Environmental Programs Department administers land protection programs, including the Coastal Bays Rural Legacy Area program, the County's Agricultural Land Preservation Program, and the Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program. Since 2000, these programs have permanently protected over 10,000 acres of farms and forests in the county.
Land preservation options for property owners
Donated easement: This type of conservation easement can reap large tax benefits to landowners such as a 15-year property tax credit, 16-year state income tax credit, 6-year federal income tax deduction and the estate tax benefits through IRC 2031(c). Call Kate Patton of the Lower Shore Land Trust at (410) 641-4467, or Ann Carlson of MET at (410) 514-7910. http://www.dnr.maryland.gov/met
CREP (Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program): Pays landowners for grass and/or tree buffers around wetlands. Payments can be substantial and are for permanent or 5-15-year periods. Call Garth McCabe at (410) 632-5439, ext. 117.
WHIP (Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program): Provides 75% cost share for establishing wildlife habitat (1 acre minimum). Also provides cost share for spraying Phragmites in wetlands. Call Garth McCabe of NRCS at (410) 632-5439, ext. 117.
Wetland Reserve Program: This federal program pays landowners to restore and/or create wetlands on their property. Easements on wetlands are for 30 years or permanent. Additional moneys from private sources may also pay for wetlands. Call Garth McCabe of NRCS at (410) 632-5439, ext. 117.
Rural Legacy: Encompassing landowners in areas of southern Worcester County, this state program pays landowners for permanent conservation easements on their property. In some cases landowners who are not in but near the Rural Legacy Area boundaries may be eligible for the program. Call Katherine Munson at (410) 632-1200, ext. 1302, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
MALPF (Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation): This state program pays landowners, who meet soils and acreage requirements, for permanent agricultural easements on farmland. Call Katherine Munson at (410) 632-1200, ext. 1302, or email email@example.com.
Forest Legacy: This federal program pays owners of forestland for conservation easements on their property.
National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program: Used for easement purchases of tidal wetlands and associated uplands. Program acquires, restores or enhances wetlands. Call Katherine Munson at (410) 632-1220, ext. 1302.
Katherine Munson, Worcester County: (410) 632-1200, ext. 1302
Kate Patton, Lower Shore Land Trust: (410) 641-4467
John Hutson, Maryland Environmental Trust: (410) 514-7910
Garth McCabe, Natural Resources Conservation Service: (410) 632-0939, ext. 117
Nelson Brice, Natural Resources Conservation Service: (410) 632-0939, ext. 128