Funding Will Protect 4,500 Acres Statewide
News Release, Maryland Department of Natural Resources
The Board of Public Works today unanimously approved recommendations of more than $18.8 million in Rural Legacy Program grants for conservation easements in 18 counties. Funding from these grants will permanently protect more than 4,500 acres of working farms, forests, open space, shorelines, and wetlands — plus cultural and historic resources — throughout the state. The recommendations also include six Rural Legacy Area expansions, which provide the opportunity to protect more than 172,039 expansion acres.
The projects were recommended by the Rural Legacy Board, which consists of the Secretaries of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the Maryland Department of Agriculture, and the Maryland Department of Planning. The Board of Public Works includes Governor Larry Hogan, Comptroller Peter Franchot, and Treasurer Nancy Kopp.
“Since I became governor, our administration has been committed to restoring funding for our world-renowned land conservation programs and making progress towards our goals for the Chesapeake Bay, and we have followed through on that promise,” said Governor Hogan. “These grants will preserve and protect our agricultural, environmental, and historical areas across the state for generations to come.”
“The Rural Legacy Programs help us preserve and protect resource-rich properties across the state, from agricultural tracts and working farms and forests to ecologically-significant watersheds and environmentally-sensitive wetlands,” Maryland Natural Resources Secretary Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio said. “This program allows us to work with those who know the land best – local governments and nonprofits and the landowners themselves – to support our local natural resources based economies while enhancing our environment and protecting rural landscapes”
Established in 1997, the Rural Legacy Program is designed to preserve large tracts of productive and valuable agricultural and forested lands that contain exceptional features. The program acts through local government or private land trust sponsors to purchase conservation easements from willing property owners in 32 locally-designated rural areas located in every county. Now celebrating 20 years since the first acquisition, to date, the program has permanently protected more than 103,000 acres.