Governor Ehrlich Announces BPW Approval Of Rural Legacy Easements In Western Maryland
ANNAPOLIS — Governor Robert L. Ehrlich today announced Board of Public Works approval for $211,680 in Rural Legacy Program funds to preserve 108 acres near historic Antietam Battlefield in the Mid-Maryland Washington Rural Legacy Area in Washington County and $79,353 in Rural Legacy Program funds to preserve nearly 160 acres in the Bear Creek watershed located in the northern part of Garrett County.
“Today’s acquisitions ensure that generations of Marylanders can continue visit some our state’s most treasured historical sites and appreciate our rich agricultural heritage,” Governor Ehrlich said.
The Washington County easement will help protect the Antietam Battlefield and other historically significant areas such as Fox’s Gap, Turner’s Gap and the C&O Canal, as well as preserving the viewshed of the Washington Monument in the District of Columbia. While this area is culturally and historically important, it is also an important environmental and agricultural area containing over 6,000 acres of prime agricultural lands now available to the strong agricultural industry in Washington County.
The Garrett County easement will protect active farmland, forest resources and wildlife habitat in Garrett County. Water quality will be improved through riparian buffers along Bear Creek that runs the length of the property. Also, the easement will help the preservation of the scenic viewsheds in the area. A portion of the easement is an active beef operation. The easement is comprised of 52 wooded acres, 146 agricultural acres, 13 flood plain acres, 2 non-tidal wetland acres and 2,856 linear feet of stream buffers.
The Rural Legacy Program encourages State and local governments to work in conjunction with private landowners and trusts to strategically preserve large, contiguous blocks of land across Maryland. Properties targeted for protection include endangered species habitat, agricultural lands, forests, stream buffers, and historic villages and battlefields.
The three-member Board of Public Works is comprised of Governor Ehrlich, Comptroller William Donald Schaefer, and Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp. The Board of Public Works meets semi-monthly and exercises the powers and duties prescribed in the Constitution or delegated to it by the General Assembly. The Board must approve expenditures of all sums appropriated through State loans authorized by the General Assembly. The Board also approves the expenditures of all General Funds and other funds appropriated for capital improvements, except those allotted for State roads, bridges, and highways.
Posted April 8, 2004