Land Preservation Tool Kit, Original

Sierra Club Activist Tool Kit for forests and natural areas

 

Citizens across Maryland frequently observe a new or ongoing threat to their

forests and other natural areas. Their neighboring woods or stream is often

being destroyed. The Sierra Club receives enquiries at to what the citizens

can do to stop or reduce the destruction of their favorite woods, meadows,

wetlands or creeks. The Sierra Club Activist Tool Kit has been prepared to

provide citizens with a wide variety of tools that have assisted us

successfully across the state. The regional examples and case histories are

models of comparable programs across the State of Maryland. For instance,

examples are provided for Transfer Development Rights in Montgomery,

Charles and Calvert Counties which varies in effectiveness across the

State.

 

One of the most successful approaches has been to save an area before it is

owned by developers. One of the most common and unnecessary causes of

transfer of natural areas to development has been lack of awareness that

there are many ways to reduce property taxes to affordable levels. This is

particularly important when descendents receive land their parents wanted to

preserve but have difficulty in paying the inheritance and property taxes.

 

After developers own the land, natural areas recognized for their high

quality have been purchased by organizations such as The Nature Conservancy

and The Trust for Public Lands and by the State of Maryland as Program Open

Space. We have more successfully reduced, rather than stopped, the impact of

development elsewhere. When citizens investigate actual adherence to

regulations they greatly increase compliance with the law. A dramatic

example has been citizens reporting inadequate placement of silt fences to

prevent sedimentation from entering our water ways. Maryland Department of

the Environment (MDE) officials typically investigate in a few hours and

the developer corrects the problem in the same day.

 

Threats to natural areas not being developed include deforestation, invasion

by non-native invasive species such as Kudzu, water and air pollution,

erosion, storm water and sedimentation.

 

Tool Kit

 

Part I: Programs to avoid development:

 

Conservation Easements

Link A

 

Program Open Space

Link B

 

Forest Conservation Plans

Link C

 

Transfer Development Rights

Conservation Reserve Program

Survey and Assessment tools:

       Endangered species and rare habitat surveys

Link D

 

       Wetland Surveys Compliance with sections 404 and 401 of the Clean

       Water Act

       Compliance with NPDES (National Pollution Discharge Elimination

       System) permits

 

Establish and Maintain Greenways to Avoid Fragmentation

Link E

 

Smart growth regulations:

Zoning regulations

Smart growth alternatives to new highways

 

Part II: Programs to reduce impact of development:

Link F

 

LID Low Impact Development

Stormwater retention regulations

 

Part III: Threats to natural areas not being developed:

 

Certification by the Forest Stewardship Council program (FSC)

Link G

 

Non-native invasive species control

Link H

 

Erosion and sediment control

Respond effectively to damage caused by off-road vehicles

Respond effectively to damage caused by deer browse.

 

 

Link A

Conservation Easements

Conservancy for Charles County (See web site) An excellent article on

conservation easements and donations of natural areas appears in the spring,

2007, issue of NATURE CONSERVANCY vol. 57 No. 1. on page 16.

LAWS FOR THE LAND, New Federal Tax Law helps Families Preserve

Their Properties.

 

 

Reference the website of the Maryland Environmental Trust, to whom a

conservation easement can provide an additional tax break and which lists

contact information for local land trusts such as the Charles County

Conservancy throughout the State.

 

CONSERVATION EASEMENTS DEFINED

A perpetual conservation easement is a legally binding agreement between a

landowner and a land trust or a government agency that prevents development

from taking place on the property in order to provide permanent protection

for its conservation values, especially its natural resources. In a conservation

easement — which is perpetual — the landowner voluntarily donates (or sells)

certain rights associated with the property, typically the right to subdivide.

The easement deed may also include other restrictions designed to keep the

property in as natural a state as possible, for example, barring commercial

activities on it and requiring maintenance of forested areas and vegetative

buffers along streams. Each such easement deed is tailormade to suit the

particular property and the landowner’s needs and is recorded with the

deed to the property.

 

The donor of a perpetual conservation easement may be eligible for

charitable tax benefits in compliance with IRS rules, inasmuch as private

land conservation is deemed to benefit the public. Under these rules, the

easement needs to satisfy one or more of the following criteria:

• It preserves an important natural habitat or ecosystem.

• It maintains an historically important land area or building.

• It results in a significant public benefit by preserving open space

(including farmland and forested land) for the scenic enjoyment of the

general public or pursuant to a clear governmental policy.

• The land will be used for public outdoor recreation or education.

One advantage of the conservation easement is that the property remains

In private ownership and can be conveyed to successor owners through

bequest or sale. Because it is perpetual, its provisions apply to all future

owners. The holder or grantee of a conservation easement is legally

obligated to monitor the ongoing observance of the restrictions. This

stewardship task is taken seriously by land trusts, which operate programs

for maintaining contact with the landowners and arranging periodic property

inspections. In the event of a breach of the easement’s requirements, the

land trust is entitled to take legal action to remedy the problem in the

event the landowner does not comply voluntarily. Such problems are rare.

Throughout Maryland and the entire country, perpetual conservation

Easements are the preservation tool of choice for nonprofit land trusts

and have resulted in the permanent protection of millions of acres of

environmentally and culturally valuable land. The benefits include protection

of water quality in streams, the preservation of essential wetlands, the

safeguarding of forests, and assurance of good habitat for wildlife and native

plants. They also achieve keeping open space open and play a key

role in the protection of landscapes that historically define a community

or region. And, because they are perpetual, their benefits will be enjoyed

by generations to come. Local land trusts are found in every Maryland county.

A current list of them can be found on the websites of both the Maryland

Environmental Trust (MET) and the national Land Trust Alliance (LTA).

