Locust Chapel Woods Habitat Management Plan
Biohabitats helped the Land Design & Development, Inc. development team prepare a habitat management plan for the proposed 36-acre Locust Chapel community in Ellicott City, Maryland. The plan brought together components of site history and ecology which recommends habitat management strategies for 20 acres of open space integrated throughout the residential community, envisions these spaces and their habitats as attractive, exciting and important community assets for both wildlife and people.
The Locust Chapel Woods site includes an historic farmstead and is bounded on one side by a stream system. The open space on site includes a forest conservation easement and open space recreational areas, as well as stormwater management practices. The habitatmanagement plan serves as the first of its kind, and satisfies the requirements of Howard County Maryland’s newly initiated Green Neighborhoods Program. The plan’s intent is to increase the protection and creation of native habitat areas within development and conservation areas of a new, planned community.
Important elements of the habitat management plan include: an assessment of natural resources on and adjacent to the property; identification of existing and potential habitat areas to be enhanced; identification of potential threats and the management techniques to minimize them, an outline of short- and long-term goals for management; and estimated implementation costs. Adaptive management plays a key role in the successful implementation of the plan. It provides a framework for dealing with inherent variability and changes in natural systems and allows for stakeholder-based management decisions that are informed by monitoring and analysis.