In an effort to conserve land in Howard County, Maryland, a new program is giving financial incentives to nonprofits.
The program is being called the first of its kind in the state.
“We have a new tool, a model program to make sure preservation remains a priority,” said Howard County Executive Calvin Ball.
He has committed $2 million to the new Purchased Conservation Easement pilot program. That funding was approved by the Howard County Council in May. The pilot program just launched this month.
Working with the Howard County Conservancy, the county will target nonprofit property owners and provide financial incentives to preserve environmentally significant properties.
“This program will allow us to identify and protect important properties that previously were not eligible for preservation programs,” said Vice President of the Howard County Conservancy’s Board of Directors Lisa Marini.
Ball said the county will start by approaching churches and similar nonprofits first in the pilot program. During a news conference announcing the program, Ball praised the creativity of the county for coming up with ways to conserve land.
“If the right tools don’t exist, we must build them. And together, we’ve made an incredible progress in just a short period of time,” Ball said.
Ball said while land conservation has been a major focus in Howard County, there’s still more to do.
“And while nearly 40% of Howard County Land has been set aside for recreation and parks open space, we know we can do even better,” Ball said.