Harford County will receive nearly $1.5 million from Maryland to preserve rural land north of Havre de Grace.
During the Aug. 21 meeting of the Board of Public Works, the state approved a request for $1,456,000 to protect farmland in the Deer Creek Valley, a rural area including 400 documented historic sites as well as rare, threatened and endangered species, according to the Department of Natural Resources.
The grant is part of Maryland’s Rural Legacy Program, geared toward protecting large, contiguous tracts of land and other environmentally sensitive areas. The program "allows us to protect not only forests and farms, but our natural resource-based economies and our cultural heritage,” Gov. Martin O’Malley said in a prepared statement.
Called the "Deer Creek Rural Legacy Area," the area covered by Harford County's grant spans 67,000 acres, from Norrisville through Street and Darlington to just north of Havre de Grace.
Approximately 50 percent of the Deer Creek Rural Legacy Area is already preserved through state and county programs, said Sen. Barry Glassman (R-Harford), who has served on the General Assembly’s Joint Subcommittee on Program Open Space and Agricultural Land Preservation.The grant will allow for the following to protect the area's rural character:
- Connection of tracts of preserved properties and protected land
- Inclusion of additional farmland and other key properties
- Protection of water quality
The state funded 15 projects altogether this year to protect Maryland landscapes, totaling $13.5 million, the Department of Natural Resources reported. Five of them were grants more than $1 million, including the one for Harford County.