FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE The Board of Public Works today unanimously approved the Maryland Department of Natural Resources acquisition of 1,172 acres in Queen Anne’s County for the development of a new Wildlife Management Area that will provide conservation, habitat and recreation benefits, including birding, hiking, hunting and trapping. The department worked in cooperation with the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy (ESLC) on the acquisition. The new area will be managed by the Wildlife and Heritage Service. The acquisition near Church Hill will permanently protect agricultural fields, mature forested uplands, and stream corridors that currently provide excellent water quality protection. The property functions as a headwater catch basin that drains into Brown’s Branch, a tributary of Southeast Creek on the Chester River. “This acquisition is an exciting win for both conservation advocates as well as outdoor enthusiasts,” Maryland Natural Resources Secretary Mark Belton said. “This large and incredibly beautiful property on the Upper Eastern Shore will protect ecologically-sensitive habitat while providing the public an excellent location for outdoor recreation, especially hunting or trapping.” The Program Open Space acquisition will protect the uncommonly high diversity of fauna and flora found in the upland areas of the property, which provide essential habitat for migratory songbirds, pollinators and small mammals. “This farm has been one of our highest priorities for conservation for more than two decades,“ ESLC President Rob Etgen said. “It includes a huge area of prime farmland, and the streams are the largest remaining chunk of unprotected habitat for several endangered wildlife species. I am incredibly excited about this farm and grateful to the Hogan Administration for their support and stewardship.”
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
Help protect Program Open Space by telling your legislator to follow the law and add bond funding back into the budget. The future of Maryland’s precious farms, open spaces, and priceless ecological resources depends on you! Find your Maryland State Legislator here:http://1.usa.gov/1h6rWKI Maryland can't afford to lose open space funding – especially now! We’ve already lost $1 billion that was intended for buying land, at a time when land prices are low. Now the state legislature may vote to divert more funding away from protecting the land we need for our future. Maryland taxpayers pay to preserve land for parks, recreation and farmland across the state through Program Open Space, funded by a dedicated portion of the real estate transfer tax. In previous years, when the economy was tough, some DIRECT FUNDING was DIVERTED but replaced with bond funding. In this year's proposed budget, however, the direct funding is being diverted WITHOUT the necessary bond repayment, putting future funding in jeopardy.
ANNAPOLIS — Today, Eastern Shore Land Conservancy released its 2014 State Legislative Agenda calling for major investments in rural Maryland, robust land conservation funding, and continued support for locally produced renewable energy projects. Some of the items in the agenda include support for continued conservation program funding, support for the Rural Maryland Prosperity Investment Fund, support for a Cross-Bay Travel Alternatives Study bill, and support for the 2014 Community Renewable Energy Generation bill. ESLC’s agenda points out that conservation monies support much more than farms and scenic landscapes and that these funds help support hunting grounds, parks, bike paths, public access sites and more. “We need to support our farms and resource-based industries here on the Shore, and we can do that through the support for Rural Legacy, Program Open Space, and Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation funding”, said ESLC Policy Manager Josh Hastings. In addition to support for expansion of Maryland Wildlands, the agenda calls for the Maryland General Assembly to pass a Cross-Bay Travel Alternatives study bill which its says could help alleviate Bay Bridge traffic congestion while evaluating options for private investment in cross bay travel. ESLC’s white paper on transportation is available under Public Policy Resources at eslc.org. “How we travel in our rural region is a critical piece of our quality of life,” said ESLC Deputy Director Amy Owsley. “We hope to help focus attention on how best to make the most of our infrastructure through investments in transit and transportation policy innovations. Creativity and partnerships would go a long way to easing some of our most pressing transportation challenges.” ESLC also supports the 2014 Community Renewable Energy bill, which is said to allow Maryland farms and other rural businesses to install renewable-energy-generating devices such as solar panels or a wind turbine and share the energy credits among neighboring subscribers. These
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