News from the DNR Office of Communications

BPW Approves Preservation Of Forests And Wetlands Along Pocomoke River
And Purchase To Improve Access To The Youghiogheny

ANNAPOLIS, MD (January 6, 2010) — Governor Martin O’Malley today announced the Board of Public Works (BPW) approval of the acquisition of 290 acres through Program Open Space (POS). The property, which contains forested wetlands, wooded uplands and shoreline, is located on a tributary to Nassawango Creek directly adjacent to Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) lands. It is part of the Pocomoke River North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) Partnership project and contains 53 acres of forested wetlands and 237 acres of upland forest located along the Pocomoke River in Worcester County.

“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.”

The forested bottomlands of the Pocomoke River Watershed support numerous local and national rare species, including the Swainson’s Warbler, Delmarva Fox-Squirrel and the American Bald Eagle. This property serves as important stopover and nesting habitat for migrating waterbirds and shorebirds, including woodcock and waterfowl such as the Wood Duck and American Black Duck. This parcel lies within the designated Pocomoke River Focus Area and the Target Ecological Area and has received a high ecological ranking of 112 under the new Program Open Space Targeting System.

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.
State and Federal partners, with the help of The Nature Conservancy, have secured funds to protect and restore eight properties on the Pocomoke River. The total cost to protect all eight properties is $4.6 million, including $1.4 million of Federal grants from the North American Wetlands Conservation Act and $750,000 in private funds from The Nature Conservancy. This $899,000 acquisition, funded solely with POS funds, is part of the State’s match to leverage other federal funding in accordance with the Federal Grant.

"This has been a great partnership between The Nature Conservancy, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the State of Maryland in reaching a mutual goal to protect this property as part of the Pocomoke State Forest system as well as restore wetland and upland habitat for several rare species," said Liz Zucker, conservation director of the Eastern Shore for The Nature Conservancy of Maryland/DC.

The BPW also approved the acquisition of 10.2 acres of upland forest that will provide better access to the Youghiogheny Scenic and Wild River Corridor in Garret County. This acquisition is made possible through Program Open Space funding. The property was purchased for $117,614.

Since 2007, Governor O'Malley and the BPW preserved more than 26,015 acres of natural areas for public recreation, watershed and wildlife protection across Maryland. Since 1969, Program Open Space has provided funding for acquisition of 346,743 acres for open space and recreational areas. Most Maryland residents live within 15 minutes of an open space or recreational area funded by 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.


   January 6, 2010

Contact: Josh Davidsburg
410-260-8002 office I 410-507-7526 cell
jdavidsburg@dnr.state.md.us

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2009, is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 467,000 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 www.dnr.maryland.gov