By Deborah Bowers
The Md. Board of Public Works on Wed. approved $12.6 million for land preservation in 14 counties. In Harford County, the Deer Creek Rural Legacy Area will receive $1.36 million and the Manor Rural Legacy Area, part of which is in western Harford County, and part in Baltimore County, was awarded $1 million.
The funds are used to purchase, from willing landowners, conservation easements on lands that will remain in private hands. The purchases are administered through the Maryland Rural Legacy Program by the Department of Natural Resources. Conservation easements prevent development in perpetuity by placing restrictions in property deeds.
The Board of Public Works approves all expenditures in the state. It is made up of the governor, comptroller and treasurer.
The Deer Creek Rural Legacy Area includes the length of Deer Creek through northern Harford County and joins with the boundary of the Manor Rural Legacy Area, which covers the historic My Lady’s Manor area in both Baltimore and Harford Counties.
The Rural Legacy Program was created 12 years ago under Gov. Parris Glendening as part of the state’s Smart Growth Initiative. As of the end of June, 66,804 acres had been preserved by the program. The Rural Legacy Program focuses on preserving scenic, ecologically sensitive, agricultural and natural lands.
Maryland has other land preservation programs which, along with a number of county easement programs, have together preserved approximately 660,000 acres of privately owned land statewide. Most of these lands are in agricultural use.