News Release, Maryland Department of Natural Resources
Conservation Easements Protect Farmland and Watersheds
The Board of Public Works today approved Rural Legacy Program grants totaling $2.1 million that will provide dedicated state funding to permanently protect working farms and forests, and provide vegetative stream buffers to improve water quality and bolster climate resilience in designated areas across the state.
Working through local governments and private land trusts, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources acquires conservation easements from willing landowners to preserve large, contiguous tracts of land that contain valuable agricultural and natural resources.
The following projects are funded with today’s vote:
- Harford County will acquire a 78.63-acre conservation easement that will protect farm and forest land, and provide forested stream buffers to 3,500 linear feet of Big Branch, a tributary to Deer Creek Scenic River.
- The Nature Conservancy will acquire a 212.9-acre conservation easement in Dorchester County that will protect productive farmland that contributes to the local agricultural economy, as well as ecologically-important forested lands in the Nanticoke River watershed.
- Southern Maryland Resource Conservation and Development Board will acquire easements totaling more than 245 acres, which will protect valuable agricultural and forest lands, plus more than 9,500 linear feet of riparian buffers along a tributary of the St. Mary’s and Potomac rivers.
- Washington County will acquire easements totaling more than 358 acres that includes more than 7,000 linear feet of forested and vegetated stream buffers on waterways within the Mid-Maryland Washington Rural Legacy Area.
- Worcester County will acquire easements totaling more than 186 acres, which will protect productive agricultural lands and ecologically-important forest lands, including 6,200 linear feet of forested riparian at the confluence of the Pocomoke River and Nassawango Creek. Protection of these lands provide additional resiliency to the effects of climate change on the Eastern Shore.
Rural Legacy Areas are designed to protect working landscapes supporting a critical mass of resource-based economies. There are 32 locally-designated rural legacy areas located throughout the state.