Planning For Cecil County, MD
Segment of green infrastructure map. Image by The Conservation Fund.
Download The Plan
Along Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Cecil County is primarily rural but also smack in the middle of a major metropolitan traffic corridor. In 2006, we completed a green infrastructure plan identifying and offering guidance on the essential green infrastructure needed to support the county’s present and future growth.
In our review, we found that a network of interconnected natural areas and open space—representing roughly one-third of the county—could protect 94% of its wetlands and 75% of its forests. Based on the green network’s contribution to clean air and water, flood protection and similar criteria, we estimated that these natural lands provided $1.7 billion in ecosystem services each year to Cecil County. Despite their value, less than a quarter of the identified network lands were protected, leaving much of the 63,000 remaining acres in previously designated growth areas.
We suggested a range of tools that Cecil County could use to protect more of its vital green infrastructure network, including land conservation and reforestation opportunities, reduction of nutrients entering the nearby Chesapeake Bay, and funding strategies.