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

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ESLC Receives Over $3 Million in Funding Through Rural Legacy Program

Statewide program allows for continued sustainable land protection in Maryland

Easton, Maryland – Last week, Eastern Shore Land Conservancy (ESLC) was named a recipient of the FY22 grant award for the Agricultural Security Corridor’s (ASC) Rural Legacy Areas (RLA) from the State of Maryland’s Rural Legacy Program. At the December 1st meeting of the Maryland Board of Public Works, grant awards for all three of ESLC’s sponsored RLA were approved, totaling nearly $4 million for conservation easements.

The awards break down as follows: ASC – Eastern Shore Heartland in Talbot, Caroline, and Dorchester Counties ($750,056), ASC – Harvest Crescent in Kent and Cecil Counties ($1,897,634), and the ASC – Tuckahoe in Talbot and Caroline Counties ($1,316,321). “This allotment represents a significant increase over recent years’ awards, an important show of faith in ESLC’s dedication to conservation and the importance of the region in which we work,” said David Satterfield, Land Program Manager for ESLC.

Enacted in 1997, the Rural Legacy program has been a key resource for Land Trusts and Local Governments to protect key resources throughout Maryland. Each year, the program receives an allocation of funding from the state budget, which is shared by the many Sponsors of RLAs throughout the state. The funding is used by the Sponsors to promote the preservation of large, contiguous tracts of land and the enhancement of natural resources, agricultural, forestry and environmental protection, all while supporting a sustainable land base for natural resource-based industries.

The Eastern Shore Rural Legacy Sponsor Board, which includes ESLC and County Planning and Zoning representatives, began working with the program in 2000. They have submitted annual applications each year since becoming Sponsor, leading to protection of 63 properties on over 11,000 acres to date. While originally conceptualized as a single RLA, the ASC was divided into three separate RLAs in 2020 to represent the unique regions in which they reside and to improve flow of funding to the Shore.

The FY22 awards are expected to allow for protection of over 600 acres of prime agricultural and natural resource properties in the region. While the FY22 funding has already been obligated to these projects, ESLC is already planning for its upcoming annual application due in February 2022.

Those interested in learning more about the program, or determining if their property may be eligible for inclusion in the FY23 application, should contact Alex Kazer at akazer@eslc.org or 410-690-4603.

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