State Oks 70-acre Land Preserve

Crop, Woodlands Along South County Stream Part Of Tract Under New Protection

April 19, 2009|By Tyeesha Dixon | Tyeesha Dixon,tyeesha.dixon@baltsun.com

Gov. Martin O'Malley has announced approval of conservation easements that will preserve a 70-acre property in the county.

The Board of Public Works approved four easements statewide, totaling 460 acres, including Anne Arundel County's South Rural Legacy Area.

The Anne Arundel easement, which preserves 24 acres of woodland and 40 acres of cropland near the border of Calvert County, will be held by the county. The South County property is part of a farmland base that produces corn and soybeans. Permanent riparian buffers along 2,000 feet of Cabin Branch stream will protect water quality, according to the state.

Other easements were approved for Harford and St. Mary's counties. The state's Rural Legacy Program, enacted in 1997, had provided more than $181 million to preserve more than 60,000 acres of farmland, forests and natural areas, according to the state.

"I am extremely proud of the Rural Legacy Program and its commitment to identifying and preserving lands that define the rural character of our state and support Maryland's farming, forestry, tourism and outdoor recreation," O'Malley said in a statement. "Protecting our local watersheds is another step towards a clean and healthy Chesapeake Bay."

County Executive John R. Leopold said under his administration, almost 500 acres of land in the county have been preserved under the grant program, as well as 2,600 acres using another grant program.

"Land preservation is a pride and interest of my administration, and I'm grateful to the three members of the Board of Public Works for taking this action to preserve this additional land," Leopold said.

"It's not a record to stand on, but one to build on, and I will continue to pursue these opportunities for land preservation."

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