Eastern Shore Land Conservancy


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

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eastern shore maryland farmland conservation


ESLC seeks your ideas for a Rural Jobs Agenda

Eastern Shore Land Conservancy has drafted a Rural Jobs Agenda to take to Annapolis for this next Maryland General Assembly session. We would love your great ideas and thoughts about ensuring the Eastern Shore is thriving and vibrant.

Our Vision for Rural Maryland:

Rural areas like our Eastern Shore of Maryland will be places of innovation and opportunity, with vibrant towns, thriving farms and forests, and economies built from rural strengths.

Our Rural Regions Are Places of Opportunity

Rural regions are Maryland treasures.  Their natural resources and landscapes serve food, fiber and fun, and are living connections to the stories and lifestyles that founded our State.

Our rural places, however, will not stay special by accident.  The need for economic opportunity is distinct, and the choices feel limited. Needed now is a clear vision, regional collaboration, and smart investments to ensure that economic vibrancy emerges from our rural region, not despite it.

Collective actions in the following areas are essential future economic innovations and opportunity:

Strengthen our Towns as Economic Hubs ­– Towns are the commerce center for our rural communities.  For the sustainability of our rural lands and industry, it is essential these are healthy, attractive places to live and work. Capacity and support for the WIP work should be built and investment in transit and telecommuting centers should be encouraged.

–          Support creation of the Eastern Shore Conservation Center.  This regional conservation center in the heart of Chesapeake country would share costs, increase collaboration, and promote the best of the region’s rural heritage.  It would house many outdoors and conservation oriented non-profits that would be dedicated to sustaining the rural legacy of the Eastern Shore of Maryland and beyond. This project would also rehabilitate a historic building and be a part of a major downtown revitalization for Easton, MD.

–          Reinstitute the MDE’s Loan Forgiveness Program for minor WWTPs, and ensure future funding from the Bay Restoration Fund is targeted for minor WWTPs.

–          Revise the Maryland Assessment Scenario Tool (MAST) so that local governments can easily understand the most cost effective strategies to achieving their nutrient reduction goals.

–          Support the creation of Telecommuting Centers.  As gas prices have continued to steadily rise over the past few years, conversation has increased on the need for a telecommuting center on the Eastern Shore. ESLC supports the study the feasibility of establishing a teleworking center on the Eastern Shore for Chesapeake Bay Bridge Commuters. This could be a major savings for Federal Government and State Government employees during a time when Bay Bridge backups can extend many miles and gas prices have strongly risen.

–          Continue support the Sustainable Communities Tax Credit.  Last year the recipients of this Credit helped create 740 construction jobs in projects that will revitalize communities and promote green building practices around the state. Ten projects that scored highest in the application process received a total of $11 million in tax credits to help leverage construction projects with a total estimated cost of $82,430,000.

Bolster the Richness of our Rural Lands – The Eastern Shore should be a landmark example of rural protection and investment. Collaboration and investment in tourism as well as the Shore’s traditional working landscapes is the key to protecting its rural heritage and supporting its future.

–          Safeguard farm and rural lands by funding Program Open Space, MALPF, and other land preservation programs.

–          Seek robust State investment in the regional economic councils and Rural Prosperity Fund. The Mid-Shore Regional Council (MSRC) alone has created over 700 jobs and leveraged over $11.2 million, supporting a host of regional projects in the past seven years. Rural support of public transportation, small business development, regional broadband, ag/resource-based industries, technology parks and more are just a small part of what regional councils do to support our rural region.

–          Support Maryland Heritage Areas. Maryland’s Heritage Areas are locally designated and State certified regions where public and private partners make commitments to preserving historical, cultural and natural resources for sustainable economic development through heritage tourism.  At the local level, Heritage Areas focus community attention on often under-appreciated aspects of history, living culture, and distinctive natural areas, thus fostering a stronger sense of pride in the places where Marylanders live and work.

Grow Rural Opportunities through Energy Innovations

The Eastern Shore is ripe to lead the way to a new energy future for Maryland. A future where energy consumption is reduced and needs are met through renewable, locally generated energy sources is a way towards greater energy independence and supporting local jobs.

–          Open the door for off-shore wind energy.  The Eastern Shore is ripe to lead the way to a new energy future for Maryland, where energy consumption is reduced and needs are met through renewable, locally generated energy sources. Off-shore wind energy (captured off the Eastern Shore) is highly promising and could create many jobs while reducing our carbon footprint.

–          Create new opportunity for rural areas through the use of Community Renewable Energy Generation bill.  Maryland should establish a net energy metering program for a “Community Renewable Energy-Generating Facilities.”  These renewable energy facilities generate electricity from biomass, micro combined heat and power (micro-CHP), solar, fuel cell, wind, and more. These facilities could be used to reduce grid dependency and energy costs to neighbouring small farm operations.

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