Eastern Shore Land Conservancy


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

ExcellenceITAC Accreditation
eastern shore maryland farmland conservation


ESLC earns Standards of Excellence re-certification from Maryland Association of Nonprofit Organziations

 Eastern Shore Land Conservancy (ESLC), a private, nonprofit land conservation organization dedicated to the preservation of farmland and habitat on the Eastern Shore recently received re-certification for the Maryland Association of Nonprofit Organizations’ (MANO) Standards for Excellence program. ESLC was the first conservation or environmental organization in the country to be certified in this program, which began in 1998, and the first nonprofit on Delmarva.  Each award recipient is required to reapply at least every five years to maintain current certification and to verify that they are adhering to the guidelines of the program.  ESLC originally received certification in 2000, a recertification in 2003 and notice of its most recent accomplishment in November. “We work very hard to maintain the highest level of excellence as a nonprofit and getting this re-certification is a great validation of that effort,” said Nina White, ESLC’s Director of Administration and coordinator for ESLC’s application. “The rigorous application process provides an important learning process for our organization as we continue to improve our operations and work toward our own organizational mission.”  According to MANO, the Standards for Excellence program is designed to promote excellence and integrity in Maryland’s nonprofit organizations. In an effort to improve the work of nonprofits, the program provides an array of services to help organizations implement the standards. As part of the certification program, organizations submit to a voluntary, rigorous review of each part of their program’s operations. “Striving for excellence in ethics and accountability is an essential building block toward the mission of protecting our Eastern Shore’s land and waters,” said Rob Etgen, ESLC’s Executive Director. “We are so pleased to receive this re-certification and commend the Maryland Association of Nonprofit Organizations for setting the gold standard on nonprofit excellence.”  The Standards of Excellence certification is based on 55 criteria, including values such

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Conservation groups work with farmers to conserve 1,435 acre near Little Blackwater River

Voluntary easement to protect large forest and farmland CAMBRIDGE  – The Eastern Shore Land Conservancy (ESLC), The Nature Conservancy, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, have worked with the owners of Good Luck Farm to conserve 1,435 acres of forest and agricultural land next to Little Blackwater River, near Cambridge in Dorchester County just north of the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. The owners of Good Luck Farm have agreed to place a conservation easement over the property, which ensures the long-term conservation of forests and wetlands on the property. These forests and wetlands provide a natural buffer system that helps protect water quality on the Little Blackwater River, a tributary to the Nanticoke River and the Chesapeake Bay. The property also provides habitat for a variety of plant and wildlife species, including the federally endangered Delmarva Fox Squirrel and migratory songbirds and raptors. The easement also preserves a working farm that contributions the local agricultural economy. “Protecting our family farm gives us the security of knowing that this land we love so much will not be changed in any way,” said co-owner Flora Knauer, who along with her two sisters Sue Saathoff and Frances Saathoff put the farm in land protection. “Why wouldn't someone want to do that?" A conservation easement is a voluntary, legal agreement that limits certain development on a piece of property now and in the future, while protecting the property’s ecological or agricultural values. The Good Luck Farm easement, which will be monitored annually by the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, allows for continued agricultural use of the property and timber management with an approved forested managed plan. The easement also restricts future commercial, industrial and intense residential development of the property. “This family is the epitome of why we want to

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Scotts Protect 125 Acres of along Marshyhope

Dorchester Farm Protected Using State, Federal Funds Queenstown, Maryland – January 11, 2008 – The Scott Family of Hurlock has ensured over 125 acres on the banks of the Marshyhope Creek are protected from development forever with the sale of a conservation easement on their farm. Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, a private, nonprofit land conservation organization dedicated to the preservation of farmland and habitat on the Eastern Shore working with the federal and state governments used funds from a United States Department of Agriculture Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program grant, matching funds from the state’s Rural Legacy Program and a bargain sale from the owners to complete the project which will ensure this property maintains the rural character of an area under continuous development pressure. In addition to preserving productive farmland in northeastern Dorchester County, protection the farm will also protect water quality on the Marshyhope and will extinguish eight residential development rights in an area that has recently been under increasing development pressure, particularly on waterfront properties. The decision to protect the farmland was a no-brainer for the Scotts, who wanted to keep the pristine Marshyhope area as farmland. “It was such a beautiful piece of land along the Marshyhope - We just wanted to see it protected,” said Doug Scott, who co-owns the property with wife Patti. “We wanted to make sure we protected it before it was ever sold.” The completion of this easement also adds an additional swath of protected land to the Marshyhope Conservation Priority Area. “Dorchester County residents can be certain that the beautiful farmscape of their county will be maintained with the protection of the Scott Farm,” says Meredith Lathbury, ESLC’s Director of Land Conservation. “This project is a great example of how many different options are out there to help Eastern Shore residents protect their land

