News from the DNR Office of Communications

BPW Approves Preservation Of Wetlands Along Pocomoke River

Annapolis, Md. – Governor Martin O’Malley today announced the Board of Public Works (BPW) approval of the acquisition of 313.75 acres containing forested wetlands, wooded uplands and farmlands and thousands of feet of shoreline, located along the Pocomoke River in Worcester County. This acquisition is made possible through Program Open Space funding and the U.S Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).

“This project is an excellent example of how we can identify and preserve areas in Maryland that will benefit water quality and wildlife,” said Governor O’Malley. “This land will be forever protected as a significant component of the Pocomoke River Watershed.”

Today, the BPW approved the acquisition of a 313.75 acre conservation easement of a property known as DAMZ Haven along the Pocomoke River. The property has over 4200 feet of Pocomoke River shoreline, 4,800 feet along Coonsfoot Branch and over 2,400 feet along Five Mile Branch. The property contains approximately 125 acres of wooded uplands and farmlands that if left unprotected could be developed, and 189 acres of forested wetlands along the Pocomoke River. The property is located south of the State-owned Pocomoke River Heritage Conservation Fund Area and has received an ecological ranking of 97 under the Program Open Space Targeting System.

The upland coastal plain forest is home to a population of the federally endangered Delmarva Fox Squirrel. The property also harbors high quality bald cypress swamp and is designated as forest interior dwelling (FID) habitat for migratory songbirds and raptors. The acquisition will also permanently protect important aquatic habitat, as these areas are the spawning waters for anadromous fish, and contain beds of submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV).

The property will be conserved through a special $160,123 Program Open Space Acquisition Opportunity Loan of 2009 as provided in Chapter 419 of the Laws of Maryland 2009, $20,800 from FY 2010 stateside Program Open Space funding and from funding from the USFWS. The State of Maryland and the Nature Conservancy (TNC), working in partnership with USFWS Chesapeake Bay Field Office, has secured two Federal North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) grants in the total amount of $1,448,727 to protect and restore eight properties on the Pocomoke River, including this acquisition. USFWS will provide matching funds in the amount of $467,377 at settlement in accordance with the NAWCA Grant. The Pocomoke River originates in Delaware and flows south through Wicomico, Worchester and Somerset Counties in Maryland prior to discharging into the Chesapeake Bay in the Tangier Sound. Since 2007, Governor O'Malley and the BPW preserved more than 23,926 acres of natural areas for public recreation and watershed and wildlife protection across Maryland. Since 1969, Program Open Space has provided funding for acquisition of 344,969 acres for open space and recreation areas. Most Maryland residents live within 15 minutes of an open space or recreational area funded Program Open Space.

The three-member Board of Public Works is comprised of Governor O’Malley (chair), Treasurer Nancy Kopp and Comptroller Peter Franchot. The BPW is authorized by the General Assembly to approve major construction and consultant contracts, equipment purchases, property transactions and other procurement actions.

   August 5, 2009

Contact: Josh Davidsburg
410-260-8002 office I 410-507-7526 cell

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 461,000 acres of public lands and 17,000 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 12 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