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Maryland Adds 260 Acres to Rural Legacy Areas in Dorchester County

Farmland The State today permanently preserved approximately 260 acres of rural land, eliminating 28 developmental rights, in Dorchester County through the Rural Legacy Program. Governor Martin O’Malley and the Board of Public Works approved funding for the easement on the Wilson property at today’s meeting in Annapolis.

“The Rural Legacy program encourages local governments and land trusts to work together to preserve lands that benefit our State in a myriad of ways,” said Governor O’Malley. “By establishing easements on these historically and ecologically significant properties, we are saving lands for farming, protecting habitat for threatened plants and animals, safeguarding trees that contribute to clean air and water, and salvaging sites with relics and tales from the past.”

Located within the Nanticoke Rural Legacy Area, the Wilson easement will protect valuable forest and farmland, and water quality through streamside buffers on 4,600 feet of Chicone Creek, a tributary to the Nanticoke River. More than 57 percent of the 25,400-acre Rural Legacy area is currently protected.

The Wilson farm is part of a large block of more than 5,000 acres of permanently protected land conserved under the Rural Legacy Program, which includes the 1,600-acre Webb easement, Blackwater Refuge and the Fishing Bay Wildlife Management Area. Agriculture and forestry practices on the property will support sustainable resource-based industries in DorchesterCounty. The easement will also safeguard habitat for Delmarva Fox Squirrels, and breeding and stopover habitat for migratory songbirds and raptors.

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.


The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors.  DNR manages nearly one-half million acres of public lands and 18,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland’s forests, fisheries and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic and cultural resources attract 11 million visitors annually.  DNR is the lead agency in Maryland’s effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state’s number one environmental priority.  Learn more at