The Board of Public Works today approved a Maryland Department of Natural Resources item that authorizes a $1.7 million grant to the Cecil Land Trust to acquire a 535-acre conservation easement.
Rural Legacy Program funds will be used to protect productive agricultural and forestland along Northeast Creek as part of the Fair Hill Rural Legacy Area.
“Preserving and protecting productive and valuable farm and forest land is at the heart of the Rural Legacy Program, and our broader land acquisition and conservation efforts,” Maryland Natural Resources Secretary Mark Belton said. “Partnering with local governments and nonprofits is an effective and efficient way to conserve our limited and precious resources.”
Established in 1997, the Rural Legacy Program provides dedicated funding to preserve large, contiguous tracts of land that benefit both the economy and environment, especially holdings containing local streams and waterways within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Using private-public partnerships, the program encourages local governments and land trusts to determine the best way to protect their communities, quality of life and working landscapes.
“Protecting the 535-acre Long Green Farm is a wonderful example of how the Rural Legacy Program protects not only natural and working resources, but also our heritage,” Cecil Land Trust President Bill Kilby said. “The conservation easement acquisition will enable a next generation farmer to take over a working farm that’s been in the same family for over 250 years.”
In August 2018, the Board of Public Works approved 16 Rural Legacy Program grants totalling over $25 million, designated the Harriet Tubman Rural Legacy Area in Dorchester County and expanded five existing areas. There is at least one legacy area in every county of the state.