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Rural Legacy Program Preserves Land in Washington County

Photo by Tammy McCorkle

Photo by Tammy McCorkle

The State has added 150 acres to its permanently protected rural landscape and eliminated eight developmental rights in Washington County. Governor Martin O’Malley and the Board of Public Works approved funding to preserve the land on May 15.

“Protecting these rural lands not only forever preserves Maryland’s rich heritage and unique history, but helps improve the water quality of the streams and rivers that flow into the Chesapeake Bay,” said Governor O’Malley.

The Little Antietam Farm property, located in the Mid Maryland Washington Rural Legacy Area, is part of the centuries-old agricultural heritage in Washington County. The land is near a building identified on the Maryland National Historic Registry and associated with significant Civil War history, once serving as the site to a Union field hospital.

The easement will help improve water quality by protecting trees and shrubs that work to filter runoff along 1,900 feet of Little Antietam Creek, a tributary of the Potomac River. In addition, a 58-acre portion of the property is in a permanent Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program easement.

Maryland’s Rural Legacy Program provides funding to preserve large tracts of forest and agricultural lands and natural resources, while sustaining land for natural resource-based industries. Enacted by the General Assembly in 1997, Maryland’s Rural Legacy Program has to date provided more than $235 million to protect 77,096 acres of valuable land..

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.