Wonder what the Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust is all about? Watch this video and learn the history and philosophy behind our organization.
Leonardtown, Maryland – On the day Isaias hit St. Mary’s County, Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust (PTLT) closed on one of its most significant easements to date —77.51 culturally and naturally significant acres in Great Mills, St. Mary’s County.
PTLT started working early in 2018 with the property’s owners, Bob, Allan and Mike Cecil, to acquire a conservation easement to the Clifton Factory property. Funding came from Program Open Space of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
The property, now protected forever, is located immediately adjacent to the southern end of the St. Mary’s River State Park where the river flows beneath Indian Bridge Rd. It includes land at the confluence at the mainstem of the St. Mary’s River and two of its western branches. Mostly forested, a large portion of the property lies within a Sensitive Species Project Review Area, and much of it is Forest Interior Dwelling Species habitat. Its river sections support freshwater mussels, fish, and macro-invertebrates.
The tract includes significant cultural resources, including pre-colonial and early colonial occupation and industry. This property adjoins the Cecil’s Mill Historic District, a national historic district consisting of Cecil’s Mill, Cecil’s Country Store, the old Cecil home, and Old Holy Face Church. The newly protected land is believed to include sites that played a role in the early mills and factories of Southern Maryland which contributed to the area being named Great Mills. An early colonial potter operated on a portion of the property, using a rare purple clay quarried from the site.
“It’s not often that PTLT has an opportunity to protect such an ecologically and culturally significant tract of land,” said the organization’s president, Frank Allen. “The Cecil brothers showed remarkable patience, given project delays due to the pandemic. I’m appreciative of the many volunteer hours of work by Bob Prine of PTLT; Also thanks to Program Open Space’s Cheryl Wise, as well as Michele Snyder and Bill McKissick of the Dugan, McKissick & Longmore law firm to make this project work.”
Bill Clements with the machinery that he restored in Cecil's Mill.
Benefits of a Conservation Easement
(Excerpt from www.mylandplan.org, American Forest Foundation)
Every conservation easement is a unique legal agreement, written specifically to fit your needs and goals. You can set up a conservation easement to:
Whether you place all or only part of your property into a conservation easement, you can expect to benefit from the agreement in several ways.
Estate tax benefits. A conservation easement that removes your land’s development potential typically lowers its market value—and that means lower taxes for the landowner. That can significantly reduce estate taxes when you pass on your property to the next generation, making it easier to keep the land in the family and intact.
Property tax benefits. By lowering your land’s value, a conservation easement can also lower your property taxes.
State and federal tax benefits. If your conservation easement is permanent, was donated—not sold—to a land trust for conservation purposes, and meets certain other IRS conditions, it can qualify as a tax-deductible charitable donation that can reduce your state and federal income taxes. The easement is treated as a donation of the development rights to your land. That means the value of the donation (and the amount of the deduction you can claim) would be the difference between the property’s market value if its development were not restricted in any way, and its value with the easement’s restrictions in place.
Permanency and control. Most easements are permanent and crafted specifically to meet your goals. Their restrictions remain in force even when the land changes hands. With the right easement terms in place, you can have the peace of mind of knowing your land will be protected as you wish well beyond your lifetime.
Although conservation easements offer significant benefits, they are not for every landowner. There are some important points to keep in mind when you consider a conservation easement.
Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust holds conservation easement on properties in Southern Maryland where we purchase or accept donations of development rights on properties and impose other conservation-related restrictions on the land. We work closely with the landowner to make sure that easement terms are what the owner wishes – the conditions in the easement apply to all future landowners so this is the only way that landowners can be certain that the land will be kept the way that they want. It is very difficult to alter or terminate the easement, so this type of land protection is the best that exists. Other than restrictions that apply to the easement, the landowner still owns the property.
For more information, read more by our partner, Maryland Environmental Trust (MET) .
Becky Benton, beloved Friend of PTLT and open space in Southern Maryland, has made this beautiful quilt as a fundraiser for the Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust. We will be accepting bids starting at $500. The bidding will take place via silent auction, and the highest bidder by end-date October 15, 2020 will receive the quilt. All bids will be dated and time stamped. Don’t miss out on this incredible work of craftsmanship that will surely be cherished for generations to come!
