News from the DNR Office of Communications

Governor O'Malley Announces BPW Approval Of Rural Legacy Preservation In Baltimore, Carroll And Washington Counties

ANNAPOLIS, MD (December 2, 2009) — Governor Martin O’Malley today announced the Board of Public Works (BPW) approval of five conservation easements in Baltimore, Carroll and Washington Counties through the Maryland Rural Legacy Program, which 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.

“I am proud we are able to continue the work to preserve Maryland’s landscapes -- our forests, farms and fields,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “We are working, as One Maryland, to preserve our culture and heritage for our children and our children’s children.”

Baltimore County
The BPW approved $287,663 for acquisition of a 50-acre conservation easement preserving productive farmland and forests and protection of the water quality of streams that drain into Prettyboy Reservoir, which flows into the Gunpowder River a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay. Protection of this property will ensure that conservation practices, including 500-feet of permanent streamside buffers, will remain in place for generations to come. The property is located in the Piney Run Watershed Rural Legacy Area and the easement will be held by DNR and The Land Preservation Trust.
The property lies adjacent to a block of more than 13,000 acres conserved by Rural Legacy Program, Maryland Environmental Trust, and the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation (MALPF) easements, before joining with the Gunpowder Falls State Park. The property provides substantial scenic view from Black Rock Road and Grace Road.

Carroll County
Today the Board of Public Works approved $515,000 for acquisition of the 82-acre property, and $162,472 for a 29-acre property, preserving significant agriculture and forest resources. The property is located in the Upper Patapsco Rural Legacy Area, in Carroll County.

Upper Patapsco Rural Legacy Area preserves agricultural and forest land within a Targeted Ecological Area, a Stronghold Watershed, and an Aquifer Protection Area. Between the two easements, water quality will be protected through the permanent protection of 3,605 linear feet of forested stream buffers along the East Branch of the Patapsco River and associated tributaries. This easement will be held by Carroll County. A total of ten development rights will be distinguished meaning that ten building sites and ten septic systems will now not be built on this land, and conflicting residential uses in the Carroll County Agricultural and Conservation Zoning Districts will be reduced. A forest stewardship plan and Total Resource Management Plan will help prevent soil erosion, maintain water quality, and provide for managed agricultural and forested uses.

Carroll County as a whole has a strong agricultural economy. In 2003, the County placed third in the State in milk production, led table egg production and is increasing vegetable and fruit production for metropolitan areas. The total value of commodities (1997) was $72,272,000 (this value does not include the equine industry).

Washington County
Today the Board of Public Works approved $303,695 for acquisition of the 93-acre property, and $151,640 for a 50-acre property, preserving significant agriculture and forest resources. The property is located in the Mid-Maryland Washington Rural Legacy Area, in Washington County. The easements will be held by Washington County.

The Mid-Maryland Washington Rural Legacy Area preserves agricultural and forest land around Antietam Battlefield and its approaches. Water quality will be protected through the permanent protection of 1,000 linear feet of stream buffers along Little Antietam Creek with flows into the Potomac River and finally the Chesapeake Bay. The farm is in the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program for the 16 acres that buffer Little Antietam Creek. Roughly 118 acres of farmland and over thirty acres of forest will be protected. A total of seven potential development rights will be extinguished.

This conservation easement will protect a significant Civil War property. Both the Union V Corps and Confederate troops passed through the area upon approach and retreat during the Battle of Antietam. The farm also played a significant role during the Battle of South Mountain. This property is located within a two-mile radius of more than 8,800 acres of land permanently protected near Antietam Battlefield, and 1.5 miles away from over 9,000 acres of land permanently protected along South Mountain.

“Rural Legacy Program easements on the King farm will provide environmental protection of the Bay through stream buffering, protection of the viewsheds from the Battles of Antietam and South Mountain, and protect the agricultural integrity of the area,” said Eric Seifarth, Rural Preservation Administrator, Washington County.

Enacted by the General Assembly in 1997, Maryland’s Rural Legacy Program has to date provided over $194,773,859 to protect 64,187 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 http://www.dnr.maryland.gov/land/rurallegacy/.

The three-member Board of Public Works, chaired by Governor O’Malley, is comprised of 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.


   December 2, 2009

Contact: Josh Davidsburg
410-260-8002 office I 410-507-7526 cell
jdavidsburg@dnr.state.md.us

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 461,000 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