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October 26, 2012

MET, Partners Preserve Little Patuxent River Woodlands

by Martha

Middle Patuxent River: Floodplain showing Virginia Bluebells

The District of Columbia granted a perpetual conservation easement on 250 acres of heavily wooded, stream valley in Anne Arundel County to the Maryland Environmental Trust (MET), the Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust and the Scenic Rivers Land Trust. The D.C. Department of General Services will manage the land ─ located along the Little Patuxent River within view of Ft. Meade and Route 32 ─ which is part of a larger 827-acre property.

This donation settles a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrative case involving underground storage tanks at Oak Hill, the D.C. Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services facility. Under a 2010 settlement agreement with the EPA, the District paid a $73,489 penalty and removed 14 tanks and approximately 725 tons of contaminated soil from a facility in Anne Arundel County.

This conservation easement will permanently preserve open space, protect natural wildlife habitat and foster outdoor activities, such as nature study, orienteering, hiking, fishing and kayaking. The District plans to use the woodlands and adjoining fields for environmental education. The property is habitat for  threatened and endangered species like the Glassy Darter (Etheostoma vitreum) and the American Brook Lamprey (Lampetra appendix).

Middle Patuxent River
View north toward Baltimore Washington Parkway

The easement protects water quality on the Little Patuxent River, extensive wetlands and woodlands and the Patuxent Research Refuge.

A portion of the land trusts’ costs related to the easement donation were supported by a matching grant from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service under the North American Wetlands Conservation Act program, which funds the protection of wetlands-associated migratory bird habitat.

More on this collaborative project is available at dnr.state.md.us/met/pdfs/OakHillArticle.pdf.

For more information on the Maryland Environmental Trust, citizens may visit dnr.maryland.gov/met.

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