Crownsville, Maryland - The Maryland Environmental Trust (MET) has received the largest conservation easement in its 42-year history. Mrs. Louisa Duemling has donated a 2,894-acre easement to MET and the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, Inc., forever protecting the scenic open space, agricultural and forestland, known as Andelot Farm in Kent County. At its Wednesday meeting, the Board of Public Works ratified the donation of the perpetual conservation easement to MET.
"On behalf of the present and future citizens of Maryland, I want to thank Mrs. Duemling for her extraordinary generosity and vision in preserving this magnificent property," said Governor Martin O'Malley.
The property includes approximately 1,087 acres of forest, 1,692 acres of tilled land and 50 acres of freshwater ponds. The easement will also preserve a 200-foot vegetative buffer strip along 9.2 miles of the Chesapeake Bay, Churn Creek, Tims Creek, Worton Creek and Still Pond, protecting water quality and riparian wildlife habitat. In addition, the property contains high quality habitat for several threatened and endangered species, including the Delmarva fox squirrel.
To the south across Worton Creek, Andelot Farm adjoins the 632-acre Copeland Biddle easement held by MET. Directly across Smithville Road, Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation (MALPF) holds a 41-acre easement, and several other MET and MALPF easements are nearby. Located partially within the Sassafras Rural Legacy Focus Area, Andelot's size, amount of waterfront, and the presence of rare, threatened or endangered species, make it a high-priority project.
"Mrs. Duemling's exceptional gift is all the more appreciated because time is running out," said Elizabeth Buxton, Director of Maryland Environmental Trust. "Experts predict that within 10 to 20 years, our State will be so developed that significant easements the size and environmental value of Andelot Farm will no longer be possible."
A statewide land trust governed by a citizen board of trustees and affiliated with the Department of Natural Resources, the Maryland Environmental Trust was established in 1967 by the Maryland General Assembly to preserve privately owned farm and forest lands and significant natural resources. MET is one of the oldest and most successful land trusts in the country. It holds 1000 easements and has protected over 122,000 acres across the State. MET promotes the protection of open land through its Land Conservation Program, Monitoring and Stewardship Program and Local Land Trust Assistance Program. MET also provides grants to environmental education projects through the Keep Maryland Beautiful Program. For more information, visit www.dnr.maryland.gov/met.
The Board of Public Works, which is comprised of Governor O'Malley, Treasurer Nancy Kopp and Comptroller Peter Franchot, is authorized by the General Assembly to approve major construction and consultant contracts, equipment purchases, property transactions, and other procurement actions.