MD: BPW Approves Preservation Of 1,027 Acres Through Rural Legacy Program
Easements in Allegany, Baltimore, Charles, Queen Anne’s, Somerset, Washington and Wicomico Counties
Annapolis, Md. – Governor Martin O’Malley today announced Board of Public Works (BPW) approval to preserve 1,027 acres of Maryland landscape in Mountain Ridge, Piney Run, the Zekiah Watershed, Foreman Branch, Dividing Creek, Mid-Maryland Washington, and Quantico Creek Rural Legacy Areas through Rural Legacy Program easements.
“These projects help preserve the natural beauty of our State and contribute to improved water quality, forest conservation and wildlife protection,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “I am very proud that we are continually working as One Maryland, to preserve our culture and heritage for our children and theirs.”
Mountain Ridge Rural Legacy Area (Allegany County) – Preservation of the Scarpelli Property will permanently protect 274 acres and eliminate three development lots. This property is located off the National Road, a Federal Scenic Byway, just outside of LaVale, Maryland. It has been recognized by the Federal Scenic Byways program as a property that preserves the view and character of the National Road, a driver’s delight.
“It’s an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise, featuring abundant hiking and wildlife observation opportunities,” said Lynda Eisenberg, land preservation coordinator of Allegany County. “The property plays host to over a mile in streams with substantial buffers that add protection to nearby Braddock Run, a tributary that flows into the North Branch of the Potomac River and ultimately into the Chesapeake Bay.”
The Rural Legacy Area totals 31 acres of which 10,055 are currently protected. Allegany County will hold the easement.
Piney Run Rural Legacy Area (Baltimore County) – Preservation of the Pleasant Grove Property will permanently protect 37 acres and eliminate six development lots.
“Pleasant Grove is a beautiful farm with rolling hills that lead down to major streams in the Piney Run Watershed,” said Ann Jones of the Land Preservation Trust. “The topography of the property combined with the multiple streams on the farm make it a perfect Rural Legacy acquisition.”
The farm was threatened with a development that could have placed up to eight homes in the middle of this significant block of protected land. This acquisition will prevent the property from being developed and will protect the water quality and agricultural character of the area. The area is adjacent to a large farm protected with a Maryland Agricultural Lands Preservation Foundation easement, and another large farm protected with a Rural Legacy easement.
The Rural Legacy Area totals 32,320 acres of which 16,191 are currently protected. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Land Preservation Trust will co-hold the easement.
Zekiah Watershed Rural Legacy Area (Charles County) – Preservation of the Bonifant Property will permanently protect 52 acres and eliminate 16 development lots.
“The acquisition of this parcel will protect productive agricultural lands and woodland in addition to providing a permanent wooded buffer along unnamed tributaries to Zekiah Swamp Run, a distance of approximately 3,000 feet,” said Charles Rice, environmental programs manager of Charles County.
The Rural Legacy Area totals 31,000 acres of which 5,890 are currently protected. Charles County will hold the easement.
Foreman Branch Rural Legacy Area (Queen Anne’s County) – Preservation of the Cooper Godfrey Property will permanently protect 74 acres and eliminate 10 development lots.
“Protection of this property will ensure that conservation practices will remain in place for generations to come,” said Donna Smith, agricultural specialist with Queen Anne’s County Department of Development & Agriculture.
The Rural Legacy Area totals 7,078 acres of which 5,145 are currently protected. DNR and Queen Anne’s County will co-hold the easement.
Dividing Creek Rural Legacy Area (Somerset County) – Preservation of the Waters Property will permanently protect 68 acres and eliminate 14 development lots.
“We continue to leverage State Rural Legacy funds with federal Farm and Ranchland Protection Program funds. This is made possible via a grant between the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Lower Shore Land Trust, our local partner,” said Liz Zucker of the Nature Conservancy. “The private/public cooperation continues to be strong and effective in the protection of productive farmland and important natural habitats of the Dividing Creek watershed.”
The Rural Legacy Area totals 23,000 acres of which 1,326 are currently protected. DNR and the Lower Shore Land Trust will co-hold the easement.
Mid-Maryland Washington Rural Legacy Area (Washington County) – Preservation of the Saville Property will permanently protect 51 acres and eliminate 10 development lots.
“The Saville Rural Legacy project is part of a well managed, larger, family owned and operated timber and sawmill operation,” said Eric Seifarth, land preservation administrator of Washington County. “The entire project is wooded and since the tract is steep sloped, the easement, including stream buffered areas, will provide excellent water resources protection. The tract is also part of the historic Antietam Ironworks area where charcoal was produced to fuel furnaces to build cannons during the Revolutionary War.”
The Rural Legacy Area totals 42,849 acres of which 15,214 are currently protected. Washington County will hold the easement.
Quantico Creek Rural Legacy Area (Wicomico County) – Preservation of the Tracey Property will permanently protect 472 acres and will eliminate 64 development lots.
“We are very proud of the partnership between DNR and Wicomico County in protecting lands within the Quantico Creek Rural Legacy Area,” said Jack Lenox, director of Planning, Zoning and Community Development in Wicomico County. “The Tracey project has been a ‘top priority’ acquisition for many years and we are pleased that together we can protect these environmentally sensitive lands in our Rural Legacy Area.”
The Rural Legacy Area totals 13,637 acres of which 5,989 are currently protected. DNR, Wicomico County and the Lower Shore Land Trust will co-hold the easement.
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 $225 million to protect 73,490 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 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.