Other Resource Protection Strategies

Natural Resources Element Plan
Harford County updated the Natural Resources Element Plan (NREP) (PDF), an element of the Harford County Master Plan, in October 2009. The original NREP was adopted in 1998 in fulfillment of a requirement of the State Planning Act that a “Sensitive Areas Element” be adopted as part of a jurisdiction’s Master Plan to address the protection of streams and their buffers, 100-year floodplain, habitats of threatened and endangered species, and steep slopes. In 2006 the state passed HB1141 that required several new sensitive areas be added to the plan - wetlands, agricultural lands and forest lands intended for resource conservation.

In addition, HB1141 required that a “Water Resources Element” be prepared by October 2009 to ensure that there exists adequate drinking water and wastewater facilities to meet the needs of existing and future development as proposed in the Land Use Element Plan, and that there are suitable receiving waters to meet stormwater management and wastewater treatment and disposal needs of existing and future development. As a result of HB1141, the updated NREP was adopted in October 2009 to incorporate the additional sensitive areas as well as the “Water Resources Element.” A series of goals and policies are presented in the plan, as well as action strategies to accomplish the goals. The NREP also inventories the natural resources of the county and identifies existing regulatory and resource protection programs.

Watershed Implementation Plan
In July 2012 the Harford County Phase II Watershed Implementation Plan (PDF) was submitted to the State of Maryland. This plan was developed by the County and its 3 municipalities (Aberdeen, Bel Air and Havre de Grace) to address how the county would meet its nutrient load allocation as part of the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL). The Chesapeake Bay TMDL was developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to reduce nutrient and sediment contributions to the Chesapeake Bay in order to meet water quality standards by 2025.

Nutrient load allocations were given to each state in the bay watershed, Maryland in turn gave each local jurisdiction its share to address. Strategies were developed by a work group in the county to address the major source sectors of nutrient pollution:
  • Agricultural runoff
  • Septic systems
  • Urban stormwater
  • Wastewater treatment plants
To show progress toward meeting the nutrient reduction goals, 2 year milestones are developed biannually.

Water Resources
Protection and enhancement of the county’s water resources is also addressed by the Water Resources section within the Harford County Department of Public Works. This office is responsible for implementation of the County’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Program (NPDES), a federally mandated program to improve water quality in local waterways. Through this program the county has undertaken numerous watershed studies and developed a Watershed Management Plan for the Bush River Watershed. This office is also responsible for the county’s Stormwater Management and Sediment Control Programs.