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On December 1st the Maryland Board of Public Works approved an award of $2,217,053.00 to the Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust (PTLT) to acquire conservation easements in the Huntersville Rural Legacy Area in Northern St. Mary’s County. PTLT plans to apply this funding toward acquiring conservation easements on several important properties including a 437-acre waterfront parcel that will significantly help protect the environment and wildlife habitat in St. Mary’s County.
PTLT asks any property owners in the Huntersville Rural Area who may be interested in the conservation easement purchase program, or have questions, to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 301-862-3421.
(Corporate Donor) in Italics
Frank & Christina Allen
LEGACY DONORS (OVER $1200)
Coles Family Foundation
Gita Van Heerden
CONSERVER (OVER $500)
Toyota of Southern Maryland
Corn Crib Studio & Publishing
Robert and Eula Prine
Diep Nguyen-van Houtte
SPONSOR (OVER $300)
PATRON (OVER $150)
Phil Hayward and Polly Lange
Len and Karen Zuza
The Good Earth Natural Foods Store
Thank you to Rose Thorne,
a HERITAGE DONOR
and a new PTLT easement holder of protected land!
Lyme disease, Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis, Powassan Virus disease, Borellis miyamotoi disease, Borrelis mayonii disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Alpha Gal. All these maladies are carried by ticks. The problem (and the suffering) is getting worse.
All appear to come from the environment. A genetic study by Yale School of Public Health found that Lyme has been endemic in eastern North American forests for at least 60,000 years, longer than people have been known to be here. Yet, it wasn’t until 1975 that the first case of Lyme was “discovered” in Old Lyme, Connecticut. Alpha Gal was first reported in 2002. Since then, the number of victims of Alpha Gal has exploded. All these diseases are at a minimum debilitating and at worst fatal.
Why have these diseases suddenly appeared in the population to cause such suffering? There are a few clues, beginning with human activities, such as forest management and wildlife management.
Example of wildlife management: White-tailed deer almost became extinct at the start of the Twentieth Century, only to be reintroduced in the 1920s. In the last few decades, their numbers have soared, and as a result, tick numbers have also exploded, since the ticks now have plenty of food on the hoof.
Forest management: Before the colonists arrived, the indigenous population managed the land through controlled burning of the forests. This practice favored such fire-resistant trees as oaks at the expense of fire-sensitive trees, such as maples.
Recently the Nature Conservancy has undertaken controlled burns on some of its Maryland properties. These properties, in the western part of the state and in the Delmarva region, have since experienced better control of invasive plants, reemergence of natives, and greatly reduced tick populations.
Similarly, the Audubon Society’s North Carolina chapter staff undertakes controlled burns on its 3,000-acre Donal C. O’ Brien Jr. Sanctuary on Currituck Sound near Corolla. From late winter through early April they burn a third of its marsh grass in a yearly rotating pattern that allows wildlife to shift to other parts of the property. They consider the burns essential in providing food, shelter, and nesting material needed for birds to survive. The practice mimics nature’s renewal cycle aided by lightning strikes that ignite the grasses.
Since cures for tick-borne diseases currently range from difficult to impossible, it makes sense to reduce risk of acquiring these diseases through such practices. Strategic burns are much more beneficial than eradicating ticks by pesticides, which are expensive and devastating to nearby forest and aquatic dwellers.
“It’s time to consider reducing tick populations using an ecosystem approach with a combination of wildlife management and controlled burning in our fields, brushlands, and forests,” says Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust President Frank Allen. “As an asthmatic, I believe that controlled burning is one of the few forms of combustion that should have a place in our communities.”
Frank Allen is President of the Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust. For more information on the controlled burns in Maryland, visit: Nature Conservancy. For more information on the Audubon Society’s North Carolina chapter burn program, visitPine Island Audubon Center. For more information on ticks and tick-borne diseases, visit: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
On December 9th the Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust closed on yet another easement: a 56-acre property on Medleys Neck Road in Leonardtown owned by the Thorne family.
This beautiful parcel consists of nontidal wetlands, forests, and roughly three acres of cleared land for the farmstead and a farm field. Two primary nontidal streams flow through the forested area, providing approximately 3,400 linear feet of forested riparian buffer. The wooded section includes dense stands of laurel, holly, and some specimen-sized trees of varying species. There are also as many as several acres of healthy stands of lycopodium (club moss).