Compass Rose Quilt
Mariners Compass Blocks are pre-1930’s
Top pieced by Becky Benton
Long Arm Machine Quilted by Cindy Miskolczi
Wool batting from Christina Allen’s sheep
Value $1200.00 (materials and quilting)
Number of bids: 2
Current bid amount - your bid must be higher than this: $600
Bidding information updated daily
While PTLT is an all-volunteer organization, we still have fixed annual costs. Besides individual member contributions, we rely on corporate donations to help with administrative needs and to allow us to do the actual work of preserving land in Southern Maryland.
Our most generous support in 2019 came from Wild Birds Unlimited of Lexington Park and Waldorf and Corncrib Studio in Park Hall.
We greatly appreciate the ongoing support from the Good Earth in Leonardtown, the Port of Leonardtown Winery, and Two Hens Feeds, Seeds, and Bees in Park Hall.
PTLT thanks Dominion Power and Nature Conservancy for their contributions. Their support allowed us to pay for contracted work necessary for completing easement work and for long-term stewardship expenses.
For more information on how your company or business can support land conservation in Southern Maryland, please contact PTLT President Frank Allen: Frank@PTLT.org.
Thank you to Becky Benton, organizer of the March 7 immensely successful French Stitch Bookbinding class. The proceeds from the event amounted to a $1442.80 check to benefit PTLT! Wow! Thank you!
Carol Morris and Margaret Mackie of Art Artcrossings led a great all day class. The extensive preparation for the class and instruction were superb. And a hearty thank you to Becky's husband, Fred (who is a superb cook), and provided a most delicious lunch. Good Samaritan Lutheran Church scheduled the class in the Fellowship Hall for patrons and instructors. Thank you to The Good Earth Natural Food Store, Leonardtown, for the tasty and healthy snacks.
It was a lot of work, but well worth it. A lot of beautiful new books were created and 16 more people have a new skill. Again thank you Becky, for your vision and hard work and Happy Birthday!
About a dozen Friends of PTLT and Hemlock Preserve showed up for the workday and hike on Saturday morning. It was cold but dry. All the hands made swift work repairing the stairway to the beach. The group went for a hike in the Preserve afterwards. It was a very skilled and interesting group of people. Thank you everyone! Many agreed we should do more of this here.
An interview with Merideth Taylor, author of Listening in: Echoes and Artifacts from Maryland’s Mother County.
Shortly after arriving at St. Mary’s College of Maryland in 1990 to teach dance and theater, Merideth Taylor set about exploring the backroads of Southern Maryland, camera in hand. Her forays would result in a 162-page book of photos and stories – Listening In: Echoes and Artifacts from Maryland’s Mother County.
Her book consists of brief entries accompanied by color photographs of one-of-a-kind built houses, stores, schoolhouses, churches, and barns – many far from their best years. Some still function, many are in advanced ruin, and some have since been demolished. Taylor’s stories depict imagined voices associated with each structure: children of tobacco workers, the young African American janitor at the schoolhouse at Sotterley Plantation, a moonshiner, a boardinghouse operator, and many more. Some voices are in the first person, others in the third person.
Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust (PTLT) saves land FOREVER. That is a long long time! This is one resolution we can keep with our New Year's Pledge to help save the land.
In the rush of pre-holiday season, if you didn't get around to sending in a donation to PTLT, here is your chance. And for every donation of $100 or more in 2020, you may ask for one of these beautiful world hangings by Mary's County, MD Artist Sarah Houde.
The hangings are made of the natural clay and copper wires, and then hand glazed and kiln fired.
They are suitable for indoor or outdoor use (with protection). The Earth disc is a slightly convex 4.5" wide X 9" (with dangles).
With your donation, please indicate if you want an Earth Hanging and where the hanging should be mailed. Mail checks to PTLT, P.O. Box 1955, Leonardtown, MD 20650. OR pay electronically with the DONATE button.
On behalf of the volunteers of Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust,
Happy New Year!
And Thank you.
If the death of a canary in a mine shaft is a sure warning to workers to evacuate the premises, what is the right human response to the net loss of 3 billion birds in our neighborhoods, fields and forests since 1970?
