News from the DNR Office of Communications

BPW Approves Preservation Of 1,073 Acres Through Rural Legacy Program

Easements in Dorchester, Garrett, Queen Anne’s, Washington and Worcester Counties

Annapolis, Md. (April 20, 2011) — Governor Martin O’Malley today announced Board of Public Works (BPW) approval to preserve over 1,073 acres of Maryland landscape in the Nanticoke River, Bear Creek, Lands End, Mid-Maryland Washington and Dividing Creek Rural Legacy Areas through the Rural Legacy Program.

“Through this program we not only protect our wildlife and fisheries but, by partnering with Maryland’s family farmers, we are able to help keep their great traditions alive while preserving our State’s landscape,” said Governor O’Malley.

Nanticoke River Rural Legacy Area (Dorchester County) — The Reid, Royce and Joyce farm will permanently protect 151 acres of farm and forestland and extinguish 16 development rights. It will preserve critical habitat for Delmarva Fox Squirrels, Forest Interior Dwelling Species, migratory songbirds and raptors. The site has a buffer system of tidal wetlands and forest along approximately one mile of Chicone Creek that protects the water quality of the Nanticoke River and the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

“Thanks to our partnership with the Navy, Department of Natural Resources (DNR), and The Nature Conservancy, the fields and forest of this property will enlarge a block of permanently protected lands to over 5,000 acres in the northern part of the Rural Legacy Area,” said Bill Crouch of the Conservation Fund. “This large block of protected lands will help sustain an open landscape with a resource-based agricultural economy.”

The Nanticoke River Rural Legacy Area totals 21,250 acres of which 11,991 are protected.

Bear Creek Rural Legacy Area (Garrett County) — Preservation of the Klotz Farm will protect 82 acres of valuable agricultural and forest land while extinguishing 25 development rights. This easement protects Bear Creek and its tributaries, which are natural trout streams regularly stocked by DNR, and forestland which serves as critical habitat for interior-dwelling birds and black bears. It will also permanently buffer 1,660 feet of tributaries that feed into Bear Creek and the Youghiogheny River.

This property is a valuable addition to Garrett County’s Bear Creek Rural Legacy plan due to its proximity to Deep Creek Lake’s growth area; the size of the property; its proximity to other protected lands; its water quality protection values; and the existing natural habitat.

The Bear Creek Rural Legacy Area totals 31,437 acres of which 5,692 acres are protected.

Lands End Rural Legacy Area (Queen Anne’s County) — Preservation of the Reed Farm will protect over 114 acres of valuable agricultural and forest lands and extinguish 15 development rights. It will protect nearly 63 acres of forestland and 51 acres of agricultural farmland in the Lower Chester River watershed. Protection of more than 3,390 feet of tidal shoreline will benefit water quality and aquatic life of the Chesapeake Bay. Protection of this property adds to a large, protected rural working landscape in the heart of the Corsica and Chester Rivers watershed.

“Queen Anne’s County is proud to cooperatively participate in the Rural Legacy program. The potential for further preserving Queen Anne’s County’s finest agricultural, natural and environmental resources is a priority of the County,” said Donna K. Landis-Smith, agricultural specialist for Queen Anne’s County.

Lands End Rural Legacy Area contains 10,394 acres of which 2,276 acres are protected.

Mid-Maryland Washington Rural Legacy Area (Washington County) — Protection of the Huffer Farm will protect 134 acres of valuable agricultural and forest lands and extinguish 21 development rights. The farm was part of the site of military operations leading up to and following the Battle of Antietam. A tributary to Little Antietam Creek will be protected with 1,200 feet of vegetative buffer. The easement includes 32 acres of woodland to be managed using a Forest Stewardship Plan.

In addition, the easement will provide an average buffer of 125 feet along 1200 feet of a tributary of the Antietam watershed. Finally, the farm lies in the County’s nearly adopted Priority Preservation Area.

“During the Civil War the area was used by both the 5th and 9th Union Corps. Also, the great explorer of Africa, Henry M. Stanley, was nursed back to health on this farm during the Civil War after being medically discharged from an Illinois artillery battery,” said Eric Seifarth, land preservation planner for Washington County.

The Mid-Maryland Washington Rural Legacy Area totals 42,849 acres of which 15,080 acres are protected.

Dividing Creek Rural Legacy Area (Worcester County) — Preservation of the Adkins property, will protect 592 acres of forest land and will extinguish 10 development rights. The protection of this property links other protected properties in this area and will expand the contiguous block of protected land in the Dividing Creek Watershed. This land provides habitat for a variety of plants and wildlife, including Forest Interior Dwelling Species, migratory song birds, and raptors.

This property is now part of over 16,000 acres of protected land that extends from the Pocomoke State Forest to The Nature Conservancy’s Nassawango Creek Preserve.

“This project is important to water quality in Dividing Creek – over 200 acres have been restored to wetland through the Wetland Reserve Program, the remaining 600 acres will remain in agriculture and forest in perpetuity,” said Worcester County Commissioner James “Bud” Church.

The Dividing Creek Rural Legacy Area totals 23,000 acres of which 4,786 acres are 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 provided over $259 million to protect 70,230 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://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.


   April 20, 2011

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