Governor O'Malley Launches GreenPrint, Proposes Historic Land Conservation Acreage
Governor announces Rural Legacy Grants and proposes over 9,200 acres of conserved landscape
The Foster tract received the highest ecological ranking to date under the Governor's new Program Open Space targeting system.
Governor Martin O’Malley today launched GreenPrint, Maryland’s new, interactive mapping tool designed to help the State, local governments, conservation organizations, and individual citizens guide land conservation and growth. First conceived under the Governor’s BayStat Initiative, GreenPrint is an innovative, first of its kind planning tool, and centerpiece of Maryland: Smart, Green & Growing, a multi-agency, statewide initiative to create a more sustainable future for Marylanders by linking community revitalization, transportation improvements, economic development, smart growth and natural resources restoration.
“We live in times of great possibility and progress,” said Governor O’Malley. “Using the latest technology and harnessing the achievable hope of our great State’s potential for a more sustainable, healthy environment and economy, we’ve designed GreenPrint to help escalate smart growth and maximize our resources.”
“GreenPrint will revolutionize the way we make our land use decisions by allowing us to work together as One Maryland, using our resources more efficiently and assessing our landscape on parcel, block, neighborhood, watershed and ecosystem levels,” continued the Governor. “Accessible by every citizen, GreenPrint will help Marylanders take control of planning their communities’ and our State’s future.”
GreenPrint combines cutting edge technology with proven effective management principles Governor O’Malley implemented via StateStat and BayStat to achieve progress by setting goals and measuring success in addressing Maryland’s challenges – in this case, the challenges presented by the tremendous population growth projected for our State in the years ahead. Towson University's Center for Geographic Information Sciences played a pivotal role in developing GreenPrint with the State.
"GreenPrint is a strong, science-based tool for identifying the most important places to conserve in Maryland. This tool ensures that state resources are wisely spent on our most important natural areas," said Nat Williams, Director of The Nature Conservancy of Maryland/DC.
More than 150 conservation leaders and elected officials, including House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, joined Governor O’Malley for today’s historic announcements that included a proposal to acquire 9,242 acres of some of the most ecologically and historically significant forest, farm and shorelines in the State through Program Open Space, as well as the 2009 Rural Legacy grants. Together, more than eighty percent of these lands lie within a high priority conservation or targeted ecological focus areas and exemplify the benefit of GreenPrint. If approved by the Board of Public Works, these proposed acquisitions, will more than double the O’Malley-Brown Administration’s land conservation progress.
“Nothing less than a concerted conservation effort is needed to preserve valued state lands and ensure a healthier, more sustainable environment that benefits our communities,” stated Congressman Steny Hoyer. “Maryland has long been a leader in these efforts and today’s announcements mark important steps toward ensuring that future generations may experience and cherish the wonderful landscapes with which we have been blessed. I particularly want to commend Governor O’Malley, Secretary Griffin, and the Conservation Fund, for their efforts to conserve nearly 3,500 acres of environmentally sensitive and historic lands along the Potomac River in Charles and St. Mary’s Counties and look forward to partnering on these and other efforts in the future.”
Under Governor Martin O’Malley’s leadership, the State Highway Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, The Nature Conservancy, and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources hope to preserve the largest privately-owned forest parcel in the state. Located in the Nassawango Creek and Pocomoke River watersheds, the 4,769-acre Foster property borders the state’s certified sustainably-managed Pocomoke and Chesapeake State Forests, and received one of the highest ecological rankings to date under the Governor’s new Program Open Space targeting system.
“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,” added Williams.
The second acquisition, brokered by The Conservation Fund, would permanently protect 4,473+ acres known as the Maryland Province properties in St. Mary’s, Charles, and Cecil Counties. With 19+ miles of Potomac River waterfront and a majority of the land in continuous ownership since the early 1600s, the opportunity to safeguard wildlife habitat, forestland and water quality of the Chesapeake Bay on these ecologically and culturally significant properties may never arise again. Captain John Smith, as well as Native American communities and early Catholic leaders, traveled or lived on these lands and waters. Conservation of the Province properties would increase public access to the Chesapeake Bay as well as offer unique historical and environmental education opportunities as three of the parcels will serve as integral parts of the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail.
“The Conservation Fund is pleased to assist the State with the purchase of more than 4,000 acres of irreplaceable land -- land rich in history that becomes a legacy for Maryland’s citizens,” said Bill Crouch, Maryland representative of The Conservation Fund. “This project illustrates the value of GreenPrint and the wisdom of protecting historically and ecologically significant land for Marylanders to experience and enjoy. We commend the Governor’s commitment to protecting our heritage, even in times when budgets are tight. He knows that opportunities like this one come along only once in forever.”
Maryland Department of Natural Resources Secretary John R. Griffin, who chairs the Rural Legacy Advisory Board, announced that 20 counties will receive a combined total of $13,460,700 in Rural Legacy grants to help preserve agricultural, forestry, natural and cultural resources. (See chart linked below). Under Gov. O’Malley’s BayStat Initiative, land conservation investments are targeted to protect the most ecologically valuable properties that most directly impact Chesapeake Bay and local waterway health.
“These Rural Legacy grants help local governments and land trusts preserve Maryland’s scenic working landscapes, support sustainable, natural-resourced based local businesses, protect greenways, and maintain the fabric of rural life,” said Secretary Griffin.
Enacted by the General Assembly in 1997, Maryland’s Rural Legacy Program has provided more than $174.6 million to protect 60,882 acres of valuable farmland, forests, and natural areas. The 11-member Rural Legacy Advisory Committee and the Rural Legacy Board, which is comprised of Maryland’s Agriculture, Natural Resources and Planning Secretaries, reviews competitive grant applications annually.
Since taking office in January 2007, the O’Malley-Brown Administration has made steady progress to restore the health of the Bay including the creation of BayStat, an innovative tracking and targeting tool, creation of the Chesapeake Bay 2010 Trust Fund, passage landmark Clean Cars legislation, stringent power plant emission controls regulations, passage of new stormwater legislation, full funding of Program Open Space, update of the State’s Critical Areas Laws, creation of the Maryland Climate Change Commission; restoration of the Office of Smart Growth; and a leadership role in the creation of the first auction of greenhouse gas emission credits in America.
To access GreenPrint, visit greenprint.maryland.gov. Visit dnrweb.dnr.state.md.us/download/greenprint/ for a fact sheet on the proposed Program Open Space acquisitions; resolution photos, maps, and aerial b-roll footage of the Province properties; and a county by county list of the FY 2009 Rural Legacy grants. Right click on the links and select “save as.” B-roll should be credited to Maryland Public Television.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.