UPLAND HABITAT AND PROTECTED SPECIES

    The Chesapeake Bay Critical Area provides for the protection of individual species identified as threatened, endangered or in need of conservation, as well as providing for the protection of their habitat within the Critical Area. Such species range from those that are Federally protected to those that are species of concern within Maryland, and listed by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
     
    The species of animals that fall into these categories are the Bald Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Delmarva Fox Squirrel, Eastern Narrow-Mouthed Toad, shores birds such as the Black Skimmer, American Bittern, American Oystercatcher, and Black Rail, the Palamede's Swallowtail (butterfly), warblers, harriers, and other interior dwelling forest birds.
     
    Bald Eagle


    Peregrine Falcon


     
    SOME OF THE PROTECTED PLANT SPECIES INCLUDE Sensitive Joint-Vetch, Tickseed Sunflower and Ludwigia Glandulosa, Weak Stellate Sedge and Southern Twayblade. The majority of plant species tend to be found in wetland areas, but also in adjacent uplands and along banks. When involving these wetland species of plants, required protections may be limited to the wetland and a buffer area. However, special protections beyond the normal 100-foot Buffer may be necessary to protect from invasive species and human actions. It is important that recommendations and guidance be sought from the Maryland department of Natural Resources before disturbance occurs, generally when an application for subdivision, site plan approval is made.
     
    Protected animal species also tend to be those species often rely on the water and marshes; however, nesting often occurs in uplands. Other species such as the endangered Delmarva Fox Squirrel and bird populations rely on forested areas for habitat. The following documented habitats are mapped for protection:
     
  • Colonial Water Bird Nesting Sites. These are sites used by herons, egrets, terns and glossy ibises that congregate in groups to roost and nest and are, therefore, highly susceptible to outside disturbance.
  • Historic Waterfowl Staging and Concentration Areas. These sites are areas of open water where waterfowl gather during migration and in the winter season on a regular basis.
  • Existing Riparian Forests. These sites of mature forests provide breeding grounds and habitat for a number of species.
  • Forest Interior Dwelling Bird Habitat. These areas are usually made up of mature forest that provides breeding areas for species that require large tracts of forested lands rather than "edge" populations that utilize areas adjacent to fields. Fragmentation of forests can adversely affect these species that include among others, barred owls, hawks and harriers and many songbirds such as warblers and scarlet tanagers.
  • Natural Heritage Areas. These are specially designated communities of plants or animals, which are considered to be the among the best Statewide examples of their type. There are two in Somerset County, Irish Grove (NHA-28), a pristine marsh ecosystem and Hickory Point (NHA-29), a wooded swamp, which falls in both Worcester and Somerset Counties.
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    The Somerset County Department of Technical and Community Services maintains overlay maps that designate the special areas listed above. The Department works with property owners to do an "in house" map review of any land in question. As part of the subdivision approval process, and timber harvest requirements, but available also to any property owner, Maryland Wildlife and Heritage will review their records as to species of concern and make suitable recommendations. This service is also available to any property owner.
     
    The following are the type of recommendations offered by the Department for a proposal that may impact Forest Interior Dwelling Birds follows:
     
    Barred Owl

     
    1. Concentrate development to nonforested areas.
     
    2. If forest loss or disturbance is absolutely unavoidable, concentrate or restrict development to the perimeter of the forest (i.e., within 300 feet of the existing forest edge), particularly in narrow peninsulas of upland forest less than 300 feet wide.
     
    3. Limit forest removal to the "footprint" of houses and to that, which is absolutely necessary for the placement of roads and driveways.
     
    4. Wherever possible, minimize the number and length of driveways and roads.
     
    5. Roads and driveways should be as narrow and short as possible; preferably less than 25 feet and 15 feet, respectively.
     
    6. Maintain forest canopy closure over roads and driveways.
     
    7. Maintain forest habitat up the edges of roads and driveways; do not create or maintain mowed grassy berms.
     
    8. Maintain or create wildlife corridors (for details, see Critical Area Commission's Guidance paper on Wildlife Corridors).
     
    9. Do not remove or disturb forest habitat during May - August, the breeding season for most FIDS. This seasonal restriction may be expanded to February - August if certain early nesting FIDS (e.g., Barred Owl) are present.
     
    10. Afforestation efforts should target (1) riparian or streamside areas that lack woody vegetation, (2) forested riparian areas less than 300 feet, and (3) gaps or peninsulas of nonforested habitat within or adjacent to existing FIDS habitat.
     
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