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What is Resource Conservation and Development?

The Resource Conservation and Development program, typically shortened to RC&D, began as a national program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), established by the Food and Agriculture Act of 1962 and reauthorized in subsequent Farm Bills. RC&D provides a means for communities to address their natural resource and quality of life concerns. Active in every state and many of our territories, RC&D serves people at the local level through the activities of its now independent 501(c)(3) Councils. There are currently over 150 Councils serving 85% of U.S. counties. In Maryland, there are three RC&D Councils serving 17 counties. All three are 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporations, each governed by a volunteer Board of Directors. Southern Maryland RC&D serves Anne Arundel, Calvert, Charles, and St. Mary’s counties.

Each RC&D Council develops and implements an area-specific strategic plan, or Area Plan. The Area Plan identifies unique opportunities and challenges connected to land conservation, land management, water management, and community development. RC&D Councils work closely with a broad array of local project partners to develop and implement projects connected to their Area Plans. Project partners are typically from within the area, but Councils may also cooperate with counties and project partners outside their areas in order to ensure that natural resource and quality of life concerns are fully addressed. Often, Councils will cooperate with each other to address statewide or regional concerns.

The national RC&D motto is “Making things happen!” RC&D is making things happen everyday for over 180 million Americans all across our great nation. For more information about the National Association of RC&D Councils, you can visit the NARCDC website at

“Develop a comprehensive program to educate Southern Maryland Community Associations on fire hazard mitigation while making resources that enhance fire suppression capabilities available to volunteer fire departments."

— Goal I

"Protect historical, cultural, archaeological and native resources to create sustainable economic development and heritage tourism opportunities and promote cross-cultural understanding for at least 5 communities in Southern Maryland by 2025."

— Goal II

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"Cooperate with schools and a wide array of regional partners to educate Southern Marylanders on the value of preserving and protecting our agricultural and natural heritage for the benefit of present and future generations through the development and annual distribution of educational materials."

---- Goal III

"Impact at least 20 businesses annually by preserving, increasing and/or further developing the economic and environmental viability of the diverse resource-based industries in Southern Maryland in a safe and sustainable manner."

---- Goal IV

"Utilize diverse educational opportunities and outreach to Southern Maryland audiences to promote a land ethic that values native habitat in the RC&D Development Area."

---- Goal V

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"Utilize diverse tools to promote land use practices and best management practices that minimize soil erosion and sedimentation in our rural, suburban and urban communities."

---- Goal VI

"Help our county governments protect the Development Area’s unique agricultural heritage and natural character by presenting annually the most innovative development alternatives to partners, communities and agricultural operations."

---- Goal VII

"Improve the Development Area’s literacy and capacity on water conservation through education and outreach throughout Southern Maryland between 2019 and 2024."

— Goal VIII

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