Conservation Easements Protect Farmland, Forests and Waterways
The Board of Public Works today approved Rural Legacy Program grants totaling $3 million that will provide dedicated state funding to permanently protect working farms and forests, and provide vegetative stream buffers to improve water quality in designated areas across the state.
Working through local governments and private land trusts, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources acquires conservation easements from willing landowners to preserve large, contiguous tracts of land that contain valuable agricultural and natural resources.
“The continued boost in funding for the Rural Legacy Program has helped significantly expand our ability to preserve and protect Maryland’s unique landscape and watersheds,” Maryland Natural Resources Secretary Mark Belton said. “Combined with the continued generosity and stewardship of landowners and partners, this support will yield positive benefits for generations to come.”
The following projects are funded with today’s vote:
Carroll County will acquire two separate conservation easements totaling more than 165 acres. These properties include more than 5,800 linear feet of forested and vegetated stream buffers on tributaries to the Monocacy River and Gunpowder Falls.
Manor Conservancy, Inc. will acquire a 33.36-acre conservation easement in Harford County to protect valuable agricultural land and woodlands. It will also protect water quality through riparian buffers to a tributary of the Lower Susquehanna River watershed and Chesapeake Bay.
Southern Maryland Resource Conservation and Development Board will acquire two separate conservation easements totaling more than 183 acres in St. Mary’s County, including more than 5,500 linear feet of riparian buffers along tributaries of the St. Mary’s and Potomac rivers.
Frederick County will acquire a 298.58-acre conservation easement to protect productive agricultural and forest lands, provide viewshed protection to Catoctin and Sugarloaf mountains and Buckeystown Pike as well as riparian buffers along the Monocacy River.
Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust, Inc. will acquire a 123.4-acre conservation easement in St. Mary’s County to protect valuable agricultural and forest lands and provide water quality protection by riparian buffers of tributaries to Locks Swamp Creek.
Rural Legacy Areas are designed to protect working landscapes supporting a critical mass of resource- based economies. There are 32 locally-designated rural legacy areas located throughout the state.