Governor Ehrlich Announces BPW Approval of
$802,219 in Rural Legacy Funds for Calvert and Charles Counties
Board also designates new rural legacy area in Calvert County
ANNAPOLIS, MD — Continuing his commitment to protecting Maryland’s watersheds, Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. today announced that the Board of Public Works approved a total of $802,219 in Rural Legacy Program funds to acquire conservation easements in Calvert and Charles Counties.
The Board also approved the designation of the new North Calvert Rural Legacy Area, which stretches 8 miles along the Patuxent River.
“Watersheds are supremely important to safeguarding tributary habitats and restoring the health of the Chesapeake,” said Governor Ehrlich. “These conservation easements along the Patuxent River and Zekiah Run are two more deliberate steps towards full protection of all Maryland watersheds. Our many protective efforts will result in a cleaner, clearer, and more productive Chesapeake Bay.”
For Calvert County, the Board approved a grant of $600,000 to acquire easements on 110 acres. The easements encompass farmland, forests, and significant natural areas in two major watersheds of the Patuxent River, a state-designated scenic river, in the Calvert Creeks Rural Legacy Area.
For Charles County, the Board approved a grant of $202,219 to acquire easements on 112 acres. The easements protect farmland, forests, natural areas, and historic properties contiguous to Zekiah Run in the Zekiah Watershed Rural Legacy Area. Zekiah Run has been designated as a wetland of special state concern and is considered by the Smithsonian Institute to be one of the most important ecological areas on the East Coast.
Additionally, the Board designated a new rural legacy area in Calvert County. This North Calvert Rural Legacy Area forms an 8-mile greenbelt along the Patuxent River. Included are most of the prime farmlands near the Patuxent River in northern Calvert County. Riparian buffers here are critical to protecting the sensitive wetlands and tributaries of four watersheds. The area, which includes Lower Marlboro, is also historically significant. Forty percent of this new rural legacy area is already protected, and Calvert County plans to continue its very strong conservation programs. Further efforts will conserve farmland and forest land and provide habitat for resident and migrating species.
The Rural Legacy Program is designed to preserve large blocks of contiguous open space that are among Maryland’s most valuable because of their multiple agricultural, forest, natural, and cultural resources. To protect these resources, the RLP acts through local governments and private land-trust sponsors to purchase conservation easements from willing property owners.
Posted June 11, 2004