Article 33. Environmental protection and sustainability

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33-1-101. Definitions

§ 33-1-101. DEFINITIONS.

(a) In general. In this article the following words have the meanings indicated.

(b) Afforestation. “Afforestation” means:

(1) Establishment of a forest on an area from which forest cover has been absent for a long period of time;

(2) Planting of open areas which are not presently in forest cover; or

(3) Establishment of a forest according to procedures set forth in the Forest Conservation Technical Manual.

(c) Agricultural land management practice.

(1) “Agricultural land management practice” means those methods and procedures used in the cultivation of land to further crop and livestock production and conservation of related soil and water resources.

(2) “Agricultural land management practice” does not include logging and timber removal operations.

(d) Anadromous fish. “Anadromous fish” means fish that travel upstream from their primary habitat in the ocean to freshwaters in order to spawn.

(e) Chesapeake Bay Critical Area. “Chesapeake Bay Critical Area” means all land and water that is designated on the official critical area map of the county under § 8-1807(c) of the Natural Resources Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland.

(f) Clearing.

(1) “Clearing” means any act to cut or remove vegetation, including trees, saplings, shrubs, seedlings or herbaceous plants, from the land.

(2) “Clearing” does not include the ordinary mowing of grass.

(g) Colonial nesting water bird. “Colonial nesting water bird” means a heron, egret, tern, or glossy ibis that:

(1) Congregates in relatively few areas to nest; and

(2) Is highly susceptible to local disturbances at the time of nesting.

(h) Developed woodland. “Developed woodland” means a one-acre or more area in the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area that:

(1) Predominantly contains trees and natural vegetation; and

(2) Contains residential, commercial, or industrial structures and uses.

(i) Endangered species. “Endangered species” means a species of plant, animal, or fish that is listed as endangered:

(1) By regulation of the State Department of Natural Resources; or

(2) In accordance with the Federal Endangered Species Act.

(j) Erosion. “Erosion” means the process by which the land surface is worn away by the action of wind, water, ice, or gravity.

(k) Forest.

(1) “Forest” means a biological community that is dominated by trees and other woody plants.

(2) “Forest” does not include:

(i) Orchards; or

(ii) Conifer plantations unless under an approved forest management plan.

(l) Forest Conservation Technical Manual. “Forest Conservation Technical Manual” means the technical manual adopted under Article 3, Title 7 of the Code, used to establish standards of performance required in preparing forest stand delineations and forest conservation plans.

(m) Forest interior dwelling bird.

(1) “Forest interior dwelling bird” means a species of bird identified by the State Department of Natural Resources that requires relatively large forested tracts to breed successfully.

(2) “Forest interior dwelling bird” includes flycatchers, warblers, vireos, and woodpeckers.

(n) Forest management plan. “Forest management plan” means a plan prepared by a registered professional forester that describes the manner in which timber will be harvested and replaced to protect water quality and plant and wildlife habitat.

(o) Forest Protection and Establishment Plan. “Forest Protection and Establishment Plan” means a plan prepared for the protection and establishment of a forest that provides water quality and plant and wildlife habitat protection and that incorporates planting standards and maintenance procedures found in the Forest Conservation Technical Manual, as necessary.

(p) Habitat protection area. “Habitat protection area” means any existing area of open water, nontidal wetland, tidal wetland, stream channel or river channel, stream or river bank, or upland, of any type and size, and including a reasonable protective area, within the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area, which is delineated for compliance or otherwise complies with at least one of the following elements of the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area regulations (COMAR 27.01.09):

(1) Anadromous fish propagation waters;

(2) Habitat of a species of plant or animal listed by state or federal authorities as an endangered species, threatened species, or species in need of conservation (i.e., critical species), or a natural heritage area;

(3) Forest interior dwelling bird habitat;

(4) Colonial water bird nesting habitat;

(5) Habitat for the feeding, resting or grouping of wintering and migrating waterfowl species;

(6) Habitat that serves as a wildlife corridor; or

(7) Habitat determined to be of local significance.

(q) Hydric soil. “Hydric soil” means a soil that is wet frequently enough to periodically produce anaerobic conditions that influence the species composition or growth of plants on the soil.

(r) Hydrophytic vegetation. “Hydrophytic vegetation” means macrophytic plant life growing in water or on a substrate that is at least periodically deficient in oxygen as a result of excessive water content.

(s) Natural heritage area. “Natural heritage area” means a natural community of species designated by the State Secretary of Natural Resources under COMAR

(t) Natural vegetation. “Natural vegetation” means a plant community that develops in the absence of human activity.

