State Preserves Waterfront Land

BERLIN – Continuing a recent trend, state officials this week approved the preservation of a 48-acre tract of pristine waterfront land in Worcester County along the Chincoteague Bay in the latest round of state Program Open Space expenditures.

The state’s three-member Board of Public Works (BPW), which includes Governor Martin O’Malley, Comptroller Peter Franchot and Treasurer Nancy Kopp, on Wednesday approved the acquisition of an environmentally important 48-acre tract known simply as The Nest along the Chincoteague Bay in the coastal bays watershed. The approval sets in motion a cooperative effort by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to secure a federal National Coastal Wetlands grant, which will be used to provide matching funds for the acquisition.

The property is located within the Target Ecological Area and its acquisition is part of the Coastal Bays land protection and restoration project. In includes a significant amount of frontage on the Chincoteague Bay and contains complex ecosystems that provide valuable habitat for a wide range of fish and wildlife for wildlife conservation and natural protection.

The property acquisition was made possible through the state’s Program Open Space initiative, which uses a portion of real estate transfer taxes to fund the purchase of conservation easements in the areas where the taxes are collected to ensure natural resources, and as the name implies, open spaces are preserved.

 “Preservation of these properties demonstrates how conserving our natural resources can go hand-in-hand with providing outdoor recreation for Maryland families,” O’Malley said this week. “By planning for the future and protecting our most important ecological area, we may also enjoy the benefits of a healthier, more abundant natural world today.”

The approval of the acquisition of The Nest property in Worcester comes on the heels of a larger land grab, a 430-acre tract of environmentally sensitive land in the coastal bays known as the Adkins Company property.

The significant piece of property is being purchased through the state’s Program Open Space with a price tag of around $1.8 million and will be placed in a perpetual conservation easement. Within the boundaries of the Adkins Company property are forested wetlands, shoreline areas and creeks situated along Ayers Creek and Newport Bay. Conservation of the property will safeguard wildlife habitat and protect water quality in the coastal bays for future generations.