News from the DNR Office of Communications

BPW Approves Preservation Of 334 Acres Through Program Open Space In Baltimore And St. Mary's Counties

Annapolis, Md. (June 23, 2010) – Governor Martin O’Malley today announced Board of Public Works (BPW) approval to preserve 253 acres of land in Baltimore County as well as an 81-acre parcel in the McIntosh Run Watershed in central St. Mary’s County.

“The land that is preserved through Program Open Space not only provides opportunities for Maryland families to enjoy our State’s beautiful natural places, but is also key to protecting the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries,” said Governor O’Malley. “By planning for the future, we can also enjoy the benefits of a healthier, more abundant natural world today.”

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will purchase a conservation easement on 253 acres of the Bee Tree Preserve property, which is immediately adjacent to the Torrey Brown North Central Rail Trail in Baltimore County. Acquired through Program Open Space, this land will further the work of the Partnership for Children in Nature by increasing locations where Maryland children can experience and connect with their natural world. This acquisition will provide a public access point to the trail and ensure that existing and proposed recreational facilities on the site will remain publicly accessible. It will also guarantee that Maryland’s youth from all backgrounds have the permanent opportunity to explore nature and become informed and responsible stewards of the environment.

To secure this property, DNR has worked in partnership with the Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Parks as well as the Baltimore County Department of Environmental Protection and Resource Management.

"We applaud the State's preservation of this area as it is truly a conservation trifecta for the people of Baltimore County and the State," said Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith. "Not only will it provide significant water quality protection to the Metropolitan Drinking Water System that supplies 1.8 million people, it will also enhance the recreational value of the highly popular Torrey Brown - North Central trail by protecting of 1.5 miles along the trail and providing additional hiking opportunities. Lastly, it fills in a crucial piece amongst other land preservation easements including Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation and Baltimore County easements."

This acquisition will protect over 200 acres of forested land including steep slopes and stream valley along the Bee Tree Run, which drains into Little Falls. This parcel lies within the Target Ecological Area (TEA) and has received a high ecological ranking under the Program Open Space Targeting System. The State will contribute $1,390,000 toward the purchase of the conservation easement, which supports Maryland’s Children in Nature Initiative.

The 81-acre parcel in the McIntosh Run Watershed is part of the Lower Potomac River Drainage System that drains into the Chesapeake Bay. Protection of this property will safeguard wildlife habitat, including an active nest of threatened bald eagles and 12 State-listed and protected plant species. It will also conserve forest land and protect a half-mile stretch along an important tributary known as McIntosh Run.

Funding for this easement was provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, through which DNR secured a $133,668 Recovery Land Acquisition Grant.

"The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is very pleased to be working with the Department of Natural Resources and the Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust on the Rowland project,” said Dan Murphy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “The Rowland property is a very important acquisition due to the presence of the federally-endangered Dwarf Wedge Mussel in McIntosh Run — a fresh water stream on the property. The USFWS is contributing funding for the acquisition of the parcel, and a management arrangement will be implemented to steward the property for protection of the Dwarf Wedge Mussel, and for passive hiking."

The parcel is located within the designated Potomac Focus Area and Target Ecological Area and has received a high ecological ranking of 109 under the Program Open Space Targeting System.

The three-member Board of Public Works is composed 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.

Since 2007, Governor O'Malley and the BPW preserved more than 28,544 acres of natural areas for public recreation and watershed and wildlife protection across Maryland. Since 1969, Program Open Space has provided funding for acquisition of 349,257 acres for open space and recreation areas. Most Maryland residents live within 15 minutes of an open space or recreational area funded Program Open Space.


   June 23, 2010

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