Harford County is rich in natural resources. The county’s streams, forests, wetlands and sensitive species habitats, along with agricultural lands and water resources, are an integral part of the landscape of the county and add to the quality of life of its residents. Conservation and protection of these resources, through various plans, programs and regulations, is the work of the Environmental Planning Section within the Department of Planning and Zoning.
Streams and their buffers, floodplains, steep slopes, nontidal wetlands and their buffers, and forests are regulated through the Harford County Development Regulations. In addition, groundwater recharge areas for certain public water systems in the county are also regulated through the Development Regulations. Along tidewater areas and much of the Susquehanna shoreline, environmental regulations affecting development are enforced through the county’s Chesapeake Bay Critical Area Program.
In addition to the regulations for the natural resources listed above, the Critical Area Program regulates habitats of rare, threatened and endangered species, forest interior dwelling bird habitat, colonial water-bird nesting sites, anadromous fish spawning waters, and other sensitive habitats in the Critical Area.
Environmental Planning staff provides technical assistance for land use analysis, building permit processing, subdivision review and floodplain determinations.