Howard County Executive Calvin Ball announced the launch of a 21-day public comment period on the Howard County Forest Conservation Manual draft. The Forest Conservation Manual implements the Forest Conservation Act, by explaining the nuts and bolts of forest conservation in Howard County.

This “how-to” guide describes in detail how forest conservation should be accomplished before, during, and after the development process, so that planners and developers have the same standards to reference, resulting in better communication, time saved and positive forest conservation outcomes.

For nearly two decades, our Forest Conservation Act remained unchanged. In recent years, the Act’s out-of-date standards lacked real positive environmental impact,” said Ball. “Green infrastructure can no longer be an afterthought – it must be built into how we plan and grow. We can’t cut down trees in one location and replace them in another. Now, larger residential developments must retain and replace 75% of trees within the project site.” 

More information is available on the county’s updates to the Forest Conservation Act at

The manual will be available for public review and comment through the Department of Planning and Zoning’s public comment portal at

Howard County’s Department of Planning and Zoning will hold a virtual public meeting on Thursday, Nov. 5 at 4 p.m., to present an overview of the draft manual, accept public input and answer questions. To register for the meeting and participate, go to

Registration closes at noon on Nov. 5 for those that want to participate. Upon registration, instructions for accessing the virtual meeting will be provided via email. The meeting will also be live streamed at

With questions, contact Susan Overstreet at 410-313-4345 or [email protected].