MD: BPW Approves Preservation Of 342 Acres In Frederick, Queen Anne’s And Washington Counties Through Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program

Annapolis, Md. – Governor Martin O’Malley today announced Board of Public Works (BPW) approval to preserve 342 acres of streamside forests, natural areas and wetlands, including properties in Frederick, Queen Anne’s and Washington Counties through the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) easement option.

“Thanks to these Maryland landowners, our State will continue to see enhanced natural areas and improved water quality,” said Governor O’Malley. “By working together we can preserve our natural resources for generations to come.”

Frederick County – The BPW approved preservation of a 298-acre CREP easement in Frederick County. The easement, on property owned by the Crosby family, will enhance wildlife habitat and permanently protect water quality through streamside buffers along 9,920 feet of Catoctin Creek, a tributary of the Potomac River.

“Ms. Crosby’s farm demonstrates outstanding conservation measures and innovative farming practices,” said Anne Bradley with the Frederick County government. “The 550-acre sustainable farming operation includes organic haying, 85,000 trees planted on steep slopes, a local community garden, an American Chestnut Foundation experimental grove, free range cattle, an existing 3-acre organic direct-to-market garden, a geothermal greenhouse, a vertical-axis wind turbine prototype under construction, solar-powered irrigation and beekeeping.”

Frederick County and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will co-hold the easement.

Queen Anne’s County – The BPW approved preservation of a 32-acre CREP easement in Queen Anne’s County. This easement, known as the Bailey CREP easement, will permanently protect water quality through streamside buffers along 1,000 feet of Andover Branch, a tributary of the Chester River.

A permanent CREP easement on Jack and Jane Bailey’s property will conserve established high quality forestland and grassed areas that filter runoff. It will help protect and enhance the Upper Chester watershed, which runs through Queen Anne’s and Kent Counties and ultimately into the Chesapeake Bay.

“Protection of the agricultural and forest lands on this property will benefit water quality of the Andover Branch blue line stream, the upper Chester River, the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. Lands in this Conservation Easement will provide linkage to existing protected lands through the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation, Queen Anne’s County’s Deed Restricted Open Space, Non-Contiguous Development and Transfer of Development Rights, Rural Legacy and CREP easement acreage.”

The project adjoins a 124-acre, State owned game preserve. In protecting this site, Queen Anne’s County can continue to achieve its water quality goals for the Bay restoration.

Queen Anne’s County and DNR will co-hold the easement.

Washington County – The BPW approved preservation of a 12-acre CREP easement in Washington County. This easement, on property owned by the Stone family, will permanently protect water quality through streamside buffers along 1,570 feet of Antietam Creek, a tributary of the Potomac River.

“The Elmer Stone CREP project will assist in the protection of Dog Creek, which is part of the Antietam watershed,” said Eric Seifarth, Land Preservation Administrator of Washington County. “Both sides of the Stone CREP project consist of major agricultural operations, with substantial tilled ground. The CREP project provides excellent stream buffering from farm runoff. In addition, the landowner would like to place a Rural Legacy easement on his remaining 150 acres of farmland.”

Washington County and DNR will co-hold the easement.

Maryland’s CREP easement option is administered by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and is funded through Program Open Space. The State of Maryland has entered into an agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Commodity Credit Corporation to provide funds to landowners who make permanent the conservation practices established through 10- or 15- year CREP contracts. CREP provides for the establishment of stream buffers, grass plantings, shrubs and trees, and the retirement of highly erodible land. In addition to providing important habitat for wildlife, all of these practices work to improve water quality in the Chesapeake Bay watershed by reducing soil runoff, increasing groundwater absorption, and reducing stream sedimentation and nutrient loading into Maryland’s waterways.

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.

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