MET is a statewide land trust housed within the Maryland Department of

Natural Resources. Most local land trusts and MET work

cooperatively to carry out conservation easement work.

(Text prepared by VIvian Mills, Conservancy for Charles County,

January 2008

 

Link B

Program Open Space

Consult www.dnr.state.md.us/greenways/greenprint/ to see if the natural area

proposed to be purchased is already recognized as a priority area. If it is

not, conduct a survey with biologists for high quality natural features

including wetlands. Offer to compensate the biologists if possible since

many of these individuals, while often volunteering, are swamped with such

requests. Compensation will enable the field of available experts to expand

for all the citizens of Maryland.

 

See www.dnr.state.md.us/pos.html to pursue the application process with

local government agencies.

 

Link C

Forest Stewardship Plans Offer Landowners Tax

Breaks—and More

 

Landowners, do you want to preserve your land or restore

it to its natural state for future generations? For doing

this, you can get financial assistance, including a property

tax reduction on your land, assessed on its value set

at about $150 per acre. The current value depends on the

current market based assessment.

 

Here’s the catch: Working with a state forester,

you must develop a Forest Stewardship Plan, and the

Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) must

approve it. After DNR approves the plan, you become

part of the Maryland forest stewardship program. All

aspects of forest resource management are considered

by DNR, and—the good news is that you do not have to

harvest trees. Some plans, for example, consist

entirely of removing non-native invasive plants.

 

Another option is submitting a forest management plan

to the Sate Tax office which will give the landowner

a tax reduced assessment called the forest management

agreement. The assessment is about $50 per acre higher.

The landowner doesn't have to pay any fees for entering

either.

 

For either program there are inspections required too,

every 5 years for the FCMA and every 3 years or the

Forest Management Agreement

 

The options offered by DNR for forest resource

management include fish and wildlife, natural heritage

and recreation, soil and water, and forest products.

The natural heritage and recreation aspect, for example,

focuses upon restoration of mature old growth with

natural biodiversity and resulting ecosystem services

(such as water retention) to prevent downstream flooding,

crown-fire control, and climate-change mitigation.

 

Expert Help Required

 

The stewardship program has a few eligibility requirements,

but the most critical consideration is to select a forester

trained in ecosystem management and conservation

biology to include alien invasive species control,

fragmentation theory, herbaceous plants, endangered

species, and non-game biology. Most foresters who

write plans are trained primarily in forest products.

Your forester should be primarily trained in ecology

and be supportive of your values.

 

Here’s what DNR has to say about the topic

(www.dnr.state.md.us/forests/fcmp.pdf). "Any owner

of 5 or more contiguous acres of forest land may enter

the Forest Conservation and Management Program. …

the forester, with assistance from other natural resource

professionals, must match the objectives of the owner

to the biological requirements of the forest. Your

acceptance in the Forest Conservation and Management

Program will depend upon the specific prescription of

stewardship practices… You must have your forest

stewardship plan prepared by a registered professional

forester [state, private, consulting, or industrial] and

approved by the Director of the Forest Service. The

plan must contain a detailed schedule of practices to

be accomplished and their completion date."

 

The Tax Break

 

Landowners also can obtain a Forest Conservation

Management Agreement (FCMA) through the Maryland

Department of Assessments and Taxation. DNR

describes it as “a legal agreement recorded in land

records, binding for fifteen years, and renewable for

a minimum of five years.”

 

With an FCMA, the landowner can add or delete acreage,

add or delete owners, and sell all or part of the parcel.

In return, says DNR, “the property is assessed at

$125/acre regardless of its location in Maryland. The

assessment is frozen at that level for the fifteen years

of the agreement. The FCMA involves fees for developing

the management plan, entering the program, and

periodic inspections.”

 

For more information on this topic, go to

www.naturalresources.umd.edu.

 

The following foresters and advocates have prepared, or indicated their interest in,

Forest Stewardship Plans for removing non-native invasive plants.

 

 

Bud Reaves, Licensed Forester # 336

Maryland Licensed Tree Expert # 1042

Pesticide Consultant #28207-19930

Woodland Management Services LLC

26 Brookfield Road

Pasadena, MD 21122

 

Peter Perry

301.261.7527

Pmperry915@comcast.net

 

 

Len Wrabel

Mar-Len Environmental.

http://dnrweb.dnr.state.md.us/download/forests/consultingforesters.pdf

 

Steven W. Koehn, Director / State Forester Maryland DNR Forest Service

Tawes State Office Building, E-1 580 Taylor Avenue Annapolis, Maryland  21401

() Work     (410) 260-8501

() Mobil     (410) 370-0427

() Fax       (410) 260-8595

() skoehn@dnr.state.md.us

       www.dnr.maryland.gov/forests

 

Phil Pannil 301-791-4010

Dave Gailey  301-880-2746

Southern Maryland Regional Forester, DNR

 

Jane Wolfson

Towson University

jwolfson@towson.edu

 

Paul Eriksson

Watershed forester

Maryland DNR Forest Service,

periksson@dnr.state.md.us

301.791.4010

 

George Eberling

301.791.4733

washproj@nfis.com

 

H. STACY MILLER

Registered Forester

8903 Flagstone Circle Randallstown, MD 21133 Bus. Phone: 410-922-

7476 Home Phone: 410-922-7476 E-Mail: nosetorose@juno.com

 

Richard F. Masse

Registered Forester

Richard F. Masse, R.P.F

Natural Resources Staff Officer

ANG/CEVP

3500 Faichet Avenue

Andrews Air Force Base, MD 20331-5157

Phone: 301-836-8882

 

DONALD MARQUARDT

339 Chalet Drive

Millersville, MD 21108

Home Phone: (410) 987-11248

 

Link D

Endangered species tool kit

 

To determine if an endangered species may occur in your natural area of

concern there are regulatory and non regulatory lists. They are both

valuable for legal, geographic and scientific support.  Determine if any

listed species are indicated for your county or are in the species range

that county lies in  The species should be carefully surveyed for during

the appropriate season for identification because most studies are

inadequate in this respect. Reports by a developer or agency that a

species is not known from the site is frequently because surveys have

not been conducted. As an example of the distinction between scientific

lists and regulatory lists, only about 2% of the cave species in the United

States are listed by the federal government as endangered or threatened.

