ANNAPOLIS—The State permanently preserved 177 acres of farmland, eliminating 46 developmental rights, in Charles County through the Rural Legacy Program. Governor Martin OMalley and the Board of Public Works approved funding for the easements at Wednesdays meeting in Annapolis.
In Charles County, the newly preserved 177-acre CCWE, LLC property is now part of a large block more than 1,544 acres of permanently protected farmland and forestland in the Zekiah Rural Legacy Area. The easement will eliminate an additional 46 developmental rights. More than 44 percent of the 30,918-acre Area is now preserved through Rural Legacy and Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation easements.
Under the easement, DNR and the property owners will establish and maintain 100 feet of forested buffers that will work to improve water quality along Zekiah Swamp Run. The woodlands along the swamp contain diverse wetland habitats for a variety of species, including prothonotary warblers and red-headed woodpeckers, and several rare plants and animals. The mature swamp forest also provides excellent habitat for Forest Interior Dwelling birds, which depend on large tracts of contiguous forest for nesting.
Enacted by the General Assembly in 1997, Marylands Rural Legacy Program provides funding to preserve large tracts of forests, agricultural land and natural resources, while sustaining land for natural resource-based industries. It has provided more than $249 million to protect approximately 78,000 acres. The 11-member Rural Legacy Advisory Committee and Board, comprised of Marylands Agriculture, Natural Resources and Planning Secretaries, reviews grant applications annually.
The three member Board of Public Works is composed of Governor OMalley (chair), Treasurer Nancy Kopp and Comptroller Peter Franchot. The BPW is authorized by the General Assembly to approve major construction and consultation contracts, equipment purchases, property transactions and other procurement transactions.
Source: Md. DNR