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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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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A moral responsibility

Pope Francis' call to action should spur us all to look at the effect of our consumer lifestyles. Last week the Vatican released Pope Francis' encyclical, the Church’s highest level of teaching, on the environment. Reaching far beyond one religion, Francis called on “every person living on this planet” to recognize the effects that two hundred years of industrialization have had on our environment. He accentuated the moral obligation we have to conserve our natural resources for future generations. The message of moral responsibility to our grandchildren and their grandchildren is one that has been downplayed by the environmental movement for the last twenty years. It was replaced by economic arguments demonstrating that protecting the environment and cutting greenhouse gases will have greater benefits to society than the sum of their dollar costs. These economic arguments arose out of a need to convince policymakers and CEO’s that going green can strengthen their bottom line. The roots of conservation and stewardship dating back to John Muir, Teddy Roosevelt, and Aldo Leopold, have a strong theme of using only what we need and protecting the rest for future generations. Before that, many of the Native American nations hewed to the Seven Generations principle that important decisions must honor those seven generations in the past and consider the well-being of those seven generations in the future. Today, thousands of backpackers and outdoor enthusiasts follow "Leave No Trace" practices when they are in nature. The Pope is calling for this sense of moral and personal responsibility to become common habits of our daily lifestyles. Francis is correct that today’s consumerism is devouring natural resources and creating waste at a rate that will leave our grandchildren with a planet our grandparents would scarcely recognize. He urges “Humanity [to] recognize the need for changes of lifestyle, production and consumption”. What

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2015 Legislate Session Overview

The 2015 legislative session ended last week, but started with a new administration and more than 60 new legislators all working to decrease the $650 million structural deficit. ESLC was curious to see what Governor Hogan’s budget would hold for farmland and rural protection programs. “It could have been worse”- is the general feeling as the 2015 legislative session ended. While cuts were not as extreme as they could have been Program Open Space, Maryland Agriculture Land Preservation Foundation (MALPF) and the Rural Legacy program all suffered, with the biggest hits occurring to MALPF and Rural Legacy. Governor Hogan’s budget cut $115 million in funds available this year for farmers, parks, and more. According to the Partners for Open Space, since the inception of this program more than $1 billion has been diverted for other uses. The final numbers for rural funds allocated for rural conservation programs are: $21.6 million for POS Stateside, $30.1 million for POS Local, $9.37 million for Rural Legacy, $17.04 million for MALPF and $22.45 million for cover crops. Next year we hope to see much more investment into rural prosperity. ESLC will be looking to support legislation on renewable energy that fits into our rural environments, as well as supporting legislation that works to help smart growth and prosperity in rural regions. We will again be advocating for full funding for Program Open Space, smart growth programs and the Rural Maryland Prosperity Investment fund because without these programs we wouldn’t have the rural working landscapes we work to protect. For more information on the 2015 legislative session click here

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Through their Watershed Implementation Plans (WIPs), Eastern Shore Counties are playing a pivotal leadership role in saving the Chesapeake Bay.  The Eastern Shore has emerged at the forefront of all the rural regions in the Chesapeake Bay watershed for your WIP work.  However, there are serious challenges ahead to get the job done.  From the counties, continued action is needed.  And ESLC, our partners, and the State need to build a net of funding and support for our local governments.  Together we can meet this challenge with the resourcefulness and ingenuity that makes us the Eastern Shore.

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Farm Bill

ESLC joined the efforts of the Land Trust Alliance to secure a new Farm Bill that embraces the successful model of helping land trusts purchase perpetual conservation easements from willing landowners. These easements secure food and fiber, clean water, wildlife habitat, and our rural heritage – a good investment for future generations of farmers, ranchers, and all Americans.

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Recent Posts

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  • Spotlight: Ben Tilghman
  • Harboring Plans for Cambridge
  • What is a Mosaic?
  • Q & A: Brad Rogers, South Baltimore Gateway Partnership
  • Sponsorship Spotlight: PRS Guitars
  • Cloudy with a Chance of Carbon Emissions
  • Roots Monthly Giving Spotlight: Amanda Thornley
  • Big Changes on the Horizon for the CREP Easement Program
  • Trails Get a Boost Across the Shore
  • Seven Legislative Efforts That Could Impact Eastern Shore Land Use and Preservation
  • Land Protection for All
  • Board Spotlight: Jules Hendrix
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  • Saving Maryland’s Tidal Salt Marshes