The Nature Conservancy has determined that 95% are actually imperiled.

In many cases a single event such as one chemical spill from a nearby

highway can wipe out an entire species such as blind salamanders,

cavesnails and crayfish.. Sewage, pesticides, heavy metals, and fertilizers

wash into sinkholes and karst is destroyed directly by roads, quarries,

and construction of buildings.

 

 

 

 

See www.dnr.state.md.us/wildlife/espaa.asp and

 

www.dnr.state.md.us/wildlife/rteanimals.asp     

 

for the state endangered species act which is supported by Code

of Maryland Regulations 08.03.08 and the official State Threatened

and Endangered Species list as well as species occurring in Maryland

that are listed or candidates for listing on the Federal list of Endangered

Species list, and additional species.

 

Following is an excellent scientific list, www.natureserve.org ,

In addition http://plants.usda.gov/java/nameSearch is a useful but

incomplete indicator of geographic locations:

 

NatureServe Conservation Status

 

Determining which plants and animals are thriving and which are rare or

declining is crucial for targeting conservation towards those species and

habitats in greatest need. NatureServe and its natural heritage member

programs have developed a consistent method for evaluating the relative

imperilment of both species and ecological communities. These assessments

lead to the designation of a conservation status rank. For plant and animal

species these ranks provide an estimate of extinction risk, while for

ecological communities they provide an estimate of the risk of elimination.

There are currently no conservation status ranks determined for Ecological

Systems.

 

Conservation status ranks are based on a one to five scale, ranging from

critically imperiled (G1) to demonstrably secure (G5). Status is assessed

and documented at three distinct geographic scales-global (G), national

(N), and state/province (S). These status assessments are based on the best

available information, and consider a variety of factors such as abundance,

distribution, population trends, and threats.

 

          o Interpreting NatureServe Conservation Status Ranks

          o Global, National, and Subnational Assessments

          o Assessment Criteria

          o Relationship to Other Status Designations

          o Global Conservation Status Definitions

          o National and Subnational Conservation Status Definitions

 

Interpreting NatureServe Conservation Status Ranks

 

The conservation status of a species or community is designated by a number

from 1 to 5, preceded by a letter reflecting the appropriate geographic

scale of the assessment (G = Global), N = National, and S = Subnational).

The numbers have the following meaning:

 

1 = critically imperiled

2 = imperiled

3 = vulnerable to extirpation or extinction

4 = apparently secure

5 = demonstrably widespread, abundant, and secure.

 

For example, G1 would indicate that a species is critically imperiled

across its entire range (i.e., globally). In this sense the species as a

whole is regarded as being at very high risk of extinction. A rank of S3

would indicate the species is vulnerable and at moderate risk within a

particular state or province, even though it may be more secure elsewhere.

 

Extinct or missing species and ecological communities are designated with

either an "X" (presumed extinct or extirpated) if there is no expectation

that they still survive, or an "H" (possibly extinct or extirpated) if they

are known only from historical records but there is a chance they may still

exist. Other variants and qualifiers are used to add information or

indicate any range of uncertainty. See the following conservation status

rank definitions for complete descriptions of ranks and qualifiers.

 

          o Global Conservation Status Definitions

          o National and Subnational Conservation Status Definitions

 

Global, National, and Subnational Assessments

 

The overall status of a species or ecological community is regarded as its

"global" status; this range-wide assessment of condition is referred to as

its global conservation status rank (G-rank). Because the G-rank refers to

the species or community as a whole, each species or community can have

just a single global conservation status rank. The condition of a species

or community can vary from one country to another, and national

conservation status ranks (N-rank) document its condition in a particular

country. A species or community can have as many N-ranks as countries in

which it occurs. Similarly, status can vary by state or province, and thus

subnational conservation status ranks (S-rank) document the condition of

the species or community within a particular state or province. Again,

there may be as many subnational conservation status ranks as the number of

states or provinces in which the species or community occurs.

 

National and subnational status ranks must always be equal to or lower than

the global rank for a particular species or community (in this sense a

"lower" number indicates greater risk). On the other hand, it is possible

for a species or community to be more imperiled in a given nation or

state/province than it is range-wide. As an example, a species may be

common and secure globally (G5), vulnerable in the United States as a whole

(N3), yet critically imperiled in Florida (S1). In the United States and

Canada, the combination of global and subnational ranks (e.g., G3S1) are

widely used to place local priorities within a broader conservation context.

 

Global conservation status assessments generally are carried out by

NatureServe scientists with input from relevant natural heritage member

programs and experts on particular taxonomic groups. NatureServe scientists

similarly take the lead on national-level status assessments in the United

States and Canada, while state and provincial member programs assess the

subnational conservation status for species found in their respective

jurisdictions.

 

Status assessments ideally should reflect current conditions and

understanding, and NatureServe and its member programs strive to update

these assessments with new information from field surveys, monitoring

activities, consultation, and scientific publications. NatureServe Explorer

users with significant new or additional information are encouraged to

contact NatureServe or the relevant natural heritage program.

