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Habitat Protection Areas (HPAs), Natural Resources Protection Areas, and Forest Interior Dwelling Species (FIDS)

Habitat Protection Areas (HPAs)
Habitat Protection Areas (HPAs) are designated for the protection of significant ecological areas. In Calvert County these include: Critical Area Buffers, nontidal wetlands, habitat of rare, threatened and endangered species (RTEs), and species in need of conservation, plant and wildlife habitat (waterfowl concentration and staging areas), and anadromous fish propagation waters.

Sites containing the above types of habitat require a Habitat Protection Plan (HPP) at time of development and/or subdivision activity, and are reviewed in consultation with appropriate local, State and/or federal agencies to determine if protection measures are adequate.

Send a letter to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources asking for their review of RTEs for a particular site prior to development activities.

Calvert County Habitat Protection Area Map
Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) document ~ Calvert County Critical Area Program - Habitat Protection Areas

Calvert County zoning regulations for Habitat Protection Areas can be found in Section 8-1.08 of the Zoning Ordinance.

Natural Resources Protection Areas
These features can be found both inside and outside the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area, and include:
  • Shoreline and cliff areas on the Chesapeake Bay, Patuxent River, and their tributaries
  • Floodplain areas
  • Erodible soils
  • Slopes 25 percent or greater
  • Wetlands
  • Perennial and intermittent streams
  • Forest Interior Dwelling Bird Habitat (FIDS)

Calvert County zoning regulations for Natural Resource Protection Areas can be found in Article 8 of the Zoning Ordinance.

NOTE:  The Maryland Department of Natural Resources should be contacted directly for more information on state regulations.

Forest Interior Dwelling Species (FIDS)

The Land Chapter of the 2010 Calvert County Comprehensive Plan states the following:

  • For the first time in 100 years, the percentage of forestlands in the watershed is declining
  • Forest once covered more than 95% of the Chesapeake Bay watershed
  • Some forests are cleared for farming, but development is the greatest threat
  • Today less than 60% remains

Habitat and Coverage
Forest interior (forest more than 100 meters from a forest edge) provides important habitat (FIDS). Many species of birds can only reproduce in forest interior habitats.  Forest covers 81,781 acres or 58% of land use in Calvert County. Forest interior represents 37% of forest cover or 22% of the county land area and 44% of the estimated forest interior habitat is currently protected, 56% is thus threatened by development.

FIDS within the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area
Impacts to interior forests shall be mitigated as prescribed in a document entitled, "A Guide to the Conservation of Forest Interior Dwelling Birds in the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area," prepared by and available from the Critical Area Commission.  Refer also to the Calvert County Zoning Ordinance for regulations regarding FIDS within the Critical Area.

FIDS outside the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area
At the time of land subdivision, or if a development project is subject to forest conservation requirements, FIDS habitat mapping must be reviewed and regulations on clearing trees may apply.  Refer to the Calvert County Zoning Ordinance for regulations regarding FIDS outside the Critical Area.

Habitat Protection Area and Forest Interior Dwelling Bird Habitat Map - Includes best available information, and intended to be used as a guidance document only, not for regulatory purposes.  

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