(u) Nonpoint source pollution. “Nonpoint source pollution” means pollution that is generated by diffuse land use activities rather than from an identifiable or discrete facility and is conveyed to waterways through natural processes, such as rainfall, storm runoff, or groundwater seepage rather than by direct discharge.

(v) Nontidal wetland.

(1) “Nontidal wetland” means those areas that are inundated or saturated by surface or ground water at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that under normal circumstances do support, a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions, commonly known as hydrophytic vegetation.

(2) The determination of whether an area is a nontidal wetland shall be made in accordance with the publication known as the “U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Wetlands Delineation Manual,” published in 1987 and as may be amended.

(w) One hundred year frequency rainfall event. “One hundred year frequency rainfall event” means a rainfall that has a 1% chance of occurrence in a particular year.

(x) Pollution.

(1) “Pollution” means any contamination or other alteration of the physical, chemical, or biological properties of any waters of this state.

(2) “Pollution” includes a change in temperature, taste, color, turbidity, or odor of the waters or the discharge or deposit of any organic matter, harmful organism, or liquid, gaseous, solid, radioactive, or other substance into any waters of this state that will render the waters harmful or detrimental to:

(i) Public health, safety, or welfare;

(ii) Domestic, commercial, industrial, agricultural, recreational, or other legitimate beneficial uses;

(iii) Livestock, wild animals, or birds; or

(iv) Fish or other aquatic life.

(y) Riverine floodplain. “Riverine floodplain” means land that is inundated by the stormwater runoff created by a one hundred year frequency rainfall event based on:

(1) Maximum development of the watershed using the current zoning; and

(2) The current standards approved by the Department of Public Works.

(z) Soil conservation and water quality plan. “Soil conservation and water quality plan” means a plan for agricultural properties prepared by the County Soil Conservation District to protect the productivity of the land base, preserve or enhance water quality, and conserve fish, wildlife, and plant habitat, by incorporating best management practices including control of nutrients, animal wastes, toxins, sediments, and run-off.

(aa) Soil erodibility k value. “Soil erodibility k value” means a soil conservation service index of the susceptibility of soil to erosion and rainfall.

(bb) Species in need of conservation. “Species in need of conservation” means a species of wildlife or fish that is listed as in need of conservation by regulation of the State Department of Natural Resources.

(cc) Stream.

(1) “Stream” means a perennial or intermittent watercourse identified through site inspection and as approved by the Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability.

(2) The most recent county photogrammetric maps may be used as a guide for the preliminary establishment of possible watercourses.

(dd) Stream channel.

(1) “Stream channel” means a part of a watercourse either naturally or artificially created that contains an intermittent or perennial base flow of groundwater origin.

(2) For the practical purpose of distinguishing stream channels with base flows of groundwater origin from watercourses with exclusively ephemeral, overland stormwater flows, any one of the following physical indicators shall be used:

(i) Hydrophytic vegetation, hydric soil, or other hydrologic indicators in the area(s) where groundwater enters the stream channel, in the vicinity of the stream headwaters, channel beds, or channel banks;

(ii) Flowing water not directly related to a storm event; or

(iii) Historical records of a local high groundwater table, such as well and stream gauge records.

(ee) Stream system. “Stream system” means a stream channel together with the riverine floodplain, hydrologically related nontidal wetlands, or both.

(ff) Submerged aquatic vegetation. “Submerged aquatic vegetation” means rooted or unrooted vascular hydrophytic vegetation that, except for the flowering parts of some species, lies entirely beneath the surface of the water.

(gg) Surface mining. “Surface mining” means:

(1) Any activity or process constituting all or part of a process for the extraction or removal of minerals from their original location in the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area;

(2) The extraction of sand, gravel, rock, stone, earth or fill from borrow pits for highway construction purposes or other public facilities;

(3) Operations engaged in processing minerals at the site of extraction;

(4) Removal of overburden and mining of limited amounts of any mineral when done for the purpose of prospecting and to the extent necessary to determine the location, quantity or quality of any natural deposit; or

(5) Any extraction or removal operations, if the affected land exceeds 1 acre or more in area.

(hh) Surface water designated uses. “Surface water designated uses” means designated uses for the surface waters of this state set forth in COMAR 26.08.02 and consisting of:

(1) Use I: water contact recreation, and protection of aquatic life;

(2) Use I-P: water contact recreation, protection of aquatic life, and public water supply;

(3) Use II: shellfish harvesting waters;

(4) Use III: natural trout waters;

(5) Use III-P: natural trout waters and public water supply;

(6) Use IV: recreational trout waters; and

(7) Use IV-P: recreational trout waters and public water supply.

