Jim Bass, coastal resilience specialist for ESLC, recently joined Director of Dorchester Country Dept. of Emergency Services Anna Sierra for an interview on Cambridge's WHCP to kick off National Preparedness Month (September). Jim spoke in detail as to how emergency preparedness and ESLC''s coastal resilience program are interconnected, and how the Eastern Shore is one of the nation's most susceptible areas to sea level rise in the country. Jim and Anna also touch on information about the "Know your Zone" program from the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA). Thanks to WHCP ("A Great Place to Be!") for inviting Jim on the air. LISTEN ON SOUNDCLOUD
On Friday, July 27th The Star Democrat published an article on its front page about ESLC's most ambitious initiative in its 28-year existence, currently referred to as Delmarva Oasis. The initiative, which seeks to include the support and partnership of multiple conservation-based organizations and the local governments of three states, is a beginning of a discussion about the end game for conservation. In other words, what habitat, food production and public access lands must we absolutely protect to sustain the core life functions of Delmarva - permanently, and can this region serve as a model for long term sustainability in other areas. According to such lead experts as renowned biologist and author, E. O. Wilson, the answer in large part lies in landscape-level land conservation. More conservation is needed, faster than before, and at scales unprecedented. Wilson proposes the idea in his 2016 book, Half Earth – Our Planet's Fight for Life. Research shows that if we conserve half the land and sea globally, the bulk of biodiversity will be protected from extinction. More specifically, 50% conserved equals 85% of species entering the safe zone, and 85% of species saved equals a planet stabilized enough for humans to continue to exist. “As a community here on the Eastern Shore, we have worked hard to protect the lands we love (about 29 percent protected on the Shore),” said ESLC President Rob Etgen. “With a new Chesapeake Bay Bridge on the horizon and major road improvements at the northern and southern end of Delmarva, we are concerned about a return to the sprawl pressures of the past. “We feel we must ramp up our land protection efforts, and we must take a more holistic regional approach if we are to keep the farms and forests and wildlife that make this region the wonderful place we know and love.” Why Delmarva? A flight
ESLC and its project partners will host two community design charrettes, as well as a project kick-off event, to celebrate and gather community input for Cannery Park. The park, which will be located adjacent to the former Phillips Packing Co.’s last remaining building (soon to be known as The Packing House), is the culmination of a planning and funds-seeking process that has been in the works for approximately seven years. The media kick-off event will happen at 11am on Tuesday, January 23rd at 411 Dorchester Avenue. All residents, local businesses, and members of the media are encouraged to attend to find out more about the future park, and about Parker Rodriguez – the Alexandria, VA-based landscape architecture firm that has been selected to design and create Cannery Park. The two community design charrettes will be open to the public in an effort to capture feedback and input on the design of Cannery Park’s master plan, as well as to provide updates on Cambridge’s newest public space. The first charrette will be held from 6:30 to 7:30pm on Tuesday, January 23rd at the Cambridge Empowerment Center, located at 615 B Pine Street. The second charrette will be held at 6:30pm on Thursday, January 25th at the Public Safety Building, located at 8 Washington Street. Along with ESLC staff, members from the City of Cambridge, Dorchester County, Cross Street Partners, and Parker Rodriguez will be in attendance during all of the week’s events. The restoration of Cambridge Creek, along with the removal of an inactive railroad line so as to create a rail trail connecting the park to downtown, will be among the first action items in the creation of the new park. Parker Rodriguez was founded in 1996 as a full service land planning, landscape architecture, and urban design firm serving
The Maryland Environmental Trust, partnering with the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, has permanently protected 232 acres of farm and forest land along Maryland Route 33, known as the Chesapeake Country Scenic Byway. Gannon Family LLC granted a conservation easement on what is locally called “Lee Haven Farm,” forever protecting the prime agricultural land and scenic views. The Board of Public Works approved the easement Dec. 6. “We are grateful to keep this land a productive part of the local economy and to protect the scenic view on the Eastern Shore,” Maryland Environmental Trust Director Bill Leahy said. The easement is located in Talbot County immediately outside the town of Easton. It consists of about 100 acres of farmland and 125 acres of forest. The southernmost portion of the property is along the headwaters of Dixon Creek. “We have placed conservation easements on other Talbot County properties and are pleased to have worked with the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy and Maryland Environmental Trust to preserve a large part of Lee Haven,” Greg Gannon, an owner of Gannon Family LLC, said. Gannon Family LLC donated the land for conservation. Eastern Shore Land Conservancy Conservation Easement Program Manager Jared Parks said the land currently is listed in Easton’s greenbelt. The forest section is habitat for the Delmarva fox squirrel, which is no longer endangered but is still a species of concern, and “it’s got a lot of great farm land,” Parks said. “It is a great easement and it is in an area that we want to see preserved as greenbelt, stay active in farming and open,” Parks said. Farming can still happen on the land, but under the easement no commercial, industrial or residential development is allowed, and that provision literally lasts forever and follows the land, not the owner. “That allows them to continue to own it, farm it, do
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