Linksto Other Maryland State Land Preservation Resources
The Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation (MALPF) is one of several Maryland State land preservation programs. Maryland's counties also often provide land preservation opportunities through local programs operated to complement State programs. Provided below is information concerning other state-wide land preservation resources, programs, and links. Also, see the information on county land preservation programs available at individual county websites and on the activities of local land trusts available at the Maryland Land Conservation Center website.
Maryland Land Conservation Center. If you are interested in learning about other land preservation possibilities, an excellent place to start is the Maryland Land Conservation Center web site, a central point of information about land protection resources sponsored by the Maryland Environmental Trust.
Maryland’s Rural Legacy Program. Created in 1997, this Program located within the Department of Natural Resources seeks to set aside large blocks of rural lands for the protection of natural and scenic resources and the fostering of rural industries such as agriculture and forestry. Landowners may apply at any time to local sponsors (county government or a local land trust), and the sponsors apply annually for funding. The minimum property size for Rural Legacy funding is 25 acres, though this may vary by locality. To qualify for participation, the property must be located within a State-approved Rural Legacy Area.
Maryland Environmental Trust (MET). The Maryland Environmental Trust was created in 1967 to protect Maryland’s natural environment and is the State’s primary recipient of donated conservation easements. It seeks farms and forest lands, wildlife habitat, waterfront acreage, natural areas, historic sites, and valuable scenic features. MET and its cooperating local land trusts prefer to accept donations on lands greater than 50 acres, though there is no fixed minimum parcel size. Donations are accepted throughout the year. A property owner may benefit from a donated conservation easement by the federal income tax deduction, the Maryland property tax credit, the Maryland income tax credit, and through estate tax savings.
Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP). The Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program was established in 1997 through a federal-state partnership. CREP offers incentives to establish or extend watershed buffers and wetlands to protect water quality, including bonus rental rates, a permanent easement option, up to one-hundred percent cost-share, free technical assistance to install certain conservation practices, and year-round sign-up. Eligible property includes marginal crop or pasture land next to a waterway or highly erodible land within one-thousand feet of a waterway and prior converted wetlands. Because eligible land is often relatively limited, CREP benefits are rarely significant, but are rather a valuable supplementary income stream or easement payment. CREP applications are handled by local soil conservation district offices and certain land trusts in partnership with the Department of Natural Resources and Department of Agriculture.
Maryland’s Forest Legacy Program. The Forest Legacy Program is a federal program established under the 1990 Farm Bill which seeks to promote the long-term integrity of forest lands. Its purpose is to identify environmentally important forest lands that are threatened by present or future conversion to non-forest uses and protect them from conversion. The Program funds to purchase conservation easements on forest lands from interested landowners. The minimum acreage for Forest Legacy funding is 100 acres. To qualify for participation, the property must be located within an approved Forest Legacy Area. Forest Legacy applications are handled by local Department of Natural Resources foresters or the Department’s Forest Service who will seek federal funding for specific properties.
Maryland’s Program Open Space (POS). Maryland’s Program Open Space, within the Department of Natural Resources, is charged with helping acquire state and local parks and conservation areas, including the purchase of easements on land to protect unique historic properties (battlefields or historic structures and landscapes) or scenic vistas. There is no minimum acreage or other requirement for funding from this Program, but the Program generally depends upon sponsoring organizations seeking funding for specific projects that fall within the scope of this Program’s objectives.
Transportation Enhancement Program (TEP). TEP is part of the Federal Surface Transportation Program. Several provisions of this legislation can provide resources to land trusts and local government to help fund projects that enhance roadsides, encourage and protect scenic byways and vistas, and protect historic landscapes and properties adjacent to State and Federal highways. These funds are made available through the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT), administered by the State Highway Administration (SHA) to fund proposals submitted by state agencies, county or municipal governments, private non-profit organizations, community groups, or even individuals. Projects proposed by non-government entities must secure an appropriate government agency as a co-sponsor.
Maryland Historical Trust (MHT). The Maryland Historical Trust, within the Maryland Department of Planning, grants easements to protect the state's valued historic structures and preserve local heritage and folklore. Eligibility stems from owning property listed on, or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places or in a locally certified historic district. State and federal tax benefits are available. In such cases, the perpetual, historical easements are bestowed as a gift to the Maryland Historical Trust. While this agency is primarily concerned with historic structures, the land associated with the setting of such structures can be, and often is, preserved to maintain the integrity of the historic landscape.
These descriptions are provided for general information purposes only. If you have questions about a specific land preservation program, please contact the staff of that program.
MARYLAND DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Martin O'Malley, Governor
Anthony G. Brown, Lt. Governor
Earl F. Hance, Secretary
Mary Ellen Setting, Deputy Secretary
Last revision: January 18, 2010.