Leonardtown, Maryland– The Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust is proposing to expand the Huntersville Rural Legacy Area creating the St. Mary’s Greenway of protected forests, farmland, and headwater streams connecting the Patuxent and Potomac River watersheds as they lead to the Chesapeake Bay.
The Southern Maryland land conservation organization, Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust, Inc. has proposed an expansion of the Huntersville Rural Legacy Area creating a north-south greenway across the peninsula which includes forested interior and coastal areas, headwater streams and steep slopes connecting the watersheds of the Patuxent and Potomac Rivers from Coatigan Creek to the Brooks Run branch of the McIntosh Run. The current Huntersville Rural Legacy Area comprises 8,897 acres, of which approximately 5,370 are held in conservation by PTLT and its partners. The proposed expansion would add more than 5,900 acres of agricultural and forested land protecting twelve headwater streams and associated steep slopes and wetlands across the central part of the county.
PTLT is seeking interested landowners who may want to sell a conservation easement on their 15-acre or larger parcels of land within the existing or expanded Rural Legacy Area. Properties within the Rural Legacy Area may qualify for conservation easement purchase funding through Maryland’s Rural Legacy Program (RLP). The RLP creates public-private partnerships between landowners, local land trusts, and local governments to determine the best ways to preserve critically important farm and forest lands through the purchase of conservation easements which limit future development options for the property.
The current Huntersville RLA was established in 1996 and includes 12 miles of Patuxent River shoreline between Trent Hall Creek and Horse Landing. The proposed expansion will capture larger tracts of land from Coatigan Run to Cole Creek on the northeast and include portions of the McIntosh Run, southwest of Rt. 235. This will include the headwaters of 12 streams including a portion of the Brooks Run tributary to the Mcintosh Run. These headwater stram systems feed the Patuxent and Potomac rivers and their protection aids the water quality in the Chesapeake Bay. The area has significant agricultural, forestry, ecological and cultural value, including threatened and endangered species habitat, wetlands, forested steep slopes, and cultural resource sites. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Smithsonian Center for natural Areas has designated portions of the streams within the proposed expansion area as “critical wildlife habitat in need of protection.”
The proposed expansion aligns with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s Patuxent River Regional Conservation Partnership, the Department of Defense Remediation and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) program implemented by the U.S Navy, and St. Mary’s County’s rural land preservation goals, as well as those of Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources.
The Backyard Buffers program provides a FREE “buffer in a bag” to help homeowners get started in planting trees along their streamside. The bag includes native tree and shrub bare-root seedlings, approximately 1-2 feet in height. Bundles include: white, red, and chestnut oak; gray dogwood; and red bud seedlings. These tree species need to be planted in an area of well-drained soil and full sun.
Small Bundle = 9 seedlings
Intended for properties with minimum of 350 sq ft. available space. Includes a mix of the five tree species listed.
Large Bundle = 15 seedlings
Intended for properties with approximately 0.5 acres available space for planting. Includes 3 seedlings of each species.
St. Mary’s County landowners who have a drainage ditch, stream, creek, or river flowing through their property, or live adjacent to such a waterway. This program is for smaller landowners who are not eligible for agricultural cost-share programs.
Contact Nicole Basenback at email@example.com or 301-475-4484 to reserve your bundle!
Pickup your reserved bundle: Saturday, April 20, 2019 from 10am-1pm Agriculture Service Center, 26737 Radio Station Way, Suite C Leonardtown, MD 20650