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Maryland Landowners Donate Nearly 5,000 Acres Of Conservation Easements In 2007
ANNAPOLIS, MD — Working with Maryland landowners, the Maryland Environmental Trust (MET) permanently protected 4,806 acres of land last year from future development, a 33 percent increase from 2006.
“Thanks to partnerships with local and national land trusts, MET’s land preservation success this year exceeded expectations, making 2007 one of the most successful years for land conservation in recent memory, said MET Director Nick Williams.
MET maintains long-standing partnerships with many nonprofit local land trusts in Maryland, including the joint solicitation, holding, and stewarding of easements. In 2007, three quarters of MET’s land conservation was accomplished through these partnerships.
“The Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, Lower Shore Land Trust, and Allegany Highlands Conservancy in particular accounted for a great deal of the land saved in 2007,” added Williams.
At least one conservation easement was completed in 18 of Maryland’s 23 counties. Following historical patterns, Baltimore County led the State with 13 easements covering 453 acres. Other successful areas in 2007 include Queen Anne’s County with 6 easements preserving 838 acres, and Kent County with 5 easements protecting 623 acres. Western Maryland easements increased by 73 percent in 2007.
A full array of conservation values are represented by the protected properties. For example, one Somerset County landowner conserved 416 acres of land within the Chesapeake Bay’s Critical Area and secured the Williams’ Conquest site, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In St. Mary’s County, an easement on a 179-acre tract protected 950 feet of waterfront on the Chesapeake Bay and extensive Critical Area acreage. Originally slated for 258 home sites, the easement now limits the property to a maximum of four houses. In Baltimore County, one easement protected almost 2,000 feet of the Western Run, a major tributary of the Loch Raven Reservoir, and added to an existing contiguous block of protected land totaling approximately 1,500 acres in the Worthington Valley National Register Historic District. It also permanently protects the scenic public benefit from Butler Road and the productive agricultural soils and woodland present on the property.
Since accepting its first conservation easement in 1972, MET has protected nearly 120,000 acres of land on more than 950 properties.
MET staff and partner organizations were able to successfully engage potential conservation easement donors using the expanded federal tax benefit. Combined with the other tax incentives that MET offers to easement donors, this enhanced federal benefit led to a groundswell of interest in the program.
Landowners interested in preserving their property through a conservation easement should contact the Maryland Environmental Trust at 410-514-7900 or visit http://www.dnr.state.md.us/met/.
January 10, 2008
Contact: Olivia Campbell
410-260-8016 office I 410-507-7525 cell
Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 449,000 acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic and cultural resources attract 12 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at www.dnr.maryland.gov