Wicomico County Announces Rural Legacy Expansion
County Executive Bob Culver is pleased to announce that on Wednesday, October 4, 2017, the Maryland Board of Public Works approved the expansion of the Quantico Creek Rural Legacy Area in Wicomico County. The Board of Public Works, which includes Governor Larry Hogan, Comptroller Peter Franchot and Treasurer Nancy Kopp, voted unanimously to approve the expansion. This expansion includes areas over the paleochannel and lands along Rewastico Creek in western Wicomico County.
Executive Culver and the County Council recommended that the Rural Legacy Area be expanded to include these environmentally sensitive and important areas which will provide additional protection measures and opportunities. This will provide landowners in these areas a voluntary financial alternative to selling lots for development.
The paleochannel is a buried riverbed estimated to store approximately seven billion gallons of water. This resource currently provides potable water for the City of Salisbury and is an important future water supply for the citizens of the City of Salisbury and Wicomico County. Because of its vast potential as a source of drinking water, additional protective measures will help to ensure that the channel is protected from contamination resulting from environmentally incompatible land uses.
The Rural Legacy Program, established by the State of Maryland in 1997, is designed to preserve large tracts of productive agricultural, forested lands, natural and cultural resources through the purchase of conservation easements. Conservation easements protect the land for future generations while allowing owners to continue to use and live on their land.
The Quantico Creek Rural Legacy Area was established locally in the year 2000 and contained 14,687 acres of land. Over 4,000 acres of land have been protected through this program. This expansion will add an additional 21,131 acres to our Rural Legacy Area for a total of 35,818 acres. Wicomico County will seek additional funding from the State of Maryland in future years that can be used for the purchase of conservation easements.
The Rural Legacy Program is a voluntary participation program. Easements are sought from willing land owners in these areas in order to protect areas vulnerable to development.
If you would like to know more about the Quantico Creek Rural Legacy Program, please contact Frank McKenzie with the County Department of Planning & Zoning at 410-548-4860.