Eastern Shore Land Conservancy


Land Conservation

Land Use & Policy

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Board of Directors




Mission Statement
Conserve, steward, and advocate for the unique rural landscape of the Eastern Shore.

ExcellenceITAC Accreditation
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Description of Organizational Structure

The Eastern Shore Land Conservancy (ESLC) is a private, nonprofit 501(c)(3) charitable organization in good standing with the charitable division of the office of the Secretary of State of Maryland. ESLC has a full time staff of eleven and a 20-member volunteer Board of Directors, which manages ESLC with the following standing committees: Development; Finance; Leadership; Land Protection; and Governance. In addition to the volunteer Board of Directors, 50 other volunteers strengthen ESLC through a Volunteer Land Steward program, and through other duties, such as administrative help, outreach, special events, and trail maintenance.

Our work is guided by a five-year strategic plan. Each year, staff and board members develop a work plan based on the goals of the strategic plan. You may read our strategic plan here.

ESLC’s IRS Form 990 and other financial information may be viewed on our Guidestar page.

History and Successes

ESLC was founded in 1990 as a result of widespread concern that the Eastern Shore’s important wildlife habitat and prime farmland were being consumed by sprawling development. The decision was made by the founders to preserve land on Maryland’s Eastern Shore in order to keep prime farmland in agriculture, to protect unique natural areas, and to perpetually monitor those lands to ensure that preservation is permanent. ESLC’s Land Protection Program, which helps private landowners explore and implement various preservation options, has been the core function of the Conservancy through its first decade. This toolbox of preservation options includes gift conservation easements, Maryland’s farmland preservation easement program, Maryland’s Rural Legacy easement program, county transferable development rights programs, the family farm preference from federal estate taxes, and other options and combinations.

As a result of the above efforts, ESLC has to date:

  • Protected more than 60,000 acres of the Eastern Shore’s important natural habitat areas and prime farmland through easements on more than 320 properties and the creation of three preserves.
  • Assisted in the protection of another 7,400 acres on 16 properties.
  • Established a record of preservation that far exceeds any other local land conservancy in Maryland and is one of the most successful in the country.
  • Received conservation easement and other property interests on which more than $40 million worth of development rights have been extinguished.
  • Rescued six highly threatened priority properties on 1,146 acres and worth more than $12 Million using our Land Rescue Revolving Fund. In two cases, the properties are key links in trail systems and will allow public access and serve as permanent urban growth boundaries.

How Can We Help?

Eastern Shore Land Conservancy provides technical support and education with a focus on developing a dream for a town’s future. Contact us for more information about what we can do for you.