The purpose of the Southern Maryland Heritage Area Plan is to develop a public and private partnership which recognizes the unique assets of Southern Maryland as a heritage area and creates a plan of action which will: (1) balance preservation, conservation, recreation and development; (2) preserve and enhance Southern Maryland's cultural, historical and natural resources; (3) further develop Southern Maryland's economy by creating economic opportunity and jobs; and (4) leverage the resources necessary to accomplish the above. The Southern Maryland Heritage Area includes Calvert, Charles and St. Mary's Counties. The area is circumscribed by the Chesapeake Bay, the Potomac and Patuxent Rivers. It is entirely within the western shore of the coastal plain which descends in tiers from the Piedmont Plateau to the Chesapeake Bay. The region is rich in resources -- land, water, flora and fauna, history, culture, and people. Southern Maryland's history spans from the arrival of Native Americans to today's developing technology industry. This plan is thus the starting point of a community partnership to ensure in decades to come, the stewardship of the regions' heritage resources, and use of them to stimulate the local economy and improve our quality of life.