byway, emphasizing their significance and value. Along with this inventory, a survey of tobacco barns along Croom Road was conducted and attached as an appendix to the report and entitled Croom Road Tobacco Barn Survey Report.

2008

Context Sensitive Solutions for Work on Maryland Byways

The purpose of this publication is to serve as a planning, design, and management tool and to provide general information that will assist the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) in their efforts to preserve, maintain, and enhance Maryland’s Byways. Its recommendations do not carry regulatory weight, but are consulted as guidelines.

2009

Countywide Master Plan of Transportation (MPoT)

This plan contains the designations of Special Roadways which include parkways, scenic byways, and Countydesignated scenic and historic roads. More than 200 road segments are designated as Special Roadways. These designations are also noted in PGAtlas, the County’s online mapping website. The MPoT recommends formulating design guidelines to protect significant features within the rights-of-way and viewsheds of these roads.

2010

Approved Historic Sites and Districts Plan

This plan sets countywide preservation policies and provides citizens, nonprofit organizations, the private sector, and government agencies with guidance on historic preservation. Many historic resources are located in rural areas and contribute significantly to rural character.

2010

Prince George’s County Landscape Manual

The purpose of the manual is to beautify communities and improve the quality of life of County residents. The Landscape Manual contains the buffer yard requirements for Special Roadways.

2012

Sustainable Growth and Agricultural Preservation Act of 2012

Also known as the SGA or SB 236, this statewide legislation required that localities designate septic tiers, or areas that either will or will not be allowed to connect to public sewer lines, in order to direct future development. While this legislation does not address rural character directly, the effect is to reduce development demand in portions of the RAA, indirectly preserving rural character and historically agricultural areas.

Resource Conservation Plan | 125


Section IV

Year

Document name

Document Summary

2012

Priority Preservation Area Functional Master Plan

Also known as the PPA, this plan fulfills the state requirement for each County to define a priority preservation area that supports profitable agricultural and forestry enterprises. Among the PPA recommendations are agricultural land preservation and minimization of development that could affect the viability of agriculture in the PPA. The County has since received certification by the Maryland Agricultural and Land Preservation Foundation (MALPF), allowing many areas in the PPA to be preserved through MALPF funding and other programs. The PPA Plan helped lay the groundwork for minimizing the impacts of development in rural areas.

2012

Croom and Aquasco Roads Scenic Byway Plan Elements: A Corridor Management Program for these Roadways and other related StarSpangled Banner Historic Roadways in Prince George’s County

This study presents concepts for promoting more contextsensitive design along the Star-Spangled Banner Scenic Byway (SSBSB) Corridor in southeastern Prince George’s County as both public improvements to roadways and private development along these roadways occur. The Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail and Scenic Byway (STSP) is the designation used by the National Park Service (NPS) for the entirety of the route, which passes through Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. The STSP has an overall corridor management plan prepared by NPS. The SSBSB is the section of the route specific to Prince George’s County, and this corridor management program more specifically addresses elements specific to the SSBSB in complement to the STSP plan. The road segments encompassing the SSBSB are further designated as Special Roadways in the MPoT, and are designated scenic and historic by the County. This study contributed greatly to the recommendations in the RCCP.

2012

Rural Villages Study

The intent of this study was to better understand how regulations relating to site development and road improvements affect rural character and other development issues in rural areas. It focused on the Aquasco, Baden, and Croom communities in southeastern Prince George’s County and the citizen input collected during the preparation of the Rural Villages Study was particularly helpful in the writing of the RCCP.

126 | The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission


Rural Character Conservation Plan: A Countywide Functional Master Plan

Year

Document name

Document Summary

2012 (revised)

Guidelines for the Treatment of Scenic and Historic Roads

These guidelines are incorporated by reference into the DPW&T’s Specifications and Standards for Roadways and Bridges in Prince George’s County, Maryland (Specifications and Standards). The guidelines provide parameters for the design of designated scenic and historic roadways in the County, particularly addressing the impacts of new development along County designated scenic and historic roads. They are used whenever a development is proposed along a scenic or historic roadway or when reconstruction or other roadway improvements are proposed.

2013

Conserving Significant Cultural Landscapes: Protecting the Piscataway and Accokeek Historic Communities and the Mount Vernon Viewshed

This study focuses on the Mount Vernon Viewshed’s Area of Primary Concern, which encompasses the properties that can be seen from Mount Vernon. This study contributed greatly to the recommendations regarding future treatment of the viewshed in the RCCP.

2013

2013 Approved Subregion 5 Master Plan and Proposed Sectional Map Amendment

The Subregion 5 Master Plan includes areas in the south and southwest of Prince George’s County. It outlines a vision for the Rural and Agricultural Area (RAA) that protects large amounts of land for environmental quality, recreation, agriculture, and preserving rural character and vistas. Recommendations for the RAA “…are intended to balance pressure for residential development and landowners’ equity with the desire to maintain rural character and sustainable natural environments.” Especially important are the Piscataway, Mattawoman, and Potomac watersheds, which are areas with significant environmental and historic value.

