News from the DNR Office of Communications

BPW Approves Preservation Of 232 Rural Legacy Acres In Somerset County

Annapolis, Md. (July 7, 2010) – Governor Martin O’Malley today announced Board of Public Works (BPW) approval for acquisition of two conservation easements totaling 232 acres in the Dividing Creek Rural Legacy Area in Somerset County.

"By preserving our working farms and forests, we are not only protecting jobs for Marylanders and supporting local economies, we are also preserving the heritage that helped define our great State," said Governor O'Malley. "Of course, our farmers also provide fresh, healthy food sources for our families, and this time of year is a great time to remind everyone to buy local."

One of the easements, known as the McIntyre Farm, will permanently protect 150 acres of significant agricultural and forest lands while extinguishing 35 development rights. The easement includes 20 acres of wetlands, 64 acres of woodlands, and 3,600 feet of riparian buffers located along Dividing Creek.

The second easement, known as the Brummitt Farm, consists of 82 acres and will extinguish 19 development rights. The easement will also protect significant agricultural and forest land while improving water quality through the permanent protection of 1,300 feet of riparian buffers. The Brummitt Farm also features 10 acres of wetlands and 35 acres of woodlands.

The protection of these properties links up with 700 acres of other properties that are already protected in this area, and expands protected land in the Dividing Creek Watershed. These easements will permanently protect land which provides important habitat for a variety of plants and wildlife including Forest Interior Dwelling Species, migratory song birds, and raptors.

These two easements are the result of cooperative efforts with longstanding partners in efforts to conserve property. The easements will be held by The Lower Shore Land Trust, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources through their Rural Legacy Program, and the United States Department of Agriculture through their Farm and Ranchland Protection Program.

“This is the first project in the Dividing Creek Rural Legacy Area where we’ve been able leverage state funds using the federal Farm and Ranchland Protection Program,” said Liz Zucker, Eastern Shore Project Director for The Nature Conservancy. “It has been a pleasure to work with a landowner so committed to keeping Somerset County’s agricultural and forestry economies viable by preserving the prime soils and forests of his farm.”

“The Lower Shore Land Trust is pleased to partner with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, The Nature Conservancy and Somerset and Worcestor counties in the Dividing Creek Rural Legacy Area,” said Kate Patten, Executive Director of the Lower Shore Land Trust. “These projects showcase our goasl for protecting viable farmland and important natural resources, a win-win for local economies and the environment.”

The Dividing Creek Rural Legacy Area, totaling 23,000 acres, supports resource-based economies in Somerset and Worcester Counties and includes Farmland Protection Focus Areas as designated in the counties’ recent Land Preservation, Parks and Recreation Plans.

The large complex of existing forest of this Rural Legacy Area is part of a hub of the State’s Green Infrastructure, including and connecting with the 15,000-acre Pocomoke State Forest and Pocomoke River State Park – an important base for the forestry industry and for recreational tourism. The Dividing Creek Rural Legacy Area is also part of The Nature Conservancy’s Dividing Creek-Nassawango Matrix Forest Block which is 122,000 acres of forest cover considered a “Last Great Place” by The Nature Conservancy.

Maryland’s Rural Legacy Program provides funding to preserve large tracts of land, natural resources, agricultural, forestry and environmental protection while sustaining land for natural resource-based industries. Enacted by the General Assembly in 1997, Maryland’s Rural Legacy Program has to date provided over $200 million to protect 67,036 acres of valuable farmland, forests, and natural areas. The 11-member Rural Legacy Advisory Committee and the Rural Legacy Board, which is comprised of Maryland’s Agriculture, Natural Resources and Planning Secretaries, reviews grant applications annually. For additional information, visit http://www.dnr.maryland.gov/land/rurallegacy/.

The three-member Board of Public Works is composed 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 consultation contracts, equipment purchases, property transactions and other procurement transactions.


   July 7, 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 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 www.dnr.maryland.gov