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1222 Acres of Cecil Farmland Protected Forever from Development

ESLC partners with state to protect farms along the Sassafras River Queenstown, Maryland – January 28, 2008 –Over 1,200 acres of farmland and important habitat areas in Cecil County have been protected forever, thanks to the recent completion of a 479-acre conservation easement on Ordinary Point Farm and a full property purchase of Grove Farm. With the protection of Grove Farm and Ordinary Point Farm, ESLC is over halfway to its goal of protecting a 5,000 acre block of land along the Sassafras River Ordinary Point, which protects a combination of productive agricultural and woodland soils, will ensure 479 acres in this important area are preserved. With approximately 99 acres of the property located in the Grove Neck Natural Heritage Area, protection of this property provides protection of habitat that is home to six rare, threatened or endangered species, including the Federally endangered Puritan Tiger Beetle.  Adjacent to Ordinary Point Farm is another farm ESLC has been working for many years to protect. Grove Farm, a 743 acre farm, is expected to be transferred to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources at the end of February. Last month the state Board of Public Works approved Program Open Space funding to protect Grove Farm, which fronts on two water bodies, the Sassafras River (approximately ½ mile of frontage) and Pond Creek (approximately 1¾ miles of frontage). It is anticipated that once transferred to the state, the property will be managed for wildlife habitat as well as community access for passive recreation such as canoeing, kayaking and other passive recreation activities. “There aren’t many places like Grove Farm and Ordinary Point left on the Eastern Shore and we are thrilled that we are able to add to the important block of protected land in such a beautiful part of Cecil County,” said Rob Etgen, ESLC’s

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ESLC Concludes Successful Year in Land Protection

Queenstown, Maryland - December 31, 2007 -Nearly 5,000 acres of the Eastern Shore have been forever protected this year, bringing the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy's total protection area to 43,424 acres. ESLC, a private land conservation organization dedicated to the preservation of wildlife and habitat on the Eastern Shore, announced its land conservation report for 2007 today, highlighting projects in Dorchester, Cecil and Kent, Queen Anne's and Talbot County. Recently completed projects, by county, include the following: Cecil County Claggett Farm: Located north of Cecilton, this 209 acre protected area, which is located in the Chesapeake Critical Area, provides lots of frontage on Scotchman's Creek and contributes to the growing mass of protected land in the lower part of Cecil County. Dorchester County Good Luck Farm -Located on the Little Blackwater River, protection of this 1,435 acres of agricultural land will help ensure that the agricultural heritage of this region is maintained for future generations of farming families. The first phase of this project was completed in partnership with The Nature Conservancy and the second phase is slated to include State and Federal funding, anticipated in 2008. Hale: The Hale family's protection of their 213 acres in Dorchester County with Chicamacomico River frontage offers superb wildlife habitat preservation and scenic views along both sides of Griffith Neck Road and the Chicamacomico River. Lighthizer - This conservation easement in Eldorado will protect 74 acres near the important Marshyhope Rural Legacy Area. The easement will protect an historic viewshed for the circa 1783-1790 residence "Rehoboth" and the farm borders a Natural Heritage Area designated as such for the presence of numerous rare, threatened and endangered species, including several Bald Eagle nests and two rare plant species and two threatened plant species. Kent County Bramble: The Bramble family has forever protected 324 acres north of Rock Hall, adjacent

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Recent Posts

  • Seven Legislative Efforts That Could Impact Eastern Shore Land Use and Preservation
  • Land Protection for All
  • Board Spotlight: Jules Hendrix
  • New Regional Trail Map Shows Existing and Potential Trails for a Growing Network
  • Saving Maryland’s Tidal Salt Marshes
  • From the President: The Eastern Shore’s Most Urgent Conservation Need in 2024
  • Review: ESLC Forests and Forestry Workshop
  • Volunteer Spotlight: Roger Bollman
  • Where the Wood Drake Rests: Wetland Restoration & Conservation on the Eastern Shore
  • ESLC Partners with Urban 3 to Study Eastern Shore Land Use
  • 106 Acres Protected Forever in Quaker Neck, Kent County
  • An Autumn Stroll at Bohemia River State Park
  • A Conservation Conversation at Stoney Ridge
  • Autumn Rail Trail Strolls on the Eastern Shore
  • Roots Monthly Giving Spotlight: Erin Jacobson