2013

Approved Subregion 6 Master Plan and Sectional Map Amendment

Subregion 6 comprises the southeastern portion of the County, 70 percent of which is designated as being within the RAA. It is the largest contiguous rural area in the County. Subregion 6 Master Plan development policies echo those of the Subregion 5 Master Plan. They allow for limited residential development at low densities and in ways that preserve rural character. These include employing conservation subdivision techniques and limiting the effects of lighting in rural areas. The plan also devotes a section to the subregion’s ample historic and cultural resources, which is aimed at protecting rural and historic character by safeguarding vernacular architecture and encouraging adaptive use of historic structures.

2014

Plan Prince George’s 2035 Approved General Plan

The most recent General Plan for the County specifically calls for implementation of the guidelines from the Croom and Aquasco Scenic Byway Plan and for the preservation of viewsheds and historic resources. It also establishes a growth policy that focuses on directing development to established communities, especially designated Local Centers and Regional Transit Districts, and away from rural areas.

Resource Conservation Plan | 127


Section IV

Year

Document name

Document Summary

Various dates

Prince George’s County Code

Sections of the County Code that influence rural character include Roads and Sidewalks (Subtitle 23), Conservation Subdivision Ordinance (Subtitle 24), Woodland and Wildlife Habitat Conservation Ordinance (Subtitle 25), and the Historic Preservation Ordinance (Subtitle 29).

Various dates

Prince George’s County Zoning Ordinance

The Zoning Ordinance applies countywide and contains the regulations that apply to land development in the various zoning categories. There are few references to rural character. The Zoning Ordinance is being rewritten, and the updated version intends to include design standards, including those related to rural character.

128 | The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Prince George’s County Planning Department Fern V. Piret, Ph.D., Director* Andree Green Checkley, Director PROJECT FACILITATORS

Derick Berlage, AICP, Chief, Countywide Planning Division Ivy Lewis, Chief, Community Planning Division* PROJECT TEAM LEADERS

CJ Lammers, Master Planner, RCP Team Leader and Project Manager* Gül Güleryüz, Planner Coordinator, Project Coordinator Fatimah Hasan, Planner Coordinator, Agriculture Conservation Plan Team Leader Megan Reiser, Planner Coordinator, Green Infrastructure Plan Team Leader Fred Shaffer, Planner Coordinator, Anacostia Trails Heritage Area Team Leader PROJECT RESOURCE TEAM MEMBERS

SPECIAL THANKS

M’balu Abdullah, Senior IT Support Specialist Carly Brockinton, Publication Specialist Mark Burt, GIS Specialist II Betty Carlson-Jameson, Planner Coordinator Sheila Chaconas, Principal Administrative Assistant Keegan Clifford, GIS Specialist I June Dixon, Senior Administrative Assistant Kim Finch, Planner Coordinator Judith Franklin, Principal Administrative Assistant Kerry Gathers, GIS Specialist II* Robert Getz, Publications Specialist Daniel Hartmann, Administrative Manager, Office and Publications Services Tamika Henderson, Principal Administrative Assistant Susan Kelley, Administrative Manager, Office and Publications Services* Mandy Li, Programmer Analyst III Maria Martin, Planning Supervisor Katina Shoulars, Planning Supervisor Shannon Sonnett, Publications Specialist Chad Williams, LEED AP BD+C, Master Planner DeWayne Williams, Supervisor, Office Services

The Planning Department staff would like to thank the many graduate and undergraduate interns who conducted or contributed to the research and studies that support the RCP:

*Former Employee

Ross Apter John Groeger Angela Martinez Alondra Morales-Luna Max Pastore

Emma Prindle Colleen Shipley James Spatz Taryn Sodul John Treber

CONSULTANTS

The Low Impact Development Center Assedo Consulting, LLC The Neighborhood Design Center CONTRIBUTING COUNTY AGENCIES

Department of the Environment Department of Permitting, Inspections, and Enforcement Department of Public Works and Transportation Prince George’s County Health Department Prince George’s Soil Conservation District Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission


The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission Prince George’s County Planning Department www.pgplanning.org

To find out more about the Resource Conservation Plan or to view it online, please visit http://www.pgplanning.org/RCP.htm.

Approved Prince George’s County Resource Conservation Plan: A Countywide Functional Master Plan  

This countywide functional master plan combines the related elements of green infrastructure planning and rural and agricultural conservatio...

Approved Prince George’s County Resource Conservation Plan: A Countywide Functional Master Plan  

This countywide functional master plan combines the related elements of green infrastructure planning and rural and agricultural conservatio...

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