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


Ag secretaries discuss future of farming

EASTON -- All three Delmarva secretaries of agriculture will participate in a panel discussion at Eastern Shore Land Conservancy's 15th Eastern Shore Planning Conference: The Future of Eastern Shore Agriculture. Moderated by radio host Marc Steiner, the conversation will focus on learning from the past and looking to the future. Register now to reserve your seat for this important talk. EARL F. (BUDDY) HANCE Governor Martin O'Malley appointed fourth generation Southern Maryland farmer, Earl F. Hance as secretary of the Maryland Department of Agriculture in May 2009. He served as deputy secretary of agriculture from February 2007 until May 2009. Prior to these appointments, Buddy Hance served as president of the Maryland Farm Bureau, chairman of the Maryland State Tobacco Authority, and as chairman of the Southern Maryland Agricultural Commission among other farm and community activities. Hance also was active in numerous local, state, and national farm and civic organizations. At the national level, he represented the Northeastern states on the American Farm Bureau Federation and was a member of the Nationwide Insurance Company Board Council. In Maryland, he served as a member of the Rural Maryland Council, the Prince Frederick Volunteer Fire Department, the Patuxent River Commission, the Southern Maryland Tourism Council, the Maryland State Tobacco Authority, the Calvert Farmland Trust, the Board of the Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum and the Board of the Calvert County Farm Bureau. A former tobacco farmer, Secretary Hance and his family farm 400 acres of corn and soybeans and operate several commercial greenhouses. Buddy and his wife Robin live in Port Republic, Calvert County and have three children and one grandchild. Ed Kee Ed Kee is a native Delawarean who was born in New Castle and now lives in Sussex County. He has spent his entire career in Delaware Agriculture. Kee began his professional agricultural career as the farm manager

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Unsinkable Shore Draws 200

The 14th Eastern Shore Planning Conference, Unsinkable Shore: Regional Resilience and Prosperity, Thursday drew about 200 people to the Tidewater Inn in Easton. ESLC Deputy Director Amy Owsley said she was impressed and encouraged by the energy and interest around climate change action for the region. A morning conference poll showed that participants overwhelming view climate change as a priority issue for local and regional action. Eastern Shore Land Conservancy thanks its speakers, sponsors, presenters, volunteers and attendees for making this one of the most successful planning conferences to date. Yesterday, Eastern Shore leaders came together to start a regional conversation about preparing agriculture, infrastructure and towns for projected climate changes. “The Eastern Shore has demonstrated again and again its ability to evolve without changing the core of who we are as a region,” Owsley said. “While our lands may be taking on water, the Eastern Shore character and spirit is undeniably unsinkable. Together, we can find ways to build resilience and find opportunities in the changes we face.” Since 1990, ESLC has helped to preserve  nearly 54,000 acres on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Additionally, we support strong land use policies that protect our farms and rural landscapes. More recently, we have worked in partnership with Shore towns to help create open spaces and trails, to help use green designs to manage stormwater, and to use community design to help revitalize downtowns. ESLC recognizes that climate change can be a controversial topic. While we believe scientific data supports that the climate is changing, on this and all the tough issues facing the region, ESLC welcomes and respects all perspectives. Speaker presentations, a conference summary, and information on upcoming opportunities to continue the discussion on climate change resilience on Maryland’s Eastern Shore soon will be available on our website, eslc.org.

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Response to Governor’s Climate Change Summit

I was encouraged to see Gov. O’Malley host the Maryland Climate Change Summit and to hear the discussions on the effects of climate change, but many questions still need to be answered if we want a more resilient and prepared region. Here on the Eastern Shore, we are seeing the effects of climate change faster than nearly any other area in the country.  According to the Governor, Maryland currently is losing 1.6 acres of land every day to sea-level rise.  584 acres a year may not seem significant, but what’s happening on that land is significant.  Holland Island, just one of the 13 major Chesapeake islands to forever be sunk into the Bay, was within the past 100 years a significant place that included a thriving community of 70 homes, over 350 residents, a main street, stores, a school, a church, a baseball team and more. It’s all gone. Lost land doesn’t immediately affect those that live inland, but what about the effects of rising temperatures on farming and human health?  Will fungi or other pests prosper, or will longer growing seasons significantly increase farm outputs?  Are our roads and bridges planned to serve us through rising sea levels and more powerful storms? The Eastern Shore and its people have been resilient throughout history, but in order for us to adapt to a warmer and wetter climate, we need to prepare.  The land and life here are precious and as the Governor said, “It’s not just about what we stand for; it’s about what we stand on.” Rob Etgen Executive Director

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Letter to the Editor

Letter to the Editor 7/11/2013: Recent news about climate change reveals big issues facing the Eastern Shore: a shrinking shoreline, more and bigger storms, more salinity in our lands and farms. According to the United States Geological Survey, the Chesapeake Bay will rise two feet by 2050. Every person in the region will be affected in some way, with Dorchester County especially vulnerable with submersion of region-defining landmarks such as the Blackwater Wildlife Refuge and sites along the newly minted Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument. The sea is coming, and news isn’t good … so, what now? The Eastern Shore has faced adversity before. Our history is thick with challenges, which more recently include battles over development, shifting agriculture, and traffic clogging our roadways. Through all this, a fierce combination of ingenuity, regional identity, independence, and perhaps out-and-out stubbornness has kept the Eastern Shore together as a region, and as a place we are still proud to call home. Sea level rise is just one important trend to consider – our demographics, development patterns, and economic activity also are forecasted to shift greatly. Our Eastern Shore of tomorrow likely will look very different from the one we live in today. Rather than let these forces of change wash over the region, today is the opportune time to take control. How can we build resilience regionally to safeguard what’s most important? And, of equal importance, how do we find opportunity in the changes ahead? For this conversation about our region’s gameplan for what’s ahead, mark Thursday, Oct. 3 on your calendar for the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy’s 14th Eastern Shore planning conference: The Unsinkable Eastern Shore – Regional Resilience and Prosperity. From this event, expect the details about these trends facing the region and a showcase of actions and planning already underway. Help build a strategy

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