Friday, January 16, 2015

January 1991 Report of the Governor’s Commission on Growth in the Chesapeake Bay Region

January 1991 Report of the Governor’s Commission on Growth in the Chesapeake Bay Region

Protecting the Future

A Vision for Maryland

Report of the Governor’s Commission on Growth in the Chesapeake Bay Region

January 1991


Since October 1989, the Governor's Commission on Growth in the Chesapeake Bay Region has worked to develop a vision for Maryland's growth over the next 30 years. Answering a charge from Governor William Donald Schaefer, the Commission has made recommendations for reconciling rapid economic growth and development with the conservation of Maryland's natural resources and the preservation of the State's unique quality of life.
The Commission recognized an opportunity to change the way land-use has been managed in the past, and crafted recommendations which carefully consider the challenge of the Visions prepared by the 2020 Panel of Experts.2 Each Vision was considered, and the responses blended into five basic recommendations that are the subject of this report.

1. Designate suitable areas for growth. Sprawl development devours land, harms the environment and the Chesapeake Bay, and uses infrastructure inefficiently. The Commission's proposal would have local governments direct new development to areas they believe can most efficiently accommodate it.

2. Protect sensitive areas. From a list of more than 40 environmentally-sensitive areas, such as den or breeding sites and large contiguous tracts of forest, the Commission focused on four as being most critical to protect from the impact of individual development projects. On steep slopes and in stream buffers, in habitats for endangered species and 100-year floodplains, virtually no development should be permitted.

3. Conserve natural resources. Sprawl development encourages inefficient use of resources. Natural resources such as farmland and forests, once developed, are difficult to restore. Under the Commission's proposal, development will be directed away from farms and forests.

4. Make stewardship of the environment a universal ethic. Mary landers must understand that each individual's actions have a direct effect on the Bay and the environment. The Commission has asked that a statewide Stewardship Council be charged with coordinating existing educational programs and increasing opportunities for individuals to protect the environment.

5. Provide funds to achieve the recommendations. Concentrating development depends on the ability of local governments to fund the planning and infrastructure.  Although local

The 2020 Panel of Experts was convened at the request of the signatories of the 1987 Chesapeake Bay Agreement to study the consequences of population growth and development for the Chesapeake Bay watershed to the year 2020.  Their report described six detailed "visions" and "actions."


From far western Garrett County to the Eastern Shore, the importance of the Bay to Maryland is virtually inestimable. Each year it gives us millions of dollars of seafood, billions of dollars of commerce flow through its major ports, and it is a recreation center for the East Coast. In 1989, the Maryland Department of Economic and Employment Development estimated the economic value of the Bay to Maryland and Virginia to be $678 billion.

Saving the Chesapeake Bay MUST be an overriding priority for all Marylanders and their governments.  Economic Importance of the Chesapeake Bay. 1989.
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