 

To ensure that NatureServe's central databases represent the most current

knowledge from across our network of member programs, data exchanges are

carried out with each natural heritage program at least once a year. The

subnational conservation status ranks (S-ranks) presented in NatureServe

Explorer are therefore only as current as the last data exchange with each

local natural heritage program, coupled with the latest web site update

(shown in the "small print" at the bottom of each NatureServe Explorer

report). Although most subnational conservation status ranks do not change

frequently, the most current S-ranks can be obtained directly from the

relevant local natural heritage program (contact information available at

http://www.natureserve.org/visitLocal/index.jsp).

Status Assessment Criteria

 

Use of standard criteria and rank definitions makes NatureServe

conservation status ranks comparable across organism types and political

boundaries. Thus, G1 has the same basic meaning whether applied to a

salamander, a moss species, or a forest community. Similarly, an S1 has the

same meaning whether applied to a species or community in Manitoba,

Minnesota, or Mississippi. This standardization in turn allows NatureServe

scientists to use the subnational ranks assigned by local natural heritage

programs to help determine and refine global conservation status ranks.

 

Status assessments are based on a combination of quantitative and

qualitative information. Criteria for assigning ranks serve as guidelines,

however, rather than arithmetic rules. The assessor's overall knowledge of

the species or community allows them to weigh each factor in relation to

the others, and to consider all pertinent information. The general factors

considered in assessing species and ecological communities are similar, but

the relative weight given to each factor differs.

 

For species, the following factors are considered in assessing conservation

status:

 

          o total number and condition of occurrences (e.g., populations)

          o population size

          o range extent and area of occupancy

          o short- and long-term trends in the above factors

          o scope, severity, and immediacy of threats

          o number of protected and managed occurrences

          o intrinsic vulnerability

          o environmental specificity

 

For ecological communities, the association level generally is the

classification unit assessed and ranked (see Classification of Ecological

Communities for an explanation of the classification hierarchy). Only

global conservation status ranks are currently available for ecological

communities on NatureServe Explorer. The primary factors for assessing

community status are:

 

Species known in an area only from historical records are ranked as either

H (possibly extirpated/possibly extinct) or X (presumed extirpated/presumed

extinct). Other codes, rank variants, and qualifiers are also allowed in

order to add information about the element or indicate uncertainty. See the

lists of conservation status rank definitions for complete descriptions of

ranks and qualifiers.

 

              o total number of occurrences (e.g., forest stands)

              o total acreage occupied by the community.

 

Secondary factors include the geographic range over which the community

occurs, threats, and integrity of the occurrences. Because detailed

information on these factors may not be available, especially for poorly

understood or inventoried communities, preliminary assessments are often

based on the following:

 

              o geographic range over which the community occurs

              o long-term trends across this range

              o short-term trend (i.e., threats)

              o degree of site/environmental specificity exhibited by the

community

              o imperilment or rarity across the range as indicated by

subnational ranks assigned by local natural heritage programs.

 

Relationship to Other Status Designations

 

NatureServe conservation status ranks are a valuable complement to legal

status designations assigned by government agencies such as the U.S. Fish

and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service in

administering the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA), and the Canadian

Wildlife Service in administering the Species at Risk Act (SARA).

NatureServe status ranks, and the documentation that support them, are

often used by such agencies in making official determinations, particularly

in the identification of candidates for legal protection. Because

NatureServe assessment procedures-and subsequent lists of imperiled and

vulnerable species-have different criteria, evidence requirements,

purposes, and taxonomic coverage than official lists of endangered and

threatened species, they do not necessarily coincide.

 

The IUCN Red List of threatened species is similar in concept to

NatureServe's global conservation status assessments. Due to the

independent development of these two systems, however, minor differences

exist in their respective criteria and implementation. Recent studies

indicate that when applied by experienced assessors using comparable

information, the outputs from the two systems are generally concordant.

NatureServe is an active participant in the IUCN Red List Programme, and in

the region covered by NatureServe Explorer, NatureServe status ranks and

their underlying documentation often form a basis for Red List threat

assessments.

Global Conservation Status Definitions

 

Listed below are definitions for interpreting NatureServe global

conservation status ranks (G-ranks). These ranks reflect an assessment of

the condition of the species or ecological community across its entire

range. Where indicated, definitions differ for species and ecological

communities.

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Ranks

Basic Ranks

 

Rank

         

 

Definition

 

GX

         

 

Presumed Extinct (species)— Not located despite intensive searches and

virtually no likelihood of rediscovery.

 

Eliminated (ecological communities)—Eliminated throughout its range, with

no restoration potential due to extinction of dominant or characteristic

species.

 

GH

         

 

Possibly Extinct (species)— Missing; known from only historical occurrences

but still some hope of rediscovery.

 

Presumed Eliminated— (Historic, ecological communities)-Presumed eliminated

throughout its range, with no or virtually no likelihood that it will be

rediscovered, but with the potential for restoration, for example, American

Chestnut Forest.

 

G1

         

 

Critically Imperiled—At very high risk of extinction due to extreme rarity

(often 5 or fewer populations), very steep declines, or other factors.

 

G2

         

 

Imperiled—At high risk of extinction due to very restricted range, very few

populations (often 20 or fewer), steep declines, or other factors.

 

G3

         

 

Vulnerable—At moderate risk of extinction due to a restricted range,

relatively few populations (often 80 or fewer), recent and widespread

declines, or other factors.

 

G4

         

 

Apparently Secure—Uncommon but not rare; some cause for long-term concern

due to declines or other factors.

 

G5

         

 

Secure—Common; widespread and abundant.

