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

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How We’re Advocating for the Eastern Shore in 2022 

With every January comes a new legislative session in Maryland, where for 90 days, state employees, politicians, lobbyists and advocates convene to advance the issues and beliefs they feel to be the most pressing. On January 12ththe 444th session of the Maryland General Assembly commenced and since then ESLC’s policy manager Sara Ramotnik has been working alongside legislators and other advocates to protect the rural character of Maryland’s Eastern ShoreHere’s what we’re advocating for in the 2022 legislative session:


1: Setting a 30x30 Conservation Goal for Maryland 

With the percentage of land conserved in Maryland currently sitting at 23%, there’s no better time to set a statewide conservation goal of conserving 30% of Maryland lands by 2030 and then 40% by 2040. Setting (and then achieving these goals) will ensure that our farms, public lands and wildlife habitats are available for future generations to enjoy.  


2: Fully Funding Program Open Space & Providing Repayments  

Program Open Space was established by the Maryland General Assembly in 1969 and is comprised of a suite of conservation programs that support parks, preserve agricultural and natural lands and help communities to provide recreational opportunities for community members. Governor Hogan included in his FY23 Budget full funding for this program as well as $30.5 million in repayments owed due to this fund being raided during previous administrations.


3: Allowing Tenants-in-Common to Avoid Partition Sales

Passing the Maryland Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act (SB0092) is one of our major priorities for this legislative session. This bill would allow for the court to partition real property that is considered to be heirs property, so that heirs can keep and preserve their land if they so choose, rather than the land being sold in a partition sale. Similar legislation has already been passed in 17 states. 


4: Improving Parks Across the State

The COVID-19 pandemic proved to us just how essential parks are, with over 21 million visitors recreating in 75 parks in 2020. The Great Maryland Outdoors Act (not yet filed) would increase park staffing investments, address the backlog in critical maintenance projects the state’s parks are facing and expand recreational amenities within parks.


5: Expanding Opportunities for Accounting for Natural Capital

We are also in support of the passage of the Conservation Finance Act (SB0348) which will create a temporary task force that would focus on changes that could be made to take advantage of new federal accounting standards regarding nature’s economic benefits and also make recommendations on ways to engage land trusts and others in using natural assets to create equity and climate resilience in disadvantaged communities.


For the last 31 years, ESLC has worked with great success on land conservation in Caroline, Cecil, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot counties. Despite these successes, there is still much to do on conservation issues in Maryland and we look forward to what we can achieve over the course of this legislative session. If you have any questions or concerns about our legislative agenda, please do not hesitate to reach out to Sara Ramotnik at sramotnik@eslc.org.

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