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August 13, 2014

Maryland Adds 356 Acres to Rural Legacy Areas in Somerset and Worcester Counties

by kking
Barns at Sunset by John Cardamone

Barns at Sunset by John Cardamone

The State permanently preserved 356 acres of woodland and farmland, eliminating 19 developmental rights through the Rural Legacy Program. Governor Martin O’Malley and the Board of Public Works approved funding for the two easements in the Dividing Creek Rural Legacy area at today’s meeting in Annapolis.

“We are grateful that these landowners have shown their commitment to conversation and preserving Maryland’s valuable natural resources,” said Governor O’Malley. “Rural Legacy easements provide habitat for critical plants and animals, protect forests that clean our air and water, and save beautiful landscapes from development so they can continue to be enjoyed by future generations.” 

In Somerset County, the 192-acre Dolan property links other protected areas to create a contiguous block of preserved lands in the Dividing Creek Watershed. The easement extinguishes nine developmental rights and permanently protects the habitat to a variety of plant and animal life, including Forest Interior Dwelling Species, raptors and migratory song birds. The protected land will also improve water quality by protecting 6,600 linear feet of riparian buffers along Dividing Creek, a tributary of the Pocomoke River.

In Worcester County, the 165-acre Brummitt property links other protected areas to create a contiguous block of preserved lands in the Dividing Creek Watershed. The easement extinguishes 10 developmental rights and permanently protects the habitat to a variety of plant and animal life, including Forest Interior Dwelling Species, migratory song birds and raptors. 

With the addition of these easements, 33 percent of the 23,000-acre Dividing Creek Rural Legacy Area is currently protected. 

Maryland’s Rural Legacy Program provides funding to preserve large tracts of forestry and agricultural land and natural resources, and for environmental protection while sustaining land for natural resource-based industries. Enacted by the General Assembly in 1997, Maryland’s Rural Legacy Program has to date provided over $249 million to protect approximately 78,000 acres of valuable farmland, forests, 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.  BPW is authorized by the General Assembly to approve major construction and consultation contracts, equipment purchases, property transactions and other procurement transactions.

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