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Rural Legacy Program Preserves 1,209 Acres

Easements in Baltimore, Dorchester, St. Mary’s and Worcester Counties

Annapolis, Md. (April 4, 2012) - The State of Maryland has added 1,209 acres to its permanently protected rural landscape, eliminating 100 development rights in four counties. Governor Martin O’Malley and the Board of Public Works today approved funding to preserve the land, located in Baltimore, Dorchester, St. Mary’s and Worcester Counties, through nine Rural Legacy easements.

“Protecting forest and farmland not only preserves Maryland’s heritage and working landscapes for future generations, but also provides our waterways with important stormwater runoff protection,” said Governor Martin O’Malley.

In St. Mary’s County, preservation of the 75-acre Kessler, the 73-acre Lancaster and the 46-acre Dement Properties will permanently protect 194 acres of valuable forestland, extinguishing 33 development lots and improving water quality in the Patuxent River watershed. The easements will be held by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the U.S. Navy and the Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust. The Mattapany Rural Legacy Areas total 13,660 acres, of which 2,458 are currently protected.

“Not only do these easements help the county reach its land preservation goals, they also help protect the Naval Air Station Patuxent River, the county's largest employer, from encroachment,” said President, St. Mary's County Commissioner, Jack Russell.

Also in St. Mary’s County, preservation of the 81-acre Burroughs Property will permanently protect forestland and productive agricultural farmland while extinguishing 15 development lots. The preserved property will protect the water quality along nearly 7,300 feet of streams that flow into the Patuxent River. The easement will be held by DNR and the Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust. The Huntersville Rural Legacy Area totals 8,343 acre, of which 3,421 are currently protected.

In Dorchester County, preservation of the 179-acre Covey Property will permanently protect valuable forest and farmland, extinguishing 18 development lots. The easement will be held by DNR and the U.S. Navy. The Nanticoke Rural Legacy Area totals 21,300 acres, of which 12,233 are currently protected.

“The Covey easement will increase the total preserved lands in the Nanticoke Rural Legacy Area to over 5,000 acres,” said Bill Crouch, Maryland director at the Conservation Fund. “This large block of protected lands will help sustain an open landscape with a resource-based agricultural economy.”

In Worcester County, preservation of the 419-acre Bayside Farms Property will extinguish 10 development lots and enhance water quality along 1,800 feet of Tanhouse Creek, located within the Chincoteague Bay watershed. This easement will be held by the County Commissioners of Worcester County and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Coastal Bays Rural Legacy Area totals 26,110 acres, of which 14,508 are currently protected.

“Thanks to a combination of federal and State funds, Worcester County is able to permanently protect this waterfront farm from development,” said President of County Commissioners of Worcester County, James “Bud” Church. “Its preservation builds on over a decade of land protection in the Coastal Bays Rural Legacy Area, and helps ensure that the rural character of the Chincoteague Bay watershed will be preserved for the generations to come.”

Also in Worcester County, preservation of the 231-acre Glad Mar Dairy Land Company Property will help improve water quality in the Pocomoke River and permanently extinguish12 development lots. This easement will be held by the County Commissioners of Worcester County, the Lower Shore Land Trust and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Dividing Creek Rural Legacy Area totals 23,000 acres, of which 4,529 are currently protected.

“Worcester County is pleased to join Somerset County and other partners to protect key properties in the Lower Dividing Creek watershed, an area rich with unique natural resources and prime farmland,” said Church. “This entire farm will be forever protected thanks to matching State and federal funds.”

In Baltimore County, preservation of the 53-acre McDonough Property will add to several thousand acres of permanently preserved farmland along Carroll Road in Baltimore County and extinguishing one development lot. This easement protects a panoramic view along Carroll Road, the land of Carroll Branch, and water quality along 3,700 feet of Carroll Branch and its tributaries, which flow into Gunpowder Falls and the Loch Raven Reservoir. This easement will be held by the Manor Conservancy, Inc. and DNR. The Manor Rural Legacy Area totals 28,434 acres, of which 14,814 are currently protected.

“The property is owned by J. Martin McDonough, a Carroll descendant,” said Jim Constable of the Manor Conservancy. “Maryland’s Carroll family obtained much of the area as part of a Clynmalira, a 19th Century grant. Additionally, the owner’s brother granted an easement on an adjacent piece of the Clynmalira Grant earlier this year.”

In Dorchester County, preservation of the 99-acre Turner Property will connect two large blocks of already preserved land in the Dorchester County section of the Marshyhope Rural Legacy Focus Area. The preservation of this farm will permanently extinguish 11 development lots and protect an extensive network of working lands and wildlife habitat. This easement will be held by the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy and DNR. The Agricultural Security Corridor Rural Legacy Area – Marshyhope Focus Area totals 45,781 acres, of which 21,919 are currently protected.

“A continuous band of preserved land now will stretch from the state-owned Chesapeake Forest Lands along Marshyhope Creek to the Caroline County border,” said Jared Parks of the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy. “We are grateful to the Turners for their continuing commitment to agricultural and Open-Space preservation.”

Maryland’s Rural Legacy Program provides funding to preserve large tracts of forestry and agricultural land and natural resources, and for 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 $205 million to protect 67,354 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 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 consultation contracts, equipment purchases, property transactions and other procurement transactions.


   April 4, 2012

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

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages nearly one-half million 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 11 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. 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