 

Variant Ranks

 

Rank

         

 

Definition

 

G#G#

         

 

Range Rank—A numeric range rank (e.g., G2G3) is used to indicate the range

of uncertainty in the status of a species or community. A G2G3 rank would

indicate that there is a roughly equal chance of G2 or G3 and other ranks

are much less likely. Ranges cannot skip more than one rank (e.g., GU

should be used rather than G1G4).

 

GU

         

 

Unrankable—-Currently unrankable due to lack of information or due to

substantially conflicting information about status or trends. Whenever

possible, the most likely rank is assigned and a question mark qualifier

may be added (e.g., G2?) to express minor uncertainty, or a range rank

(e.g., G2G3) may be used to delineate the limits (range) of uncertainty.

 

GNR

         

 

Unranked—Global rank not yet assessed.

 

GNA

         

 

Not Applicable—A conservation status rank is not applicable because the

species is not a suitable target for conservation activities.

 

 

Rank Qualifiers

 

Rank

         

 

Definition

 

?

         

 

Inexact Numeric Rank—Denotes some uncertainty about the numeric rank (e.g.

G3? - Believed most likely a G3, but some chance of either G2 or G4).

 

Q

         

 

Questionable taxonomy—Taxonomic distinctiveness of this entity at the

current level is questionable; resolution of this uncertainty may result in

change from a species to a subspecies or hybrid, or the inclusion of this

taxon in another taxon, with the resulting taxon having a lower-priority

conservation priority.

 

C

         

 

Captive or Cultivated Only—At present extant only in captivity or

cultivation, or as a reintroduced population not yet established.

 

 

Infraspecific Taxon Conservation Status Ranks

Infraspecific taxa refer to subspecies, varieties and other designations

below the level of the species. Infraspecific taxon status ranks (T-ranks)

apply to plants and animal species only; these T-ranks do not apply to

ecological communities.

 

Rank

         

 

Definition

 

T#

         

 

Infraspecific Taxon (trinomial)—The status of infraspecific taxa

(subspecies or varieties) are indicated by a "T-rank" following the

species' global rank. Rules for assigning T-ranks follow the same

principles outlined above for global conservation status ranks. For

example, the global rank of a critically imperiled subspecies of an

otherwise widespread and common species would be G5T1. A T-rank cannot

imply the subspecies or variety is more abundant than the species as a

whole-for example, a G1T2 cannot occur. A vertebrate animal population,

such as those listed as distinct population segments under under the U.S.

Endangered Species Act, may be considered an infraspecific taxon and

assigned a T-rank; in such cases a Q is used after the T-rank to denote the

taxon's informal taxonomic status. At this time, the T rank is not used for

ecological communities.

National and Subnational Conservation Status Definitions

 

Listed below are definitions for interpreting NatureServe conservation

status ranks at the national (N-rank) and subnational (S-rank) levels. The

term "subnational" refers to state or province-level jurisdictions (e.g.,

California, Ontario).

 

Assigning national and subnational conservation status ranks for species

and ecological communities follows the same general principles as used in

assigning global status ranks. A subnational rank, however, cannot imply

that the species or community is more secure at the state/province level

than it is nationally or globally (i.e., a rank of G1S3 cannot occur), and

similarly, a national rank cannot exceed the global rank. Subnational ranks

are assigned and maintained by state or provincial natural heritage

programs and conservation data centers.

National (N) and Subnational (S) Conservation Status Ranks

 

Status

         

 

Definition

 

NX

SX

         

 

Presumed Extirpated—Species or community is believed to be extirpated from

the nation or state/province. Not located despite intensive searches of

historical sites and other appropriate habitat, and virtually no likelihood

that it will be rediscovered.

 

NH

SH

         

 

Possibly Extirpated (Historical)—Species or community occurred historically

in the nation or state/province, and there is some possibility that it may

be rediscovered. Its presence may not have been verified in the past 20-40

years. A species or community could become NH or SH without such a 20-40

year delay if the only known occurrences in a nation or state/province were

destroyed or if it had been extensively and unsuccessfully looked for. The

NH or SH rank is reserved for species or communities for which some effort

has been made to relocate occurrences, rather than simply using this status

for all elements not known from verified extant occurrences.

 

N1

S1

         

 

Critically Imperiled—Critically imperiled in the nation or state/province

because of extreme rarity (often 5 or fewer occurrences) or because of some

factor(s) such as very steep declines making it especially vulnerable to

extirpation from the state/province.

 

N2

S2

         

 

Imperiled—Imperiled in the nation or state/province because of rarity due

to very restricted range, very few populations (often 20 or fewer), steep

declines, or other factors making it very vulnerable to extirpation from

the nation or state/province.

 

N3

S3

         

 

Vulnerable—Vulnerable in the nation or state/province due to a restricted

range, relatively few populations (often 80 or fewer), recent and

widespread declines, or other factors making it vulnerable to extirpation.

 

N4

S4

         

 

Apparently Secure—Uncommon but not rare; some cause for long-term concern

due to declines or other factors.

 

N5

S5

         

 

Secure—Common, widespread, and abundant in the nation or state/province.

 

NNR

SNR

         

 

Unranked—Nation or state/province conservation status not yet assessed.

 

NU

SU

         

 

Unrankable—Currently unrankable due to lack of information or due to

substantially conflicting information about status or trends.

 

NNA

SNA

         

 

Not Applicable —A conservation status rank is not applicable because the

species is not a suitable target for conservation activities.

 

N#N#

S#S#

         

 

Range Rank —A numeric range rank (e.g., S2S3) is used to indicate any range

of uncertainty about the status of the species or community. Ranges cannot

skip more than one rank (e.g., SU is used rather than S1S4).

 

Not Provided

         

 

Species is known to occur in this nation or state/province. Contact the

relevant natural heritage program for assigned conservation status.

Contact information for individual natural heritage programs is available

at http://www.natureserve.org/visitLocal/index.jsp.

