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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Reimagining Carter Farm, Centreville

The Eastern Shore Land Conservancy (ESLC) has worked since 1990 to preserve and sustain the communities of the Eastern Shore, and the lands and waters that connect them.  Toward this mission, we have helped protect over 57,000 acres of prime agricultural and natural lands, which in partnership with other conservation efforts means nearly a quarter of our rural lands are protected.  More recently, ESLC launched a program called the Center for Towns that endeavors to provide support and actions that help advance our region’s small towns as strong, vibrant, and well-defined places. From this lens of growing strong small towns, ESLC views the development of the Carter Farm as one of the most important opportunities that exists for growing a vibrant Centreville.  The Carter Farm is an approximately 72 acre site comprised of two parcels in Centreville, Maryland.  The properties, currently zoned for residential development with an approved 138 unit subdivision, include a mix of open field and forested land in the Critical Area. After nearly two decades of interest, ESLC has secured a six-month option to purchase the properties.  Our goal during the next six-months is to allow for a community visioning and transparent public process, creation of a set of criteria and performance standards for future development, and development of a master plan that incorporates protection of natural features while supporting development that is consistent with the scale, pace and character of Centreville. In addition to public input, we will work with renowned design and development professionals, to generate ideas and innovations that can help make this project design a valuable asset for the Centreville community. While we are working towards a more determinant vision, we will be considering long-term impacts for Centreville, connection and value to the full community, connectivity and transportation, environmental protection, and public access.  Preliminary ideas include leveraging

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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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Maintenance of Grass Buffers

Though I am now the Land Protection Specialist at Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, in a former life, I was a wildlife research technician and field crew leader for many bird related field studies and as fate would have it, many of those studies were on restored grasslands that were enrolled in Federal conservation programs such as CRP and CREP. During my time studying these grasslands, I noticed, with but few exceptions, that these grasslands were all mowed on or shortly after August 15th of each year. When considering the rules of these programs, this practice, by and large, is in keeping with the rules of the programs. However, when looking at the practice from a wildlife standpoint, the reasoning behind the early mowing is not particularly sound. In many areas of Maryland, grasslands are not the historic land cover, therefore it takes a certain amount of management to keep the areas meadow. The Federal program in general and the maintenance recommendations in MD specifically require that, once established, these areas must remain in herbaceous cover (grass and forbs) for the entire length of the contract (typically either 10 or 15 years). Prescribed fire, mowing and strip disking are a few of the recommended management techniques that are necessary to maintain these meadows as grasslands. There is no avoiding this reality. As well the programs require that noxious weeds be controlled by approved mechanical and/or chemical methods. Though the noxious weed treatments can largely be done at any time of the year, the general maintenance of the grasslands, including mowing and prescribed burns, are restricted to the non-nesting season for grassland and scrub-shrub bird species between August 15th and April 15th each year. This 8 month window is a fairly generous time-frame for management, but it only protects nesting birds from being

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Abend Hafen

Rick and Kathy Abend, owners of Abend Hafen Farm in Dorchester County, have been members of ESLC since 1992.  The German name of their farm translates to “Evening Haven.” The preserved 106-acre sanctuary is well named, as it is certainly a haven for the Abends as well as their dogs, cat and chickens. The Abends grow corn and soybeans, and they steward the forested areas of their property for wildlife habitat and for timber. After a recent harvest, they planted thousands of pine seedlings, among which oak and other hardwoods have sprouted. As the forest grows, the hardwoods will provide mast such as acorns for turkey and deer.  A large pond and shallow impoundments are frequented by wood ducks and other waterfowl, while nesting platforms invite osprey and eagles. Rick first learned of ESLC when he was teaching a class about quail. There he met Rob Etgen, Executive Director of ESLC, who was invited to speak about conservation easements. With the rich diversity of habitats he was creating on his farm, Rick was considering how he might preserve the environmental legacy he was creating there and was intrigued by the idea of protecting the land in perpetuity. Rick was pleased that he could write into his conservation plan timber harvest, along with protection of wildlife habitat.  The Abends did protect their land, and have been proud ESLC members ever since.

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