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November 14, 2012

Governor O’Malley Honors Landowners who Protect Scenic and Natural Lands

by Martha

Governor O’Malley (Third from left) with some of the landowners.

Governor Martin O’Malley last night honored 215 landowners from across the State who have donated conservation easements to the Maryland Environmental Trust (MET), since January 1, 2007. The landowners’ conservation easements permanently protect more than 16,000 acres of scenic open space, historic and cultural resources, and environmentally sensitive habitat from development.

“I am honored to recognize these Marylanders who are driven by a commitment to conservation and a desire to preserve,” said Governor O’Malley.  “Whether they have protected 10 or 200 acres, their generosity ensures that future generations will enjoy our great State’s beautiful natural landscapes.”

Since MET received its first donation of a conservation easement 40 years ago, a 10-acre property in Anne Arundel County, it has protected more than 128,000 acres of open space throughout Maryland. MET has also helped create more than 40 local and regional land trusts across the State. These land trust partners co-hold conservation easements and help to steward the protected properties forever.

“I am impressed with the number of easements donated during the O’Malley Administration,” said James R. O’Connell, Chairman, MET Board of Trustees. “MET has worked with more than 200 landowners since 2007 who wanted to take action and permanently protect their land by donating a conservation easement and limiting development. This is truly a gift to the citizens ofMaryland.”

Private land conservation through donations of conservation easements is a cost effective way to protect land.  MET’s Conservation Easement Program offers an alternative tool to purchased programs and landowners are eligible to receive a package of tax benefits that includes a 15-year property tax credit, a State income tax credit, federal income tax deductions and estate tax benefits.

MET serves as the only statewide land trust and provides information to landowners who want to protect their land for future generations. Established in 1967 by the legislature, MET is governed by an independent Board of Trustees and is affiliated with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.  More information on the Maryland Environmental Trust is available at dnr.maryland.gov/met/.

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