News from the DNR Office of Communications

Governor O'Malley Announces BPW Approval Of Preservation Of 438 Acres Through Rural Legacy Program

Easements in Baltimore, Cecil and Dorchester Counties

Annapolis, Md. (November 17, 2010) — Governor Martin O’Malley today announced Board of Public Works (BPW) approval to preserve 438 acres of Maryland landscape, including 80 acres in the Gunpowder Valley Rural Legacy Area, 150 acres in the Fair Hill Rural Legacy Area and 208 acres in the Nanticoke River Rural Legacy Area through the Rural Legacy Program.

“Preserving land in the Gunpowder Valley and Fair Hill Rural Legacy Areas is important to the future of our State,” said Governor O’Malley. “These properties will permanently protect our working farms and areas vital to water quality and safeguard habitat for significant living resources.”

Gunpowder Valley Rural Legacy Area (Baltimore County) – The Benfield property will permanently protect 80 acres of agricultural and forest land, and will extinguish three development lots. Preservation of this property will permanently protect important plant and wildlife habitat and help improve water quality. This property lies within a designated Baltimore County Agricultural Priority Preservation Area, and 32 acres of forest on this property will be managed using a Forest Stewardship Plan. The easement will be held by the Gunpowder Valley Conservancy and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

“The Benfield property is critical to the Gunpowder Rural Legacy Area. The property includes more than 4,000 feet of streams that drain into Gunpowder Falls that will be protected with forested buffers,” said Ann Jones of the Gunpowder Valley Conservancy. “It is integral to the context of the Torrey Brown NCR trail, providing scenic vistas as part of the forested hillside of the Gunpowder Falls.”

The Gunpowder Valley Rural Legacy Area totals 13,432 acres, of which approximately 4,800 acres are currently protected.

Fair Hill Rural Legacy Area (Cecil County) – Preservation of the 150-acre Willis property will extinguish 12 development lots while preserving important agricultural and forest land located within Cecil County’s Rural Conservation District and will provide permanent protection to valuable bog turtle habitat. It will be held by the Cecil Land Trust and DNR.

“The Willis easement includes a grass and wooded buffer along 3,500 feet of the Little North East Creek, the source of drinking water for the town of North East,” said William Kilby of the Cecil Land Trust.

The Fair Hill Rural Legacy Area consists of a total of 16,045 acres, of which about 49 percent is currently protected.

Nanticoke River Rural Legacy Area (Dorchester County) – Preservation of the 208 acre Reid Farm will extinguish 13 development lots while protecting valuable farm and forest land, and water quality through the establishment and maintenance of 1.5 miles of streamside buffers. This property is part of a large block of farmland, forest, and other natural resources that are already permanently protected under Rural Legacy and other conservation programs. This conservation easement is being purchased in cooperation with the U.S. Department of the Navy through their Encroachment Protection Agreement. It will be held by The Nature Conservancy and DNR.

“Having the Navy join our team is a tremendous boost to conservation, and we are thrilled that protecting the Nanticoke River’s natural treasures can be complementary to our national security interests,” said Liz Zucker, The Nature Conservancy in Maryland’s Eastern Shore Project Director. “The Nanticoke River is home to some of Maryland’s best remaining stretches of river, parts of which would be familiar to another Navy explorer, Captain John Smith of Jamestown, who sailed the river 400 years ago.”

The Nanticoke River Rural Legacy Area totals 21,250 acres of farm and forest land, of which 11,991 acres are currently protected.

Maryland’s Rural Legacy Program provides funding to preserve large tracts of forestry and agricultural land and natural resources, and for 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 $207 million to protect 68,502 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.


   November 17, 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