ANNAPOLIS, Md. - The State permanently preserved 55 acres of Maryland's landscape and eliminated 5 development rights through the Rural Legacy Program. Governor Martin O'Malley and the Board of Public Works approved funding for the easements in the Mid-Maryland Washington Rural Legacy Area and Agricultural Security Corridor Rural Legacy Area at today's meeting in Annapolis.
“The Rural Legacy Program ensures the prosperity of our great state by protecting important forest and farmland, preserving historical sites and working landscapes, and providing our waterways with critical stormwater runoff protection,” said Governor O'Malley.
In Caroline County, the 35-acre Jones Easement contains approximately 1,000 linear feet of frontage and 100 feet of forested buffers along Tuckahoe Creek. With 30 total acres of forests in and near the site, it provides forest interior dwelling habitat for a variety of plants and animals. The entire property falls within a “Targeted Agricultural Area,” land identified as a conservation priority by the Maryland Department of Planning as part of the State's AgPrint.
With the addition of this easement, 49 percent of the 22,401-acre Agricultural Security Corridor Rural Legacy Area is currently protected.
In Washington County, the 20-acre Morgan Easement is part of a large tract of land a Quaker, Israel Friend, purchased from the Indian Chiefs of the Five Nations in 1727. The Antietam tract was measured in arrow shoots - the farthest distance an archer could shoot an arrow. It served as the site for Antietam Iron Works, which produced cannons for, among others, the Continental Army. Rock piles from business operations can still be found on the property. The Union 9th Corps also passed through the area during the Battle of Antietam.
A forest stewardship plan will protect the property, which is made-up primarily of forestland, and sits adjacent to a larger mass of contiguous woodland acres. With the addition of this easement, 43 percent of the 18,381-acre Mid-Maryland Washington Rural Legacy Area is currently protected.
Enacted by the General Assembly in 1997, Maryland's 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 to date provided more than $251 million to protect approximately 81,100 acres. The 11-member Rural Legacy Advisory Committee and Board is comprised of Maryland's Agriculture, Natural Resources and Planning Secretaries, who review grant applications annually.
The three member Board of Public Works is composed of Governor O'Malley (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.