The Maryland Board of Public Works has approved preservation of one of the largest privately-owned contiguous forestlands in Maryland, a 4,769 acre-property located in Worcester County.
“Today we took advantage of a historical opportunity to permanently protect a great natural treasure on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, one that offers boundless outdoor recreation and sustainable, green job opportunities,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “Protecting this invaluable wildlife habitat and pristine landscape is a legacy that Maryland’s families expect and deserve, and the wisest use of our Program Open Space funds.”
Located in the Nassawango Creek and Pocomoke River watersheds, the Foster property borders the state’s certified sustainably-managed Chesapeake State Forests, and received one of the highest ecological rankings to date under the Governor’s new Program Open Space targeting system. Five rare, threatened and endangered wildlife and plant species, including White-fringed orchids, inhabit the property.
“One of the most precious legacies we can leave our children is a beautiful landscape that they can value as much as we do,” Congressman Wayne Gilchrest who helped secure federal funding for the acquisition. “Bald eagles soar and scarlet tanagers fly free amidst the loblolly pines, bald cypress and old oaks on this breathtaking property.”
The property, preserved through collaboration among The Nature Conservancy, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, State Highway Administration, Maryland Department of General Services and the U.S. Department of Transportation will be purchased for $14,400,000 that includes funds from state-side Program Open Space and $5,110,609 in federal SAFETEA funds. The average cost per acre is just over $3,000. A map of the property will be online at www.dnr.maryland.gov/dnrnews.
“The Foster property is just such a priority, and its protection by the State, together with The Nature Conservancy’s holdings at our Nassawango Creek Preserve, will create an expansive natural gem that future generations of Marylanders will be able to enjoy for years to come,” said Nat Williams, Director of The Nature Conservancy of Maryland/DC.