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Rural Legacy Program Reaches Milestone

100,000 Acres Conserved Over 20 Years

Photo of Board of Public Works meeting in Governor's officeWith the Board of Public Works’ approval of five new conservation easements, Maryland’s Rural Legacy Program has now conserved more than 100,000 acres of land throughout the state.

In presenting the properties for approval, Maryland Natural Resources Secretary Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio observed that this year marks the 20th Anniversary of Maryland’s first Rural Legacy Program acquisition.

“We have successfully worked with local partners, farmers and other landowners to conserve and maintain the rural character of our state for future generations,” Secretary Riccio said. “And with your approval of the items on our real property agenda today, which includes five Rural Legacy projects totaling 795 acres, we will exceed 100,000 acres protected under this incredible state program.”

The program  provides funding for large tracts of land to enhance the protection of our natural resources while supporting natural resource-based industries like agriculture and forestry.

The program was enacted by the Maryland General Assembly in 1997, and the first Rural Legacy conservation easement was acquired in the fiscal year 1998-1999 grant cycle.

Among guests on hand was former Governor Parris Glendening, whose administration launched the Rural Legacy Program.

Secretary Riccio also thanked the members of the Board of Public Works — Governor Larry Hogan, Comptroller Peter Franchot and Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp — for their support through the years. Governor Hogan has fully funded land conservation and preservation programs. This has resulted in more than $55 million in Rural Legacy projects being approved by the Board of Public Works to protect more than 18,000 acres during Governor Hogan’s administration to date. (Updated number as of October 2020: $75 million and 27,000 acres.)

The easements presented for approval Wednesday by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources represent diverse regions of Maryland — Anne Arundel, Baltimore, St. Mary’s, Worcester and Washington counties.