The Navy, through its REPI program (Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration), provided funding for half of the value of this conservation easement while the Thornes generously provided a donation for the balance. After closing, PTLT will co-hold the easement with the Navy and with Maryland Environmental Trust to protect the property in perpetuity.
Rose Thorne recalls fond memories of growing up on the property with her siblings and playing in the woods. She says the Thornes are not only thrilled to be able to protect this land for future generations but also as a remembrance of their parents for giving them such a lovely place to grow up.
Check donations can be mailed to:
P.O. Box 1955
Leonardtown, MD 20650
or donate online:
An effort to encourage “bird-friendly” hay management on Southern Maryland hay farms is now under way under the auspices “Saving Southern Maryland’s Grassland Birds”, a collaborative that includes the Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust (PTLT) as well as the Farmers Feeding Southern Maryland, Historic Sotterley Inc.. Two hay farmers – Joe Goldsmith and BJ Bowling – are coordinating with PTLT board member David Moulton to test “bird-friendly” haying approaches on a 75 acre private hayfield just north of Historic Sotterley. “The Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust is proud to be part of this attempt to find solutions that protect threatened grassland bird species,” says PTLT president Frank Allen. The Eastern Meadowlark and the Grasshopper Sparrow are two species in steep decline which depend both on preserving our hayfields and on managing them with an eye towards nature. Nests can easily be destroyed when using conventional haying techniques, but changing mowing heights, patterns and timing can give these threatened birds a chance to breed successfully and the hay farmers a chance to hay successfully. For more information about this initiative, visit the website at “Bird-friendly-farming.org”.
Credit: Bill Hubick
Join PTLT and Friends SATURDAY Feb. 5, 2022, to help remove invasive vines and plants to help restore the woodland. We take the warmer months off to avoid biting insects like ticks. This is a "winter sport." Dogs and children welcome :)
Bring clippers, hand saw, clippers, or your favorite tool. Wear appropriate clothing including work gloves, hat, and protective eyewear. It's a great way to get some Vit. D and fresh air, socially outdoor distanced activity, and do something good for your community...
Questions? Call Frank at 301-862-3421
When; Saturday, Feb. 5, 2022
9:00 AM to 12:00
Myrtle Point Park, 24050 Patuxent Blvd., California, MD 20619
Bottled water and snacks provided
STARTING SOON! A favorite activity for volunteers of PTLT is to hike/monitor one of our many beautiful easement properties. Monitoring is only done once a year, in the winter months. You will be trained by an existing volunteer first time around. Then you can be assigned another property(s), as you wish. Take some photos, enjoy the beautiful scenery, and get a little exercise walking. For more information, or to sign up to be a volunteer monitor, contact, Robert Willey, PTLT Monitor Coordinator.
Rebecca Benton, St. Inigoes, MD, a long time supporter of Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust, donated to Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust in memory of "Dabney" Lloyd Edgar Kisner, Jr., age 100 and a lifelong restaurateur, hunter, fisherman, centurion, and Uncle.
As a teenager, Dabney helped his father build Kisner's Store Building where the family lived upstairs and ran the general store downstairs. He graduated from Green Bank High School where he played football.
In 1942, he entered Army Boot Camp and in 1943 received his "Wings" from flight school in Texas. In 1943 he flew his first mission from Earls Colne, England as a bombardier/navigator. After this mission he also was a co-pilot in a 5-man crew. On December 13, 1943 Dabney was shot down over Europe but it made it back to White Cliffs where the crew parachuted out. He landed in a minefield but US soldiers carried him on a stretcher unconscious to the hospital. On Dec. 24 he was released and on Christmas Day 1943 he flew another mission and then 48 more. On May 25, 1944 his B-26 was shot down over Liege, Belgium. He was rescued by the Belgium Resistance and hidden in several locations over the next 5 months. He worked with the Belgium Resistance as he helped them identify the US airplanes or enemy planes at night by the sounds of the motors. He was often hidden behind a closet door or in an attic.
PTLT co-holds an environmental easement on the Oak Hill property, now used for a truly inspirational purpose.
One of only a handful of African American falconers in the country, Rodney Stotts is on a mission to build a bird sanctuary and provide access to nature for his stressed community. This is a story of second chances: for injured birds of prey, for an abandoned plot of land, for a group of teenagers who have dropped out of high school, and for Rodney himself.
See full episode HERE.
Wonder what the Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust is all about? Watch this video and learn the history and philosophy behind our organization.
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) .