 

 

Link E

Establish and Maintain Greenways to Avoid Fragmentation:

 

Example for the Mattawoman Watershed in Prince Georges and Charles

Counties. Testimony on the Cross County Connector Extension proposal.

 

 

The critical importance of preventing habitat fragmentation by

maintaining greenways is now widely documented and understood. Living

forms native to the area, both animals and plants, depend on the

availability of sufficient space and food sources and shifting

locations of habitat and food sources in order to be able to thrive

and even to survive. Natural areas on opposite sides of Billingsley

Road and on the proposed route north of Billingsley Road as shown on

the attached map represent a cumulatively significant contribution in

this regard, not only because the road is presently relatively narrow

in width between these natural areas of significant size, but also

because of their proximity to other publicly held areas in western

Charles County that have been restricted from development, including

the Mattawoman Wildlands and the Mattawoman Natural Area.

 

General management principles include providing wildlife migration

corridors for re-colonization between natural areas following local

extirpation due to seasonal, man-made, or climatic stresses. Stresses

include natural disturbances such as the mosaic pattern of storm

events, drought, diseases, fire, competitors, predators, prey,

succession, floods and seepages. Some populations of plants and

animals are "sources" of individuals which migrate out and replenish

other populations known as "sinks". In addition, sufficient space is

needed for large animals with large home ranges.

 

For example, in the general region proposed for the Cross County

Connector Extension spotted salamanders utilize vernal pools and ponds

that are temporary over time. Many semi-aquatic insects, salamanders,

frogs, snakes and turtles utilize aquatic and terrestrial habitats in

their life cycle. The buffer zone for 95% of a population of

salamanders would extend 534 feet from the wetland edge into the

closed canopy terrestrial habitat.

 

The maximum corridor width which most birds and many mammals, plants

and invertebrates cross roads sufficiently to reproduce and maintain

populations is two lanes. The proposal to widen the road as a cross

county connector and build a 4 lane northern road has a cumulative

impact which requires being addressed in an Environmental Impact

Statement. Section A and B harbor high quality natural areas. I saw a

dead raccoon road kill at Section C today, April 26, 2005. Sections E

and F have some legal protections as Waters of the State and Wetlands

of Special Concern. However, all environmental impacts including

terrestrial, as well as aquatic, are legally required to be studied

in the environmental impact studies, not just those requiring actual

environmental protection or mitigation. Fully informed decision making

is required by law. About half of Section G has high quality natural

area on both sides of Billingsley Road and two thirds of Section H.

 

A forest reserve primarily requires protection of the forest interior

for birds including the area sensitive species and wide ranging

species such as raptors. 6,000 acres may be the minimum that supports

all forest breeding species in the Mid-Atlantic. This roughly

includes Chapman Forest and the contiguous Mattawoman Natural Area,

Wildlands, etc.

 

"The Mattawoman is forty times more productive of anadromous fish than

the seven other Chesapeake tributaries repeatedly monitored by DNR"

including blueback and alewife herring in Chapman Forest. Lack of, or

inadequate culvert placements at stream crossings block fish passage

and isolate them from runs.

 

The proposed solution to fragmentation is to maintain and establish

greenways between natural areas and to maintain corridors such as

roads and trails as narrow as feasible. Native plant vegetative

covers along roads would follow the guidance found in "Roadside Use of

Native Plants", Bonnie Harper-Lore, et al, Federal Highway

Administration.

 

 

Marc Imlay, PhD

 

Board member of the Mid-Atlantic Exotic Pest Plant Council,

Vice president of the Maryland Native Plant Society

Chair of the Biodiversity and Habitat Stewardship Committee

for the Maryland Chapter of the Sierra Club.

 

Link F Alternatives to Litigation

What do most citizens do when their neighborhood or environment is

threatened by a development project?

 

Many react by hiring a lawyer.

 

Yet studies just completed by CEDS show that this is seldom the best

first step. The reason is that most citizens resolve their concerns

through a negotiated agreement with the developer or regulatory

officials; not by stopping a project. The key to a successful

negotiation lies in identifying reliable ways of resolving citizen

concerns that allow the applicant to get most of what they want. Few

attorneys have the technical expertise to identify these equitable

solutions.

 

A new CEDS factsheet, Strategies for Winning Land Development Battles,

describes how citizens can dramatically increase their rate of success

while greatly reducing lawyer and expert witness fees. The factsheet

is posted at the top of the left-hand column of the CEDS website at:

 

www.ceds.org.

 

CEDS research shows that only 1% of all contested development projects

are stopped. In those cases where excessive impacts cannot be

designed away, a lawyer is frequently critical. Yet not all attorneys

are equally equipped to represent citizens in these disputes.

However, CEDS can help here too through our nationwide network of 135

attorneys who specialize in representing citizens in land use, zoning,

and environmental cases.

 

I would deeply appreciate it if you would consider mentioning the

factsheet to citizens who contact your group about a development

issue.

 

To see an example of one of the CEDS studies referenced above visit:

 

www.ceds.org/BaltimoreCounty/A Citizens Perspective on the

Baltimore County Development Review Process.pdf

 

 

Richard D. Klein

Community & Environmental Defense Services

811 Crystal Palace Court

Owings Mills, Maryland 21117

410-654-3021

410-654-3028 Fax

443-421-5964 Mobile

Web Page: www.ceds.org/

 

 

Link G

Certification by the Forest Stewardship Council program (FSC):

 

http://www.audubon.org/chapter/ny/ny/PDFs/forestry_manual.pdf

is a good regional example of carrying out a Forest Stewardship

Council certification program.

