Governor Ehrlich Announces BPW Approval of $240,090 for Conservation Easements in
Caroline and Worcester Counties
Rural Legacy and Program Open Space Funds Enable Watershed Protection
ANNAPOLIS, MD — Reaffirming his commitment to protecting rural lands and watersheds on the Eastern Shore, Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. today announced Board of Public Works approval of $240,090 in Rural Legacy and Program Open Space funds to acquire conservation easements in Caroline and Worcester Counties.
“Protected watersheds are essential to the health of our tributaries and the Chesapeake Bay,” said Governor Ehrlich. “Preserving riparian buffers along two and a half miles of tributaries, made possible by today’s approvals, is basic conservation in action.”
The $240,090 grant will fund three projects:
The Rural Legacy Program is designed to preserve large blocks of contiguous open space that are among Maryland’s most valuable lands because of their multiple agricultural, forest, natural, and cultural resources. To protect these resources, the Rural Legacy Program acts through local governments and private land-trust sponsors to purchase conservation easements from willing property owners.
- Worcester County: The Board approved $168,073 in Rural Legacy Program funds to purchase a conservation easement on 170 acres of the Rantz Farm on Snow Hill Road. The acquisition, which adjoins other protected lands, improves water quality by protecting forested buffers along 6000 feet of Spring Hill Branch and provides strategic conservation of significant forest resources and green infrastructure. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Lower Shore Land Trust will jointly hold the easement title.
- Worcester County: The Board approved $24,694 in Program Open Space funds to acquire a perpetual easement through the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program on 29.2 acres of forested buffers along 4880 feet of Pike’s Creek to reduce nutrient and sediment runoff flowing into Chincoteague Bay. DNR and the Lower Shore Land Trust will jointly hold the easement title.
- Caroline County: The Board approved $47,323 in Program Open Space funds to acquire a perpetual easement through the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program on 33.2 acres of forested and vegetative buffers along 1891 feet of Faulkner Branch in the Marshyhope watershed. The acquisition will help to reduce nutrient and sediment pollution in three tributaries and the Chesapeake Bay. DNR and the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy will jointly hold the easement title.
The Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program enables states to unite their land conservation programs with the efforts of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Conservation Reserve Program and private environmental and conservation groups. Together, these groups contribute money and resources to provide farmers and ranchers strong financial incentives to implement conservation practices. These practices include planting trees and grasses along streams to filter runoff, restoring wetlands, and building fences to keep cattle away from waterways. The program prevents tons of silt, manure, and pesticides from seeping into waterways and provides critical habitat for wildlife.
DNR’s Program Open Space is a nationally recognized program that provides funding for Maryland’s state and local parks and conservation areas. More than 4,600 county and municipal park and conservation projects have been completed through the program, improving the quality of life for millions of Marylanders.