Chesapeake Bay Critical Area

Chesapeake Bay Critical Area

The Critical Area Explained


The Chesapeake Bay Critical Area was established in 1985 to improve water quality, protect the wildlife habitat, and reduce impacts of human activity on sensitive lands. Included is all land area within 1,000 feet of the Mean High Water line of tidal waters and tidal wetlands. It also includes the waters of the Chesapeake Bay, tidal areas, and the land beneath these tidal areas.

Zoning Regulations on development activities in the Critical Area may be found in Queen Anne's County's Chapter 14:1 Critical Area Ordinance.


The Critical Area Buffer


The Critical Area Buffer consists of a minimum 100 feet landward from the Mean High Water line of tidal waters, top of bank of tributary streams and tidal wetlands. The buffer may be expanded up to 300 feet to include any contiguous sensitive areas, highly erodible soils or steep slopes.

Regulated Activities in the Critical Area


Permits are required for construction projects, grading of land, including adding fill material and measures to control shore erosion, to cut or clear any vegetation, remove dead or dying trees (those posing an immediate threat may be removed however, with prior Planning and Zoning approval). Control of invasive plants may be conducted with prior Planning and Zoning approval. Maintenance of existing lawn and pruning of trees may be conducted without a permit.   More details and information about development in the Critical Area can be found on the Development Review section of Planning & Zoning.

Your Property & the Critical Area


Official maps delineating the Critical Area in Queen Anne’s County may be found in the Office of Planning and Zoning at 110 Vincit Street, Suite 104. You may also call us at 410-758-1255 between the hours of 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Please provide your tax map and parcel number if known.