News from the DNR Office of Communications

Governor O'Malley Announces Rural Legacy Preservation Of 400 Acres

Annapolis, Md. - Governor Martin O'Malley today announced the Board of Public Works approval of two conservation easements in Worcester and Somerset Counties through the Rural Legacy Program.

“Maryland Rural Legacy Areas preserve the natural beauty of our state and contribute to improved water quality, forest conservation and wildlife protection, all important components of our Smart, Green and Growing initiative,” said Governor O’Malley. “Under this important program, I am proud that these vital natural resources will be protected for future generations of Marylanders to enjoy and explore.”

Today, the Board approved the conservation easement of the 228-acre Phillips Farm, located within the Coastal Bays Rural Legacy Area, protecting valuable agricultural and forest lands and implementing significant water quality protection measures in the Chincoteague Watershed. This acquisition will also permanently preserve 3,379 feet of riparian buffers. The easement will be held by the County Commissioners of Worcester County.

In Somerset County, the conservation of the 172-acre Miles Farm will add to the land protected within the Dividing Creek Rural Legacy Area, preserving significant agricultural and forest land and protecting water quality through 4,100 feet of permanent riparian buffers along Dividing Creek. This land also provides habitat for a variety of wildlife, including forest interior dwelling species (threatened species that require large blocks of forests to survive and are not adapted to compete with species that evolved along forest edges and openings), migratory song birds and raptors. The easement will be held by the Lower Shore Land Trust and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Maryland’s Rural Legacy Program provides funding to preserve large, contiguous tracts of land and to enhance natural resource, agricultural, forestry and environmental protection while supporting a sustainable land base for natural resource based industries.

Enacted by the General Assembly in 1997, Maryland’s Rural Legacy Program has to date provided over $182.7 million to preserve 62,079 acres of valuable farmland, forests and natural areas. The 11-member Rural Legacy Advisory Committee and the Rural Legacy Board, which is comprised of Maryland’s Agriculture, Natural Resources and Planning Secretaries, reviews grant applications annually. For additional information, visit

The three-member Board of Public Works is comprised of Governor O’Malley (chair), Treasurer Nancy Kopp and Comptroller Peter Franchot. The BPW is authorized by the General Assembly to approve major construction and consultant contracts, equipment purchases, property transactions and other procurement actions.

   June 3, 2009

Contact: Megan Rhoads

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