Maryland Meets 30% Land Conservation Goal Six Years Ahead of Schedule

Chesapeake Conservancy: Maryland Is a Model for the Nation in Land Conservation

Annapolis, MD – Today, Maryland Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources Joshua Kurtz announced that the state has achieved a milestone goal for land conservation required by the Maryland the Beautiful Act six years ahead of schedule.

Maryland Governor Wes Moore and DNR Secretary Joshua Kurtz hike at Bacon Ridge Natural Area. Photo by Maryland Department of Natural Resources


The legislation established goals of conserving 30% of the state by 2030 and 40% by 2040. The Maryland Department of Planning, in the latest update of the Maryland Protected Lands Dashboard, reports that statewide, Maryland has already met the 30% mark with more than 1.85 million acres conserved as of February 2024.

Maryland’s Portion of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed

According to the MD DNR, the most recent update shows 1,766,958 acres have been protected of the 5,849,431 acres in the watershed jurisdiction of Maryland (30.21% protected).

Other Chesapeake Bay Watershed States

According to 2022 acreage estimates reported by the Chesapeake Bay Program in May 2023, the percentages of protected lands in the Chesapeake Bay watershed for other watershed states are:

Delaware: 27.8%

District of Columbia: 22%

New York: 8.3%

Pennsylvania: 25.5%

Virginia: 21.0%

West Virginia: 16.4%

The following statement is attributable to Chesapeake Conservancy President and CEO Joel Dunn:

“In response to the global nature crisis, Maryland continues to set the bar for the nation in meeting President Biden’s executive order to conserve 30% of the nation’s land and waters by 2030.

“Not only has the 30% goal been met statewide, it has also been met within Maryland’s portion of the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

“Achieving the 30% goal six years ahead of schedule gives us the surge we need to meet the next goal, conserving 40% of the state’s lands by 2040.

“The late Dr. Thomas Lovejoy who taught at George Mason University, was a pioneer in calling for the protection of 30 percent of the earth by 2030, along with an additional 20 percent of the earth designated as climate stabilization areas, as a milestone to conserving half of the planet by 2050.”