Around Maryland, Politics

Maryland hits land conservation goal 6 years early

BALTIMORE, MD—The Maryland Department of Natural Resources on Wednesday announced that the state has met its land conservation goal six years ahead of schedule.

The announcement also said that Maryland has added more than 1.85 million acres of land to the state’s protected lands to date, and that it is on track to reach its goal of 40% land conservation by 2040.

Maryland is one of the states in the U.S. that had set a goal of conserving at least 30% of the land in the state by 2030. The state’s land area is about 6.1 million acres, and the protected land area consists of about 502,307 acres, which is about 33% of the total protected lands in Maryland.

The Maryland Department of Planning’s latest update of the Maryland Protected Lands Dashboard said that the state’s public land portfolio is the largest sector of protected land at 502,307 acres, or about 33% of the total protected lands in Maryland. The second largest sector includes 361,746 acres of land protected through the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation, while the third largest sector is made up of 236,590 acres of privately held land where development rights were either transferred or sold through county preservation programs.

The state has made significant progress in protecting land through the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation, which purchases easements that permanently restrict development on prime farmland and woodland. This has enabled farmers to continue agricultural activities on conserved land, but generally prohibits subdividing the land for residential uses. The Maryland Department of Agriculture Secretary Kevin Atticks expressed pride in the work of the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation, stating that it guarantees future generations of Marylanders will continue to have access to local, fresh food.

Officials say the completion of this milestone in land conservation is a testament to the collaboration of government agencies, land trusts, and conservation organizations across Maryland, adding that the achievement demonstrates the state’s commitment to protecting its natural resources and ensuring a future for future generations.

This article was written with the assistance of AI and reviewed by a human editor.

Photo: Gov. Wes Moore, Treasurer Dereck E. Davis, DNR Sec. Josh Kurtz, and leaders of the Partners for Open Space pose for a picture after celebrating Maryland meeting the 30 percent land conservation goal at the Board of Public Works meeting on May 15, via DNR.

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