BPW Approves Rural Legacy Easement Purchase in Charles County

Funding Provided for $258,786 Acquisition of a 19-Acre Conservation Easement Located in Charles County

ANNAPOLIS – Governor Martin O’Malley last week announced Board of Public Works (BPW) approval of more than $8 million in Program Open Space (POS) and Rural Legacy funding. With the announced transactions, the local-side grand total for FY ’07 is $92,665,138, funding 231 local projects and preserving 1,446 acres.

The BPW approved the State’s purchase of a 757-acre Conservation Easement on the Bartoshesky Property, within the Nanticoke River Greenway, through a partnership with The Nature Conservancy, a national conservation organization. This easement will permanently protect the property’s unique ancient sand dune complex, high caliber native hardwood forest, and rare plants, as well as the quality of the tidal wetlands system on the Nanticoke River and Rewastico Creek.

Of particular significance on the local-side agenda was $4.6 million to Queen Anne’s County for acquisition of the 270-acre Kudner Property, which will protect significant wetlands and woodland wildlife habitat. The property will be used for compatible recreation and education activities. Additionally, the BPW approved $383,750 in local funding for recreational improvements at several Harford County schools.

Three Rural Legacy projects were also approved at the BPW meeting:

* Charles County – The $258,786 acquisition of a 19-acre conservation easement located in the Zekiah Watershed Rural Legacy Area will improve water quality by maintaining riparian buffers on Saint Joseph Great Run, a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay, and protect valuable agricultural and forest land.

* Baltimore County – The $821,049 acquisition of a 102-acre conservation easement located within the Long Green Valley Rural Legacy Area preserves agricultural and forested land while adding to a large block of protected land. Permanent riparian buffers along the more than 4,200 feet of interior streams on the property that feed into the Loch Raven Reservoir will help to protect water quality.

* Worcester County –The $186,787 acquisition of a conservation easement on an 85-acre property protects significant agricultural and forested land, including the maintenance of riparian buffers, and adds to a block of previously preserved land.

Chaired by Governor O’Malley, the Board of Public Works is also comprised of Comptroller Peter Franchot and Treasurer Nancy Kopp. The BPW is authorized by the General Assembly to approve major construction and consultant contracts, equipment purchases, property transactions, and other procurement actions.

“I am proud that we are making good on our promise to use Open Space dollars to protect Maryland’s Open Space,” said Governor O’Malley. “Working with the Treasurer, Comptroller, and General Assembly, we will continue to preserve Maryland’s environment for our children.”

In his first budget, O’Malley kept his campaign pledge to fully fund Program Open Space. The FY’08 budget provides $289 million in land preservation programs and $138 million to improve local water and wastewater systems to help improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay.

Since 1969, Program Open Space has provided funding for acquisition of more than 319,606 acres for open space and recreation areas. Most Maryland residents live within 15 minutes of an open space or recreational area funded by this program.

The Rural Legacy Program provides the focus and funding necessary to protect large, contiguous tracts of land and other strategic areas from sprawl development, and to enhance natural resource, agricultural, forestry, and environmental protection through cooperative efforts among state and local governments and land trusts. Protection is provided through the acquisition of easements and fee estates from willing landowners and the supporting activities of Rural Legacy Sponsors and local governments.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 449,000 acres of public lands and 17,000 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 12 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority.

Source: Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR)

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