Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Celebrating a Major Victory this Week

Later this week, ESLC staff and other partners will celebrate a major land protection victory - the protection of a very special place in Dorchester County. On April 24, 2009 at 3 p.m., ESLC will host a ribbon cutting at a property it recently protected on Marshyhope Creek. ESLC's partners in the preservation of this property will be present, including representatives from ESLC, The Nature Conservancy, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Dorchester County, and the DelMarVa Council of Boy Scouts of America. According to The Nature Conservancy, the property which is located the confluence of the Marshyhope and Nanticoke Rivers in Dorchester County, is one of the State’s “Last Great Places.”

The 392-acre property includes approximately 332 acres of wet and upland forest, The remaining acreage is meadow and wetlands. It is the site of the globally rare Wades Savanna wetland, the only wetland of its kind in Maryland, Wetlands of Special State Concern, as well as ancient sand dunes. The property is also known to contain habitat for a lengthy list of rare, threatened and endangered species.

Despite long-time efforts by conservation groups to protect the land, the property was purchased in 2005 for the purpose of mining sand and gravel. In August 2008, using Federal money through the Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program (CELCP) and private funds from The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and ESLC The property was purchased in order to protect it forever.

ESLC transferred the property to Dorchester County last September. The County conveyed a conservation easement to ESLC and MET in December, which allows only natural, environmental, educational, scenic, cultural, open space, historic, and rural uses of the property. The property is now leased by Boy Scouts of America, which operates the Richard A. Henson Scout Reservation on an adjacent property.

The ribbon cutting ceremony, which is open to the public, will include a blessing of the land by Chief Winterhawk, remarks by locak officials, as well as tours of the property and refreshments. The property is located at 5603 Sharptown Road in Rhodesdale, MD. For directions and further information, visit www.eslc.org or call 410-827-9756.

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