News from the DNR Office of Communications

BPW Approves Preservation Of 272 Acres Through Maryland's Rural Legacy Program In Dorchester And Baltimore Counties

Annapolis, Md. (June 23, 2010) – Governor Martin O’Malley today announced Board of Public Works (BPW) approval for acquisition of a 190-acre conservation easement in Dorchester County as well as an 82-acre easement located in the Piney Run Rural Legacy Area of Baltimore County.

“Preserving Maryland’s natural areas goes hand in hand with ensuring a sustainable future for our State,” said Governor O’Malley. “By protecting our working farms and forests, we are also protecting jobs for Maryland families.”

The easement in Baltimore County will help improve water quality and protect valuable forest and farm land. Agriculture and forestry practices on the property will support sustainable-resource-based industries in Dorchester County, habitat for Delmarva fox squirrels as well as breeding and stopover habitat for migratory songbirds and raptors. A total of sixteen development rights will be extinguished.

This tract is part of an extensive network of permanently protected farmland, forest and other natural resources conserved through the Rural Legacy Program as well as other State and Federal programs.

The site has a buffer system of tidal wetlands and forest along approximately 1,200 feet of the Nanticoke River that absorb pollution running into the Nanticoke River and the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

The United States Navy provided matching funding for the acquisition through the Readiness and Environmental Protection Initiative, a multi-level effort designed to ensure the future use of military training land by addressing issues of potential encroachment on military training areas.

“Having the Navy join our team is a tremendous boost to conservation, and we are thrilled to be able to show that protecting the Nanticoke River’s natural treasures can be complementary to our national security interests,” said Liz Zucker, Eastern Shore Project Director for The Nature Conservancy in Maryland. “The Nanticoke River is home to some of Maryland’s best remaining natural stretches of river, parts of which would be familiar to Captain John Smith of Jamestown, who sailed the river 400 years ago.”

In the Piney Run Rural Legacy Area, permanent streamside buffers will help filter polluted runoff into Prettyboy Reservoir, which provides drinking water supply for Baltimore City.

The Land Preservation Trust, Inc. (LPT) sponsored the Piney Run Rural Legacy Area and is a longstanding partner in the State’s efforts to conserve property. LPT has worked with the Fleischmanns, the family who owns the farm, to protect their family-owned farming operation for some time.

“Sally and Mark Fleischmann and their five children make their home on the family’s 82-acre farm in Hampstead. The entire family is involved in their nursery, greenhouse and Christmas tree business,” said Ann Jones, an administrator at LPT. “Situated on the corner of Falls and Gunpowder Road, protection of the farm is critical to protecting the viewshed along the Falls Road Scenic Byway and providing an important buffer to the Prettyboy Reservoir and Gunpowder Park area.”

This property lies adjacent to a block of more than 13,000 acres conserved by the Rural Legacy Program, Maryland Environmental Trust and Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation easements, before joining with Gunpowder Falls State Park. The easement will provide permanent protection along 3,150 feet of road frontage along Falls Road Scenic Byway.

Maryland’s Rural Legacy Program provides funding to preserve large tracts of land, natural resources, agricultural, forestry and environmental protection while sustaining land for natural resource based industries. Enacted by the General Assembly in 1997, Maryland’s Rural Legacy Program has to date provided over $204,548,692 to protect 66,804 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 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.


   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