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Rural Legacy Program Preserves Land in Carroll, St. Mary’s, Wicomico and Worcester Counties

Landscape of Trees. Photo By Avi Bender

Photo By Avi Bender

The State has added 1,088 acres to its permanently protected rural landscape and eliminated 124 developmental rights in four counties. Governor Martin O’Malley and the Board of Public Works today approved funding to preserve the land located in Carroll, St. Mary’s, Wicomico and Worcester counties.

“Through Rural Legacy, the State and conservation-minded landowners have come together today to forever protect more than 1,000 acres of important forest and working land in Maryland,” said Governor O’Malley. “These properties are home to farming communities and natural resources vital to the livelihood of Maryland families.”

In Carroll County, preservation of the Stambaugh property in the Little Pipe Creek Rural Legacy Area will permanently protect 32 acres and prevent the development of four lots. Currently a working farm, the property is home to sensitive natural resources and once served as a camp for General Meade’s army prior to the Battle of Antietam.

Also in the Little Pipe Creek Rural Legacy Area, preservation of the Bandy property will permanently protect 32 acres and prevent the development of two lots. This property, which serves as a working farm, holds 2,140 linear feet of riparian buffers that filter water for the Patapsco River watershed.

These conservation easements will add to the 30,195 acres of protected land in the Little Pipe Creek Rural Legacy Area.

In St. Mary’s County, preservation of the Roache LLC & Poffenbarger property in the Huntersville Rural Legacy Area will permanently protect 147 acres of forested and working agricultural lands, and prevent the development of 49 lots. The property’s woodlands will be managed under a Forest Stewardship Plan.

Permanent protection of approximately 8,250 feet of streamside buffers will protect water quality along several unnamed brooks that flow into the Patuxent River. This easement will create a contiguous block of preserved land totaling more than 2,550 acres, and add to the 3,509 acres of protected land in the rural legacy area as a whole.

In Wicomico County, preservation of the E.S. Adkins property in the Quantico Creek Rural Legacy Area will permanently protect 785 acres and prevent the development of 59 lots. The easement adds to past conservation efforts that help protect the Nanticoke River watershed, one of the most diverse ecological systems of the Chesapeake Bay area.

There are more than 1,600 acres of protected lands within three miles of this property, including Ackworth Farms, Chesapeake Forest and Glatfelter Paper lands. This easement will add to the 5,897 acres of previously protected land within the rural legacy area. Preservation will also complement Wicomico County’s comprehensive plan to maintain the rural character in this sector, and will protect water quality by preserving 6,080 linear feet of buffer along Quantico Creek, a tributary of the Nanticoke River.

The Department of the Navy is contributing 100 percent of the value of acquiring this conservation easement through the Readiness and Environmental Protection Initiative, which seeks to reduce development and maintain the long-term viability of Naval training areas.

In Worcester County, preservation of the Greenwood property in the Coastal Bays Rural Legacy Area will permanently protect 93 acres, prevent the development of 10 lots and link other protected properties in the region.

The easement will protect land that contains breeding and stopover habitat for migratory songbirds and raptors, as well as forested buffers along approximately 5,800 linear feet of Pikes Creek, a tributary of the Chincoteague Bay. The property will expand the 14,376 acres of land already protected in the rural legacy area.

Enacted by the General Assembly in 1997, Maryland’s Rural Legacy Program provides funding to preserve large tracts of forests, agricultural land, and natural resources, while sustaining land for natural resource-based industries. It has to date provided over $249 million to protect nearly 78,000 acres of valuable farmland, forest and natural areas. The 11-member Rural Legacy Advisory Committee and the Rural Legacy Board, which is comprised of Maryland’s Agriculture, Natural Resources and Planning Secretaries, reviews grant applications annually.

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