Scenic Rivers Land Trust and Anne Arundel County Protect 174 Acres of Forest
Innovative County Grant Program Encourages Landowners to Conserve Forested Land
Annapolis, Md. (June 25, 2019) — Scenic Rivers Land Trust, working with funding from Anne Arundel County’s Forestry and Forested Land Protection Grant Program which is administered by the Chesapeake Bay Trust, has permanently protected an additional 174 acres of forested land in Anne Arundel County by working with two separate landowners to place conservation easements on their properties in Crownsville, forever protecting the ecologically valuable land from development.
“Far too many forests have been lost in Anne Arundel County, so protecting and expanding our remaining forests is essential for our community’s health and well-being,” said County Executive Steuart Pittman. “I’m proud of our partnership with the Chesapeake Bay Trust. Together we are able to fund large-scale forest preservation efforts like those championed by Scenic Rivers Land Trust.”
The two easements include a 93-acre property in the Severn River watershed owned by a local homeowner’s association and landowner Inge Caldwell’s 81-acre property in the South River watershed. Both properties are designated by Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources as Targeted Ecological Areas, a designation given to forests and other areas that are a high priority for preservation. These mature forests are a vital component of a healthy ecosystem and essential for clean air and water and wildlife habitat. The Caldwell property, for example, is in Audubon’s South River Greenway Important Bird Area, designated as such because of the area’s diverse assemblage of Forest Interior Dwelling Species, or birds requiring large intact patches of forest for nesting and breeding. The homeowner’s association property contains two historical sites, a rare bog that is home to several endangered plant species, and 1,000 feet of scenic forested road frontage along Generals Highway.
The grant program, which is funded by fee-in-lieu funds generated from the Forest Conservation Act, is also supporting the planting of 5 acres of trees on the Caldwell property, increasing the forest cover on the property, which currently has 12 acres of fields.
“Our ability to conserve more land faster is amplified by this innovative grant program,” said Scenic Rivers’ executive director Rick Leader. “We are thankful for the County’s commitment to protecting our forested lands and for the landowners who partner with us to ensure that we pass on a thriving, healthy community to the next generation.”
Scenic Rivers now holds 68 conservation easements in Anne Arundel County for a total of 3,057 acres.