 

 

Maryland Native Plant Society

P.O. Box 4877

Silver Spring, Maryland 20914

www.mdflora.org

 

February 14, 2007

 

The Honorable Martin O'Malley

Office of the Governor

State of Maryland

100 State Circle

Annapolis, Maryland 21401-1925

 

Dear Governor O'Malley,

 

The mission of the Maryland Native Plant Society is to increase

awareness and appreciation of native plants and their habitats,

leading to their conservation and restoration. We are contacting you

about measures that the State of Maryland can undertake to conserve

public lands and natural resources.

 

We want to encourage the State to manage public lands in a way that

benefits both the public and the natural resources contained on those

lands. Projects that alter public lands, such as road-building or

logging, may remove native plants, allow the encroachment of invasive

species, degrade the streams and remove wildlife habitat. Before

alterations to public lands are made, analysis of loss of forest

"services" should be conducted, and the public should have an

opportunity to participate in decisions that affect public lands.

 

If after analysis and public input, it is determined that logging

public lands is in the best interests of the public and forest

management, logging should take place only after certification by the

Forest Stewardship Council program (FSC). This certification program

is supported and approved by major environmental organizations. The

Sustainable Forest Initiative (SFI) is another certification program

controlled primarily by the forest industry and, in our judgment,

should not be used as a valid alternative for certification.

 

We would encourage the passage of legislation to change the practice

of the Department of Natural Resources' retention of revenues from

logging contracts. The current situation constitutes a conflict of

interest for an agency that is supposed to protect natural resources.

 

The Maryland Native Plant Society has a particular interest in old

growth forests in Maryland. DNR has already inventoried these rare

areas, and they should be designated Wildlands to permanently protect

them.

 

Finally, we have been encouraged by the adoption of Green

Infrastructure Master Plans in Prince George's and Anne Arundel

Counties, and would like all of the counties to follow suit. A Green

Infrastructure Master Plan gives guidance to county planning and

zoning departments so that important ecological areas will be

protected from development. Anything the State can do to support

local Green Infrastructure plans would be welcome.

 

We look forward to a partnership with the State of Maryland in better

protecting the natural resources found on public lands in our State.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

 

Cris Fleming, President

Maryland Native Plant Society

 

 

Link H

Non-native invasive species control:

 

Maryland Native Plant Society, Anacostia Watershed Society and Sierra Club

Habitat Stewardship Committee Report for 2006

 

Non-native invasive species of plants such as English Ivy, Japanese

Stiltgrass and Kudzu are covering the natural areas that we in the conservation

movement have worked so hard to protect from habitat destruction,

erosion and water pollution.  Just as we are making progress on wetlands,

stream bank stabilization, and endangered species, these plants from

other parts of the world have typically covered 20-90% of the surface

area of our forests, streams and meadows. Many of us feel demoralized

and powerless to combat these invaders that have few natural herbivores

or other controls.

 

The Maryland Native Plant Society, Anacostia Watershed Society and Sierra

Club are establishing a program to provide local groups and public and private

landowners with several models to draw upon in the region. We are assisting

in developing a major work effort (three to five years) at each site to remove

massive populations of about a dozen species. Regular stewardship projects are

conducted in all seasons including winter, early spring, late spring, summer, and

late summer.

 

 

This high-intensity program is followed by a low-intensity annual

maintenance program to eliminate plants we have missed, plants

emerging from the seed bank, and occasional plants migrating in

from neighboring areas.

 

Attachment A announces regular monthly projects at over 40 sites in

Maryland almost all of which were initially started as a result of on-the-ground

workshops conducted by current MNPS members in Charles County

and Montgomery County. The Nature Conservancy has also conducted

projects on natural areas for many years. MNPS and the Sierra Club

sponsor the monthly projects at Chapman Forest (800 acres), Swann Park

(200 acres) and Greenbelt National Park (1.5 square miles). They

co-sponsor Little Paint Branch Park (150 acres) and Cherry Hill Road

Community Park (15 acres) removals in Beltsville and Magruder Park

in Hyattsville MD (15 acres) with the Anacostia Watershed

Society and provide considerable assistance to the other projects.

 

These sites serve as a visible example of what can be accomplished. MNPS

with Montgomery County and Prince Georges County MNCPPC, Sierra Club

and Anacostia Watershed Society developed signs, announcements, flyers,

safety and plant identification handouts, sign in sheets and evaluation

forms (attachment B).  A summary of AWS generated invasive plant

control progress in 2006 (attachment C) is in chronological order where

AWS engaged a total of 1082 volunteers at 12 selected parks including

one native plant restoration site. Swann Park had 99 volunteers and

Chapman Forest had 78 volunteers.

 

The biggest challenge is to ensure that in subsequent years all the

successful projects are carried on by responsible entities. Our advice

to others considering similar projects are to recognize that restoration

of our native ecosystem is realistic but requires an appropriate level

of work effort. Many of us have done extensive surveys of this area

and find that at least 80% of the natural areas are salvageable with a

combination of mechanical and carefully targeted chemical control

and no requirement for re-vegetation. The natives return on their own

since they initially covered the majority of the surface area. We remove

all the class 1 and class 2 exotic species, typically 5-20 species,

because otherwise if you just eradicate one exotic another one may

replace the one removed.

 

Our policy is to use carefully targeted, biodegradable herbicides in

natural areas, such as glyphosate and triclopyr, that do not migrate

through the soil to other plants. Instead of spraying invasive trees

such as Ailanthus, Norway Maple, and Chinese Privet we inject

concentrated herbicide into the tree either by basal bark, hack and

squirt or cut stump. Seedlings are easy to hand pull.

 

 

We wait for wet soil after a rain to hand pull, first loosening with a garden

tool such as a 4 prong spading fork so the center of the plant rises perceptively.

