Header Art - Land Acquisition and Planning

Stewardship

Nanjemoy NRMA
(Natural Resource Management Area)

Current Status

On September 28, 2005, the State of Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the U.S. Department of the Interior-Bureau of Land Management—Eastern States (BLM) approved a long-term land management plan for the Nanjemoy Natural Resources Management Area (NRMA) that provides essential guidance for the sustainable protection and use of approximately 1,900 acres of public lands in Charles County, Maryland.

During the next few months, DNR’s Public Lands Policy and Planning Unit will facilitate the transfer of management responsibility to the newly appointed Nanjemoy NRMA Management Team, an interdisciplinary group comprised of representatives from several DNR sub agencies (Wildlife & Heritage Service, Park Service, Forest Service, Fisheries Service, Natural Resource Police, Land & Property Management, and Engineering & Construction) and a site management representative from BLM and Charles County Parks and Recreation Department.

During this transfer of management responsibility, the new Management Team will prepare the 2006 Annual Work Plan (AWP). Working within the framework established by the Land Unit Implementation Plan and the Coordinated Management Plan (CMP), the AWP will guide the Management Team in their decision making regarding what projects to implement during the next fiscal year.

Background

In 2000, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the Bureau of Land Management—Eastern States (BLM), Charles County, and The Conservation Fund signed a cooperative agreement to:

  1. Research public land acquisition possibilities from willing sellers in southeastern Charles County
  2. Conduct long range planning
  3. Involve the community
  4. Provide ongoing stewardship.
     

As a result of this cooperative agreement, DNR and BLM conducted a scoping process to identify any significant issues that might arise from opening new lands up for public use. The scoping process included both gathering information from stakeholder agencies and public input from a series of workshops. Acting on the recommendations from the scoping process, DNR and BLM jointly acquired approximately 1,263 acres of land known as Douglas Point (including the Ben Doane tracts). Individually, BLM also acquired 24 acres at Maryland Point (the former Naval Observatory), and DNR acquired the 509-acre Wilson Farm tract. DNR already owned the 149-acre Purse State Park in the same area. The total acreage of jointly owned public land along the Potomac River equaled 1,945 acres.

These properties are all located in southwestern Charles County and represent some of the last remaining undeveloped lands in the fast-growing Southern Maryland area. The BLM and DNR partnership serves to protect the study area’s varied natural and cultural (i.e. historical, prehistorical, and archeological) resources, and open them up for public use. Both DNR and BLM agreed to develop and implement a management plan that called for a single, seamlessly operated public land unit. Interim Management was assigned to DNR’s Wildlife & Heritage Service until a long-term management plan was completed.

From 2002 to 2004, BLM led the first step of the joint DNR/BLM planning process in creating a long-term management plan. The process also addressed the requirements mandated by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, and resulted in the creation of what became known as the Lower Potomac River Coordinated Management Plan (CMP). The CMP included an assessment of the natural and cultural resources and resulted in a comprehensive, but general guidance document that specified what types of activities and infrastructure (at the concept level) would be allowed on each of the properties. During these two years, DNR and BLM coordinated the plan with several government agencies, including Charles County, who expressed interest in operating a waterfront park on the riverfront portion of Wilson Farm. There were also several public meetings and public comments were solicited prior to releasing the final version of the CMP. In September of 2004, BLM approved the CMP by signing the Decision Record (i.e. BLM’s official administrative decision), affirming that these documents will guide all future management decisions. MDNR also agreed to use the CMP and the Decision Record as general, but comprehensive guidance documents.

During the remainder of 2004 and into 2005, DNR took the lead in the next step of the joint DNR/BLM planning process in the creation of a long-term management plan. Early on, BLM made the decision to remove the Maryland Point tract from this planning process, as the amount of hazardous materials on site would slow down the rest of the planning process. BLM determined that the future of Maryland Point would be decided in a separate public planning process, possibly requesting the public to submit proposals for the property based on a few possible themes (e.g. a proposal involving education, etc.)

Planning for the remainder of the properties would work within the framework established by the CMP and Decision Record, but would be expanded to guide the site-specific actual on-the-ground decision making for the next 10 to 15 years. One of those established guidelines included placing activities and infrastructure in already impacted areas. This was accomplished by overlaying the sensitive areas (archeological sites, rare, threatened, and endangered, species, wetlands, poor soils, steep slopes) on top of the existing conditions Geographic Information Systems (GIS) map.

This process led to the development of concept maps that were presented at two public meetings, including a day-long tour of the property. A draft version of the plan was released for public comment in August 2005. The plan combined all the properties into a single, regional land unit called the Nanjemoy Natural Resource Management Area (NRMA), with a total acreage of 1,921 acres. Individual properties are identified by Area Names. Management of the property, although seamless to the public, will be managed by three separate levels of government. DNR will manage 1,188 acres, BLM will manage 548 acres, and Charles County will manage 185 acres under a long-term lease. (See Figure 1 below)

Figure 1. Area name, Managing Agency, and Acreage.

 

After public comments were incorporated, DNR and BLM released the final Nanjemoy NRMA Land Unit Implementation Plan in October 2005.

Maps

Site Plan (2 MB)

Mallows Bay Area - Inset Map (3 MB)

Guidance Documents

Annual Work Plan – 2006 (In progress)

Land Unit Implementation Plan (10 MB)

Decision Record (329 KB)

Coordinated Management Plan (3 MB)

Chiles Homesite Interpretative Plan (In progress)

Publications

The Ghost Fleet of Mallows Bay-Don Shomette

Links

Bureau of Land Management (BLM)

 

To get the free Acrobat go to Adobe.com

For Further Information

Bureau of Land Management (BLM):

Jeff McCusker at (703) 339-3463, or at jeff_mccusker@es.blm.gov

MD DNR:

John F. Wilson at (410) 260-8412, or at
jfwilson@dnr.state.md.us
 

Charles County:

Tom Roland at (301) 932-3470, or at RolandT@govt.co.charles.md.us