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Governor Ehrlich, Conservation Fund Partner to Protect
620-acre Environmentally Sensitive land on Eastern Shore
ORIOLE -- Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr., today announced the donation from The Conservation Fund of a 620-acre conservation easement on an environmentally sensitive piece of property in Somerset County.
A conservation easement is an agreement between the property owner and a land conservation organization (public or private) to place conditions on the future development land. This particular conservation easement extinguishes development rights for 24 potential residential dwellings. The estimated value of the easement is $450,000. One residential structure will be constructed. The easement was settled yesterday.
“The Ehrlich Administration is deeply committed to preserving land that can improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay,” said Governor Ehrlich. “Since I assumed office, we have joined with our partners to preserve 33,000 acres of environmentally-sensitive land. We are truly fortunate to be able to protect this property and the wildlife that depends on it.”
The property contains 28 acres of grassland, 507 acres of forests and 86 acres of wetlands and ranked “Excellent” in Maryland’s Green Infrastructure Analysis, a quantitative analysis used to determine the ecological value of properties targeted for conservation. Under a policy directive issued by Governor Ehrlich in 2003, this green infrastructure criteria is used to evaluate the State’s land preservation purchases and prioritize them for purchase based on a property’s ecological ranking or rating. Governor Ehrlich has committed to protecting the most strategic lands to protect the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries as well as the properties with the most significant natural and agricultural resources.
To improve the property further, the owner will be planting over 200 acres of trees in the buffer along the water, which will remove additional nitrogen and phosphorus pollution from entering the watershed at the rate of 299 lbs annually and 48 lbs a year annually, respectively. Without this easement and if the property were develop to its maximum allowable density, an extra 1,717 lbs a year of nitrogen and 116 lbs a year of phosphorus would enter the watershed. The new forested area will join the existing permanently forested buffers along approximately 1.3 miles of St. Peter’s Creek and the Manokin River.
“Thanks to the support of the North American Wetlands Conservation Council, The Conservation Fund is pleased to donate this easement to the State of Maryland - forever protecting the property's open space and wildlife habitat from inappropriate development,” said Larry Selzer, president of The Conservation Fund. “As our communities grow, we must remember to set aside the sensitive lands and waters that are so important to our quality of life, our outdoor heritage, our beloved Chesapeake Bay.”
For more info about land conservation in Maryland, visit the DNR website at http://www.dnr.state.md.us/landconservation.html
May 16, 2005
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 446,000 acres of public lands and 18,000 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. Learn more at www.dnr.maryland.gov