At the 200 acre Swann Park, where we are essentially in maintenance phase

after 5 years, 17 of the 19 non-native species are eradicated or nearly so.

Only Japanese Stiltgrass and Garlic Mustard remain serious. Attachment D.

 

All the methods, techniques and/or findings of these projects can be used

where the initial cover of non-native invasive species is less than 30% of

the total plant cover and adequately where under 70% cover. At higher percent

coverage the chemical component is more overwhelming and native plant

re-vegetation may be necessary with native species that are not cultivars

and are obtained from the wild or from nursery stocks originally collected

locally in the wild. There are several well researched species mixes that include

12-16 herbaceous and shrub species including nitrogen fixers. Attachment E

summarizes the status of native plant restoration at Woodworth Park.

 

Over 120 professionals and volunteers participated in The Demolition Derby

Field Session of the WEED BUSTERS Invasive Plant Workshop at

Frelinghuysen Arboretum, Morristown, New Jersey, August 9, 2006 which

provided practical experience with sites where it is best to use mechanical

control and sites where it is efficacious to employ chemical control of

Japanese Stiltgrass, Wineberry, Garlic Mustard, Oriental Bittersweet,

Multiflora Rose, Japanese Barberry, And Tree of Heaven. 

 

Other invasive species include Porcelain-berry, Mile-a-Minute and Japanese

Knotweed. My presentation was How Our Monthly Invasive Plant Removal

Project Restored Habitats in 40+ Maryland Sites”. This non-native invasive

plant removal reaches maintenance phase following major work efforts at

each site through a 5 year long combination of mechanical and carefully

targeted chemical control.

 

 

Marc Imlay, PhD

Conservation biologist, Anacostia Watershed Society

(301-699-6204, 301-283-0808)

Board member of the Mid-Atlantic Exotic Pest Plant Council,

Hui o Laka at Kokee State Park, Hawaii

Vice president of the Maryland Native Plant Society,

Chair of the Biodiversity and Habitat Stewardship Committee

for the Maryland Chapter of the Sierra Club.

 

Thanks again everyone! Marc

 

Remember our five year goal: It is considered standard that such invasive

plant removal projects are normally done throughout the region, the nation,

and the world.

                                                                          

 

Here are my personal notes I used for my talk at the American Chemical

Society Synposium in 2005 at the DC Convention Center. My abstract

can be found on the ACS website, www.ACS.org; search for Picogram, the

official publication of the Division, and on pages 48 and 49 is the program

schedule for the symposium. My talk was well received.

 

Marc

 

 

Many thousands of groups across the Nation are rescuing native plants and

animals from non-native invasive species that have no biological control. A

typical park is 50-500 acres and has over a thousand species of native

plants let alone the thousands of native animal species that depend upon

them prior to being covered by monocultures of 5-10 alien species. I have

worked with over a hundred of these groups from Hawaii to Maryland and

have dedicated my semi-retirement years to helping these groups succeed.

 

Since this is a chemical society I will focus on integrated pest

management. Herbicides are a necessary component of winning the battle.

 

AWS position paper

 

I have seen herbicides used when mechanical control is far preferable, both

to avoid collateral damage as well as to save time and money. Just as

frequently I have seen mechanical control used when chemical control is far

preferable. The reason for this has to do with psychology. It is human

nature to use whatever tool is available. For example in controlling

Japanese Stiltgrass, which is the most serious invasive in the Mid-Atlantic

region having covered 10% of New Jersey already, I have been with a group

of 8 people earning 10-40 $/hour come across a 15’-20’ patch with virtually

no native plants left unable to stop themselves and spent an hour removing

it.

 

If I had on my backpack sprayer I would have finished it in 5 minutes.

Contra wise I have caught myself with my back pack sprayer on spraying

Japanese Stiltgrass walking over to two or three plants mixed with natives

and spraying. It takes one second to remove a single pioneer plant, say 2’

tall and 3’ wide , but  several seconds to spray the surface adequately.

Consequently at Swann Park in Charles County, Greenbelt National Park

And Little Paint Branch Park in Beltsville in Maryland, we have had

Separate days for hand removal with volunteers and spray days for

staff. The combination works well whether the spray day is first and

only thick patches are sprayed leaving the low density areas for

volunteers, or volunteers leaving the patches for staff later.

 

As an example, the North Chevy Chase Christian Church stopped at

a terrible patch with hundreds of small closely packed plants, in Little

Paint Branch Park and said “we can’t do this”. I agreed and three of

us sprayed it 2 weeks later.

 

Our policy is to use carefully targeted, biodegradable herbicides in

Natural areas, such as glyphosate and triclopyr, that do not migrate

through the soil to other plants. Instead of spraying invasive trees

such as Ailanthus, Norway Maple, and Chinese Privet we inject

concentrated herbicide into the tree either by basal bark, hack and

squirt or cut stump.  Seedlings are easy to hand pull.  We wait for

wet soil after a rain to hand pull, first loosening with a garden tool

such as a 4 prong spading fork so the center of the plant rises

perceptively. Then we make a pile rather than bag English

Ivy, Wineberry or Multiflora Rose. The only one of about a

dozen species treated this way in a pile which re-rooted was

Chinese Bush-clover, Lespedeza cuneata. Volunteers hand pulled it

successfully where it occupied about 10% of a 10’ x 10’ area with

an equal amount of native narrow leaved mountain mint in bloom that

they rescued. I back pack sprayed the other 2 patches in the park

where nothing native was left.

 

At the 200 acre Swann Park 17 of the 19 non-native species are eradicated

Or nearly so. Only Japanese Stiltgrass and garlic mustard remain serious.

At Kokee State Park in Hawaii about 500 acres are also in the maintenance

stage.