Eastern Shore Land Conservancy (ESLC) is pleased to announce closing on a new conservation easement! The easement, completed in partnership with the U.S. Army and Maryland Department of Natural Resources (MD DNR), protects 441 acres of agricultural land and critical species habitat with scenic value, off Back Creek and McGill Creek in Cecil County.
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
June 7, 2017 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 460 Acres in Cecil County Preserved; Will Become Bohemia River State Park The Eastern Shore Land Conservancy (ESLC), in partnership with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), is preserving 460 acres in Cecil County for the future development of a new state park. The Board of Public Works unanimously approved the acquisition this morning. The new water-access site, located near Chesapeake City, will eventually be called Bohemia River State Park and will complement existing Maryland Park Service properties in the area – Elk Neck, Fair Hill, and Sassafras. This is a big win for land conservation on the Eastern Shore, and more specifically, Cecil County. “Over the course of the past 27 years, ESLC has been involved with literally thousands of Eastern Shore farms. OBX Farms is truly one of the most beautiful we’ve ever assisted in preserving!” said ESLC Executive Director Rob Etgen. “This purchase will keep the land open, free from future development, and most exciting of all, available to the public for generations to come. ESLC is incredibly proud to play a role in this important legacy.” The acquisition of OBX Farms was fully funded by Program Open Space, which preserves natural areas for public recreation, and watershed and wildlife protection across Maryland. In addition to existing agricultural land that will most likely continue being farmed, approximately 14,000 feet of riverfront property will now be available to the public for kayakers, standup paddle-boarders, canoers, and other activities. The property’s rich network of riparian forests and tidal and non-tidal wetlands will provide for habitat restoration and water quality benefits. Once the acquisition is complete (projected Fall 2017), the department will develop an interim public access plan for the property, which will enable visitors to enjoy passive, nature-based activities until a master plan can be developed. Public access
(Op-Ed from Cecil Whig - May 31, 2017) From: Jill E. Burke, Elkton We are responding to County Executive McCarthy’s article in the Whig (March 16), and his response (April 28) to an opinion piece in the Baltimore Sun (Feb. 19) regarding Cecil County's tier map and the Comprehensive Plan on which it is supposedly based. Rather than being solely about protecting private property rights, the 2010 Comprehensive Plan states that they should be balanced with the need to manage growth. The 41 individuals on the review committee crafted a plan that reflected their diversity of opinions and put equal, if not more, emphasis on conserving agricultural and forested lands and on keeping our rural areas rural. The tier map adopted by the county in 2012 and recently endorsed by the decidedly un-diverse Tier Map Advisory Committee makes a mockery of our Comprehensive Plan and its commitments to conservation and rural character. Executive McCarthy seeks to be “aligned with state law,” but seems ready to ignore the law when he disagrees with what it tells him to do. The intent of the Sustainable Growth and Agricultural Preservation Act of 2012 is clear from its title. An interpretation was presented to the Tier Map Advisory Committee as Tier Map No. 11 (Whig March 9, 2017). This map came closer to the legal requirements than anything since Tier Map No. 4 from August 2012. Rather than be insulted by the state’s approach to land use planning, we are insulted that our county executive should so comprehensively ignore our own plan. Jill E. Burke is the president of the Cecil Land Use Association.
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