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Maryland Adds 111 Acres to Rural Legacy Areas in Washington County

Photo: Farm by Chuck Aaron

The State today permanently preserved approximately 111 acres of farmland, eliminating seven developmental rights, in Washington County through the Rural Legacy Program. Governor Martin O’Malley and the Board of Public Works approved funding for the easement on the Payne-Holder property at today’s meeting in Annapolis.

“It is vital that we continue to protect these lands to preserve the rural character of our State, and secure the future of natural resource-based businesses such as farming, forestry, tourism and outdoor recreation,” said Governor O’Malley.

Located within the Washington County Rural Legacy Area, the Payne-Holder property is adjacent to a forest conservation easement and is less than a quarter-mile from more than 1,000 acres of permanently preserved land. The farm buffers approximately 1,500 feet of an unnamed stream, which drains into Antietam Creek watershed. More than 42 percent of the 42,887-acre Washington County Rural Legacy is currently protected.

The farm is also part of a centuries-old agricultural heritage in Washington County. It is located within close proximity to several historical sites located on the Maryland National Historic Registry list including the Brick Farm Complex (located on the property), the Thomas Farm, the Doub Farm, a historic bridge, and the Monroe Church of Christ building.

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 provided more than $249 million to protect approximately 78,000 acres. The 11-member Rural Legacy Advisory Committee and Board, 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.