Habitat Protection Areas (HPAs), Natural Resources Protection Areas, and Forest Interior Dwelling Species (FIDS)
Habitat Protection Areas (HPAs)
Habitat Protection Areas (HPAs) are designated to protect 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. Zoning regulations for Habitat Protection Areas can be found in Section 8-1.08 of the Zoning Ordinance.
Sites containing the above types of habitat require a Habitat Protection Plan (HPP) at time of development and/or subdivision activity, and are reviewed by 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.
These features are 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% or greater; wetlands; perennial and intermittent streams; and Forest Interior Dwelling Bird Habitat (FIDS). Zoning regulations for Natural Resource Protection Areas can be found in Article 8 of the Zoning Ordinance.
The Land Chapter of the 2010 Calvert County Comprehensive Plan states that for the first time in 100 years, the percentage of forest lands 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 for FIDS. Many species of birds can only reproduce in forest interior habitats. Forests cover 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.
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.