Governor Parris N. Glendening recently call for a cooperative and voluntary effort by all levels of government, businesses, industries, environmental and community groups, and individuals to restore 60,000 acres of Maryland's tidal and nontidal wetlands that have been lost since the 1940s.

He said state agencies will lead the effort by pledging state-owned property to the endeavor, incorporating specifications in bid documents for construction projects, or requiring wetland creation and restoration whenever appropriate sites are identified during project design. The state's Department of the Environment has already added to the wetland base by offering wetland creation projects as offsets to a portion of assessed penalties in enforcement settlements.

The governor will appoint a steering committee of business, agricultural, environmental and civic leaders, as well as government officials to develop a wetlands conservation plan. The committee will asses the health and function of Maryland's wetlands, identify priority protection and restoration areas, provide guidance and technical support for wetland projects, and recommend incentives for wetland creation.

Maryland currently has 60,000 acres of tidal and nontidal wetlands. Tidal wetlands are generally covered or saturated with water according the rise and fall of the tide. Nontidal wetlands are inland, freshwater areas and are usually covered or saturated with water for long periods of time during the growing season.