News from the DNR Office of Communications

BPW Approves Preservation Of More Than 1,400 Acres Through Program Open Space

Projects in Baltimore, Cecil, Charles and Worcester Counties

Annapolis, Md. (September 22, 2010) —  Governor Martin O’Malley today announced Board of Public Works (BPW) approval to preserve 1,417 acres of Maryland landscape, including 14 acres in Baltimore County, 582 acres in Cecil County, 773 acres in Charles County and 48 acres in Worcester County through Program Open Space.

“Preservation of these properties demonstrates how conserving our natural resources can go hand-in-hand with providing accessible spaces for outdoor recreation for Maryland families,” said Governor O’Malley. “By planning for the future and protecting our most important ecological areas, we may also enjoy the benefits of a healthier, more abundant natural world today.”

Baltimore County — The BPW approved preservation of the 14-acre Granat/Funk property in Baltimore County, which lies adjacent to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Soldiers Delight Natural Environment Area (NEA). The Granat/Funk property is mostly wooded and provides an excellent opportunity to protect and buffer Soldiers Delight NEA. This unique area is part of the largest serpentine barrens in Maryland, which comprise over 39 rare, threatened or endangered plant species as well as rare insects, rocks and minerals.

This property is located within the Target Ecological Area. Acquisition of the Granat/Funk property provides tremendous opportunity to buffer parcels that are being restored by DNR to provide nature protection, pollution control, wildlife conservation, and to maintain habitat for critically important endangered species.

Cecil County — The 582-acre Camp Conowingo property of the Girl Scouts of Central Maryland was also approved for preservation. The extensive bluffs along the Susquehanna River provide water quality and nature protection, as well as scenic amenities for fishermen, canoeists, tubers and other water lovers. The property overlaps and buffers a large area of unique and protected Pilot Serpentine Barren, one of only four remaining examples of this federally-endangered natural community in Maryland.

Although this parcel was owned by the Girl Scouts, it had not been permanently protected. Purchase of a conservation easement on this parcel through Program Open Space will provide permanent protection for future generations. Due to tough economic times, Girl Scouts camps throughout the country are being threatened. The Camp’s proximity to Rt. 95 makes it increasingly attractive to builders and developers as it lies directly in the pathway of Cecil County’s growth corridor. Purchase of the conservation easement on Camp Conowingo will provide significant environmental benefits while helping to protect the camp and the area in perpetuity.

This property is located within the Target Ecological Area and contains approximately 530 acres of forest and over 12,000 feet of interior streams. Eight species of fauna that are listed as rare, threatened or endangered are known to inhabit the property.

Charles County — The Pomfrett property, which encompasses 773 acres in Charles County, was also approved for preservation and will be included as part of DNR’s Myrtle Grove Wildlife Management Area. A portion of Mattawoman Creek, a very ecologically-important tributary to the Potomac River, borders the Pomfrett property and a small tributary runs through the property. The acquisition of the Pomfrett property will protect land, wetland, and stream channel that will further efforts to maintain ecological integrity, wildlife conservation, and protect the water quality of Mattawoman Creek, the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay for future generations.

This acquisition will safeguard wildlife habitat, provide opportunities for restoration and nature protection, and provide access to the water and new opportunities for primitive camping, environmental education and active recreation for children and families.

Worcester County — Protection was also approved for The Nest property, which encompasses 48 acres located in Maryland’s Coastal Bays Watershed. DNR is working in partnership with the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to secure a National Coastal Wetlands grant, which will be used as matching money in acquiring The Nest property. Once acquired, the easement on The Nest property will be monitored by DNR in cooperation with the USFWS.

This property is located within the Target Ecological Area. The acquisition of The Nest property is part of the Coastal Bays’ land protection and restoration project, and includes frontage along Chincoteague Bay in Worcester County. This area contains complex ecosystems that provide valuable habitat for a wide range of fish and wildlife for wildlife conservation and nature protection.

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 consultant contracts, equipment purchases, property transactions and other procurement actions.

Since 2007, Governor O’Malley and the BPW preserved more than 30,629 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 351,355 acres for open space and recreation areas. Most Maryland residents live within 15 minutes of an open space or recreational area funded by Program Open Space.


   September 22, 2010

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

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages nearly one-half million 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 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