This question emerges urgently from research published in September by the journal Science, which analyzed trends in North American bird populations over the last 50 years and found that we are in the midst of a startling 30 percent decline in birdlife amounting to 3 billion fewer birds.
“These losses are a strong signal that our human-altered landscapes are losing their ability to support birdlife, and that is an indicator of a coming collapse of the overall environment,” said Ken Rosenberg, conservation scientist at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and lead author of the study.
The declines are even greater for species that require specialized habitat to breed, migrate, or winter successfully. Nearly a quarter of the loss is occurring in grassland species, for example, such as the Eastern Meadowlark and the Grasshopper Sparrow. Grassland species have suffered a 50 percent decline overall, and the decline is particularly acute in Eastern North America. Development sprawl on undisturbed land and resistance to no-till farming practices continue to degrade habitat in our area, where the vast majority of property remains private.
Are we condemned to watch our birdlife disappear? No. Not as long as we’re willing to act. What can be done?
For starters, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology has suggested “7 Simple Actions” that individuals can take to protect birdlife, such as treating window glass to avoid bird collisions, keeping cats indoors, and letting your land get a little wild with native plantings
In addition, if you own a piece of land, you can add “Simple Action Number 8” -- protect your own fields, forests or farmland. Loss of habitat is the most serious cause of bird declines. Over 90 percent of the land in Maryland is in private hands, not public parks or wildlife refuges, so private landowners must be part of the solution. The land you love can be protected forever if you attach a “conservation easement” to your deed. Such easements can be facilitated through your local land trust.
In St. Mary’s County, the Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust (PTLT) has protected over 5600 acres of private land working with more than 30 willing landowners and government partners. And if you’re not a landowner, you can still protect land by contributing to your land trust. That’s what Wild Birds Unlimited has done by supporting the Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust (PTLT). You can too.
Beautiful heavy gauge aluminum signs available for PTLT protected properties
The signs are a way to share with our neighbors the joy in saving land forever...for future generations.
Leonardtown, Maryland – In a unique partnership between conservation organizations and state and federal government, 67 acres of pristine Calvert County watershed have been preserved for future generations to enjoy.
The July 18 transaction spearheaded by the Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust and Cove Point Natural Heritage Trust involved the purchase of an easement to land along upper reaches of Hellen Creek near Lusby from The Nature Conservancy, which in turn donated the land to CPNHT. Monies for the easement came from the U.S. Navy’s Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration program (REPI). The easement will be jointly owned by the Maryland Environmental Trust and PTLT, which will be responsible for protecting terms of the easement in perpetuity. CPNHT, which has managed the land since 2006, will be responsible going forward for its care, including public access. Together with the Hellen Creek Preserve on the southern shore and the newly acquired Turner Road property on the northern there are more than 280 acres of protected property on Hellen Creek.
For more than 10 years, CPNHT, The Nature Conservancy, Calvert County, and the state of Maryland worked on the land transfer, which nearly died with a change in Maryland governors. PTLT entered the discussion by offering to leverage its relations with the Navy, which helps fund preservation of land beneath critical flight paths.
Hemlock Preserve’s 67 acres of natural features include upland woods, ravines, bluffs and marsh along Hellen Creek. It’s home to 50 species of birds, most notably Wild Turkey, Bald Eagle, Pileated Woodpecker, and several species of flycatchers and warblers. The preserve has the southernmost stand of Canadian hemlock on the eastern coastal plain. The stand is thought to be a relict community left behind by the last glaciers 15,000 years ago. Visitors also enjoy its plant life which includes trailing arbutus, winterberry, and mountain laurel in the interior, with marsh hibiscus, cardinal flower, and buttonbush down by the creek.
For more information on Hellen Creek Hemlock Preserve, visit the Cove Point Natural Heritage Trust website, http://www.covepoint-trust.org.
Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust’s mission is to sustain the region’s biodiversity and water resources through a network of protected landscapes. PTLT acquires land and conservation easements by purchase or donation. For more information, visit www.ptlt.org
Cove Point Natural Heritage Trust is a nonprofit Trust located in Calvert County. Founded in 1994, its mission is to preserve and protect ecologically sensitive sites in Southern Maryland through land conservation, acquisition, scientific research, and environmental education. For more information, visit www.covepoint-trust.org.
Frank Allen, President PTLT