From the Maryland Department of Natural Resources:
The State permanently preserved 335 acres of woodland and farmland, eliminating 25 development rights in Harford County through the Rural Legacy Program. Governor Martin O’Malley and the Board of Public Works approved funding for the two easements in the Deer Creek Rural Legacy area at today’s meeting in Annapolis.
“Conserving Maryland’s ecologically and historically significant lands is critical to the health, well-being and prosperity of our great State and its people,” said Governor O’Malley. “Through the Rural Legacy program, we can ensure the future of Maryland’s beautiful natural areas and their resources for the benefit of us today, and the generations of tomorrow.”
Within the 236-acre Rigdon Easement there is a 100-foot-thick buffer of vegetation that filters water along 10,400 feet of Falling Branch and tributaries to Deer Creek, a Maryland-designated Scenic River. The land agreement will also protect the beautiful views along approximately 2,900 feet of Harkins and Linkous roads.
The easement will eliminate 10 development rights, and protect 124 acres of cultivated lands and pasture. Also on the property, there is 100 acres of diverse hardwood forestland, which support many native plants and animals. These areas will be managed under a Forest Stewardship Plan.
The newly preserved 99-acre Dougherty Easement provides a 100-foot-thick tree and plant buffer that protects water quality along 2,400 linear feet of Broad Creek, a tributary to Deer Creek. This agreement will protect the viewshed along approximately 2,000 feet of Constitution Road.
The easement will extinguish 9 development rights and protect 64 acres of cultivated lands and pasture. The property’s 31 acres of forestland is a diverse mix of hardwoods that are home to a variety of plants and animals, to be managed under a Forest Stewardship Plan.
With the addition of these easements, 52 percent of the 66,701-acre Deer Creek 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 $250 million to protect nearly 80,000 acres. The 11-member Rural Legacy Advisory Committee and Board is comprised of Maryland’s Agriculture, Natural Resources and Planning Secretaries, who reviews 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.