(ii) Threatened species. “Threatened species” means a species of plant, animal, or fish that is listed as threatened:

(1) By regulation of the State Department of Natural Resources; or

(2) In accordance with the Federal Endangered Species Act.

(jj) Tidal wetland. “Tidal wetland” means all state and private tidal wetlands, marshes, submerged aquatic vegetation, lands, and open water affected by the daily and periodic rise and fall of the tide within the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries and additional tidal wetlands identified through site inspection by the Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability that are subject to the daily and periodic rise and fall of the tide.

(kk) Vegetative cover type. “Vegetative cover type” means a category of vegetative cover developed by the Department for evaluating the susceptibility of soils and slopes to runoff and erosion and based on the vegetative cover types and hydrologic conditions utilized in the USDA-SCS TR-55 method.

(ll) Watercourse.

(1) (i) “Watercourse” means any natural or artificial stream, river, creek, ditch, channel, conduit, waterway, gully, ravine, or wash flowing in a defined bed or channel, which is subject to inundation by reason of overflow of floodwater.

(ii) “Watercourse” includes any area adjacent to the bodies of water referenced in subparagraph (i) of this paragraph.

(2) A watercourse does not need to flow continuously.

(mm) Waters of this state. “Waters of this state” includes:

(1) Both surface and underground waters within the boundaries of this state subject to its jurisdiction, including that part of the Atlantic Ocean within the boundaries of this state, the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries, and all ponds, lakes, rivers, streams, nontidal wetlands and tidal wetlands, public ditches, tax ditches, and public drainage systems within this state, other than those designed and used to collect, convey, or dispose of sanitary sewage; and

(2) The riverine floodplain of free-flowing waters determined by the State Department of Natural Resources.

(nn) Wildlife corridor. “Wildlife corridor” means a strip of vegetated land that provides habitat and a safe passageway between habitat areas for wildlife.

(oo) Wintering and migrating waterfowl habitat. “Wintering and migrating waterfowl habitat” means an area of open water and adjacent land where waterfowl gather during migration and throughout the winter, and:

(1) That recently has been used regularly for these gatherings; and

(2) The location of which is commonly known.

(1988 Code, §§ 14-152, 14-191, 14-265, 14-336, 14-402, 26-438) (Bill No. 224, 1990, § 1; Bill No. 173, 1991, §§ 1, 2; Bill No. 224, 1992, § 1, 1-19-1993; Bill No. 163-93, § 1, 11-17-1993; Bill No. 10-96, § 3, 3-23-1996; Bill No. 53-01, § 1, 7-2-2001; Bill No. 94-02, § 2, 7-1-2004; Bill No. 122-10, § 13, 1-16-2011)



Subtitle 1. General Provisions

33-2-101. Definitions

33-2-102. Findings

33-2-103. Purpose

33-2-104. Applicability

33-2-105. Official Chesapeake Bay Critical Area Map

Subtitle 2. General Requirements

33-2-201. Permits

33-2-202. Plan requirements

33-2-203. Development - Plats and protective covenants

33-2-204. Management requirements

33-2-205. Variances

33-2-206. Other land uses

33-2-207. Cluster development

33-2-208. Design requirements

33-2-209. Surface mining

Subtitle 3. Wetlands Protection

33-2-301. Establishment

33-2-302. Prohibited acts

33-2-303. Nontidal wetland protection

Subtitle 4. Buffers

33-2-401. Established

33-2-402. Requirements

33-2-403. Buffer management areas

33-2-404. Buffer Mitigation Fund

33-2-405. Tree or vegetation clearing

33-2-406. Agriculture

Subtitle 5. Habitat Protection Areas

33-2-501. Disturbance prohibited; exceptions

33-2-502. Designation of new wetlands or protected species

Subtitle 6. Development

33-2-601. Overlay areas

33-2-602. Intensely developed areas

33-2-603. Limited development areas and Resource Conservation Area

33-2-604. Water-dependant activity, facility, or structure

33-2-605. Structures on private and nonmarina commercial property

33-2-606. Structures on pier

33-2-607. Shore erosion protection measures

Subtitle 7. Forests

33-2-701. Forestry

33-2-702. Erosion and Sediment Control Plan

Subtitle 8. Navigable Waters

33-2-801. Work in navigable waters below tide

33-2-802. Waterway improvement fund - Spur dredging

Subtitle 9. Enforcement; Remedies

33-2-901. Enforcement

33-2-902. Civil penalties

33-2-903. Injunction

33-2-904. Criminal penalties

33-2-905. Liability for expenses caused by violation

33-2-906. Additional remedies


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