Maryland Environmental Trust Announces Record Year With 5,747 Acres Protected In 2009
MET now protects over 1,000 easements totaling 122,000 acres.
CROWNSVILLE, MD —-(AmmoLand.com)- Maryland landowners protected 5,747 acres of farmland, woodland and scenic open space in 2009 by agreeing to permanent conservation easements with the Maryland Environmental Trust (MET).
The 24 properties are located in 11 counties across Maryland. The easements will forever protect habitat, wetlands, forests and farms and will help to restore the Chesapeake Bay.
“This accomplishment demonstrates that Marylanders care deeply about the preservation of open space and that the State has one of the strongest statewide land trusts in the nation,” said Governor Martin O’Malley.
These conservation-minded landowners pass the development rights of their properties to MET. The conservation easements held by MET ensure that these significant properties are protected from future residential and commercial development. MET and local land trusts are responsible for monitoring these properties while the land remains in private ownership and stewardship.
One of the easements is on the 355-acre Browning Creek Farm in Cecil County, currently owned by local farmers and conservationists Jack and Charlotte Loller.
“It is nice to know that there won’t be any new houses put up – we don’t like to see farmland developed,” said the Lollers, who own three other farms in Cecil County and have participated in agricultural preservation for all of them.
In Frederick County, a 188 acre property was protected which includes nearly 90 acres of the Cunningham Falls Ecologically Sensitive Area. The property is the only currently place in Maryland known to house the Queen-of-the-Prairie (Filipendula rubra), a state endangered plant that grows in an unusual seepage wet meadow found on the property. Peter Fedak and his late wife, Susan, purchased the property in sections over the years. Fedak first came to know and love the Catoctin Mountain area when he came to Camp David while working for the Eisenhower administration in the 1950s.
Andelot Farm, in Kent County, was the largest easement of 2009, protecting 2894 acres which includes approximately 1,087 acres of forest, 1,692 acres of farmland and 50 acres of freshwater ponds.
Dr. Micheal Pistole and Richard Bradshaw protected 61 acres of their Hidden View Farm in Anne Arundel County. The easement aims to preserve the property’s ecological functions and natural features, which include regionally important bird habitat, a 450-year-old red maple tree and stunning views of Bacon Ridge Branch and the South River. Hidden View Farm forms part of a greater conservation initiative in the area known as the South River Greenway which encompasses four watersheds that drain into the South River, and over 10,000 acres of undeveloped forest. A growing portion of the Greenway is publicly-owned parkland, and though Hidden View Farm will not be open to the public, it provides an essential wildlife corridor in the Greenway’s ecosystem.
The 24 easements, many jointly held with MET’s local land trust partners, include acreage in the following counties:
- 317 acres in Anne Arundel County
- 84 acres in Baltimore County
- 31 acres in Carroll County
- 355 acres in Cecil County
- 163 acres in Dorchester County
- 407 acres in Frederick County
- 770 acres in Garret County
- 3,019 acres in Kent County
- 151 acres in Somerset County
- 375 acres in Talbot County, and
- 75 acres in Wicomico County
“2009 has been an incredible year for MET,” said MET Director Elizabeth Buxton. “Together with local land trusts, MET has preserved more acres this year than any other year in its history. We are proud to be one of the largest land trusts in the country and to partner with local land trusts to protect Maryland’s most treasured landscapes and natural resources.”
MET accepted its first conservation easement in 1972 and recently celebrated its 1000th easement.
A statewide land trust governed by a citizen board of trustees and affiliated with the Department of Natural Resources, the Maryland Environmental Trust was established in 1967 by the Maryland General Assembly. MET is one of the oldest and most successful land trusts in the country. It holds over 1000 conservation easements and has protected over 122,000 acres across the State. MET promotes the protection of open land through its Land Conservation Program, Monitoring and Stewardship Program and Local Land Trust Assistance Program. MET also provides grants to environmental education projects through the Keep Maryland Beautiful Program. For more information, visit the website www.dnr.maryland.gov/met.
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2009, is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 467,000 acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland’s forests, fisheries, and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic, and cultural resources attract 12 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland’s effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state’s number one environmental priority. Learn more at www.dnr.maryland.gov