News from the DNR Office of Communications

BPW Approves Conservation Reserve Enhancement Easements On 127 Acres In Frederick And Washington Counties

Annapolis, Md. (October 20, 2010) — Governor Martin O’Malley today announced Board of Public Works (BPW) approval of CREP easements on 127 acres of streamside forests, natural areas and wetlands, including 50 acres in Frederick County and 77 acres in Washington County.

“By making conservation practices permanent, these Maryland landowners are demonstrating their commitment to providing our future generations with safe, clean drinking water, pollution control and long-term wildlife conservation,” said Governor O’Malley. “Working together, in partnership with the federal government, CREP is helping us create a smarter, greener more sustainable future for our children and theirs.”

Maryland’s CREP easement program is administered by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and funded through Program Open Space. In 2009, the State of Maryland entered into a continuation of an agreement with the U. S. Department of Agriculture and the Commodity Credit Corporation to provide funds to landowners who make permanent the conservation practices established through 10- or 15-year CREP contracts.

CREP provides for the establishment of stream buffers, the planting of grass, shrubs and trees, and the retirement of highly erodible land. In addition to providing important habitat for wildlife, all of these practices work to improve water quality in the Chesapeake Bay watershed by reducing soil runoff, increasing groundwater absorption, and reducing stream sedimentation and nutrient input into Maryland’s waterways.

The State is on track to process easements on approximately 1400 acres of additional land by the end of the year.

Frederick County – The BPW approved two CREP easements in Frederick County totaling 50 acres. These easements, located on property owned by the Pickert family, will permanently protect water quality through streamside buffers along 5,122 feet of Beaver Branch Creek, a tributary of Owens Creek, which is a source of public water. The CREP easements will be co-held by Frederick County and DNR.

“The Pickerts have utilized wise land use practices in this rural part of Frederick County by farming those areas suitable for corn and small grain, contributing to the agricultural economy while at the same time protecting the sensitive areas and riparian buffers,” said Tim Blaser, Frederick County’s Land Preservation Program Administrator. “The Pickerts are delighted to be able to now permanently protect these areas through the CREP easement program.”

Washington County – Two CREP easements in Washington County totaling 77 acres were also approved. The Heimer and Schooley CREP easements will permanently protect water quality through streamside buffers along 2,545 feet of Antietam Creek, a highly valued Class 4 trout stream that feeds into the Potomac River. The Heimer property was utilized by the Confederate Army during their retreat from Gettysburg during the American Civil War. Both of the CREP easements will be co-held by Washington County and DNR.

According to Eric Seifarth, Washington County’s Rural Preservation Administrator, the CREP easements on these two properties will be supplemented with Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Program easements on the remaining farm acreage.

“Preservation of these properties will ensure protection of natural resources while also preserving historical aspects,” said Seifarth. “The Schooley farmhouse, which is on the remainder of the property, contains a 1762 date stone, the earliest date stone in Washington County, and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. From this property Daniel Hughes supervised the building of cannons for the American Revolution and the War of 1812.”

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 consultation contracts, equipment purchases, property transactions and other procurement transactions.

   October 20, 2010

Contact: Josh Davidsburg
410-260-8002 office I 410-507-7526 cell

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