Land Preservation Through the Rural Legacy Program
RC&D's land preservation efforts began in St. Mary's County. St. Mary’s is situated on a peninsula in Southern Maryland with over 500 miles of shoreline on the Patuxent River, Potomac River, and Chesapeake Bay. As the southernmost point in Maryland on the Chesapeake Bay's western shore, St. Mary’s County is one of the most ecologically and environmentally sensitive lands in the country.
Home to over 105,000 residents, St. Mary’s County is also the home base for the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), the Air Test Wing Atlantic Command, and the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division Command (NAWCAD). With over 200 high-tech aerospace and defense contractors, the County has emerged as a world-class center for maritime aviation research, development, testing, evaluation, and acquisition.
As such, the County realizes the importance of combining land preservation and protection of its natural resources with the responsibility of supporting the Navy’s mission in our community. Commitment to these major objectives has resulted in a strong, successful land preservation program that is now supported and funded by three sources: St. Mary’s County’s Land Preservation Program, Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources Rural Legacy Program, and the Department of Defense (DOD)’s Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) Program.
RC&D has already permanently protected over 1,600 acres of land in the Mattapany Rural Legacy Area and continues to seek new conservation easements there. For a general overview of the Rural Legacy Program in St. Mary's County, click here.
Recently, RC&D entered into a partnership with Calvert County to help preserve land in the Calvert Creeks Rural Legacy Area as well. RC&D is working closely with County staff and community partners to establish a successful program.
RC&D continues to seek other areas to expand its land preservation efforts in the future.