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Eastern Shore Land Conservancy is committed to preserving and sustaining the vibrant communities of the Eastern Shore and the lands and waters that connect them.

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232 acres in Talbot County permanently protected

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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ESLC Heads to 2016 Legislative Session

Along with colder temperatures and the fade of holiday lights, every January brings a new legislative session in Annapolis. State employees, politicians, lobbyists, advocates, and policy staff from groups across Maryland converge in an effort to advance the issues and beliefs they believe to be the most pressing. ESLC’s Policy Manger Josh Hastings and Program Assistant Rachel Roman were there when the Maryland General Assembly convened on January 13th and have since been active, traversing across the Bay Bridge for the meetings that apply to our mission. Consistent with the overall purpose of land conservation, ESLC works within the following policy and advocacy parameters: Support water and land use policies that encourage stronger rural communities, protect rural landscapes, and increase public access. Additionally, ESLC promotes policies that lead towards a cleaner Chesapeake Bay and that build resilience towards and support adaption to the effects of climate change on the Eastern Shore landscape. Support economic development efforts for the Eastern Shore that strengthen the agricultural, forestry, and fishing industries, and that direct and deepen investment in small towns. ESLC supports residential and commercial development focused in towns and infrastructure to support sustainable growth. Support transportation policies that result in the most sustainable land use patterns for the Eastern Shore. Promote policies that make travel safer and easier and that emphasize multimodal options. Support energy policies that promote long-term, locally generated, renewable energy that adds to the rural, independent character of the Eastern Shore and that has the smallest impact upon the landscape. Governor Hogan submitted his budget on January 20th, and since that time ESLC has had time to analyze and react accordingly. While the good news is that $20 million more dollars are allocated towards land protection measures than in last year’s budget, the proposal still takes approximately $43 million from Program Open Space – Maryland’s

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LTE Regarding Talbot Comprehensive Plan

December 17, 2015 Letter to the Editor Comprehensive plans are extraordinarily important documents that can have great influence as to how an area changes. Talbot County is a truly special place that deserves the best possible update to its comprehensive plan; one that lays out clear growth strategies, recognizes the unique quality of life contained here, and inspires a new generation of residents to thrive. Eastern Shore Land Conservancy (ESLC) supports growth that adds vibrancy to our towns and villages, while preserving our rural landscapes. After spending 25 years headquartered in Queen Anne’s County, ESLC recently relocated to Easton and opened the Eastern Shore Conservation Center. This $7.6 million dollar historic rehabilitation project is not just a beautiful non-profit campus bringing dozens of full-time jobs to Talbot County; it is the type of positive growth that previous comprehensive plans have stated as goals to strive for. Talbot County does not deserve a comprehensive plan that is unclear, inconsistent, and leaves important decisions about growth to be made without clearer parameters or definitions. Concepts like “workforce housing” are great, as long as the “work” is near the housing and the infrastructure supports it. Before a final comprehensive plan adoption takes place, citizens should feel comfortable knowing they have a plan that takes their input into consideration and provides them with clarity in regards to growth-area specifics, sewer extension, quality of life issues, and traffic and safety concerns. The plan should reflect the integrity of previous plans while continuing to promote the qualities that have made Talbot County the beautiful and prosperous place it is today.   Josh Hastings, Policy Manager Eastern Shore Land Conservancy

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Chestertown Farm preserved forever

Ed and Marian Fry and their son Matt, and his wife Meg, are again expanding operations on their dairy farm, 54 years after Ed’s father first established the farm in Kent County. The expansion is made possible with an easement by Eastern Shore Land Conservancy and Maryland Environmental Trust. Putting land under easement fulfilled a couple objectives for the family, said Matt. The farming business and the land were owned by different entities. A corporation owns the business, and a limited partnership consisting of extended family members not involved in the business owned the land. Selling a scenic conservation easement on the farm allowed Matt and Meg buy the land. It also helped meet the vision his grandfather would have laid out for the land – that it stay a working farm. In the 1960s, Matt’s grandfather, Ed’s father, moved away from his dairy farm in Montgomery County and started his farm in Kent County. Montgomery County was growing, and he knew he would not be able to farm the way he wanted to for very long. The sale was satisfying for extended family members, as well. Although they did not want to encumber the farm to pay for major building improvements for the farming operation, they did want farming to continue on the land in the manner their grandfather intended. The easement allowed them to get their value from the property and see the farm remain profitable. “This is what we call the home farm here,” Marian said of the dairy and organic grain operation outside of Chestertown. Matt and Meg, both Virginia Tech graduates, settled in Kent County to farm. Matt has been farming with his parents since 2007. He now manages the dairy herd and also participates in management decisions for the larger farm. The Frys recently expanded the dairy herd. Now, 470 cows are milked

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Land and a beetle, preserved

Eastern Shore Land Conservancy this year helped protect more than 170 acres on Girl Scouts of the Chesapeake Bay’s Camp Grove Point in Earleville. The property’s 2,200 feet of eroding cliffs at the mouth of the Sassafras River provide unique habitat needed by the federally threatened Puritan tiger beetle, a creature smaller than the tip of a fingernail yet a fierce predator in the insect world. “We are taking a significant step forward in recovering the Puritan tiger beetle, whose largest global population is found in the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland,” said Genevieve LaRouche, Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Chesapeake Bay Field Office. “This partnership illustrates the important role of local groups and landowners in the conservation of our rare native wildlife.” Every year, hundreds of Girl Scouts attend day and residential summer camps and participate in troop camping throughout the year. “Good stewardship of our land is an important part of Girl Scouting,” said Anne T. Hogan, CEO of Girl Scouts of Chesapeake Bay. “Rich with diverse wetlands and upland forests of oak, tulip poplar, beech and hickory, the new easement will permanently protect the area’s sensitive ecosystem,” said Maryland Department of Natural Resources Secretary Joe Gill. “By preserving this critical landscape we can help guarantee the future of the Puritan tiger beetle, as well as … osprey, eagle, deer, fox and many migratory songbirds.” Permanent protection of this land will help meet one of the federal criteria required for recovery of this species—to stabilize six large sub-populations and their habitats in the Chesapeake Bay. With the protections on the Girl Scout property, four sub-populations will be protected in Maryland. “Preservation of this property not only means protection of a unique ecological site,” said Jared Parks, Eastern Shore Land Conservancy Land Protection Specialist. “It preserves a place where generations of girls can go to explore the outdoors and learn about nature with

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