Quantico Creek Rural Legacy Area is expanded

The Rural Legacy expansion announced this week includes areas over the Paleochannel and lands along Rewastico Creek in western Wicomico County.

Wicomico County Executive Bob Culver announced this week that the Maryland Board of Public Works has approved the expansion of the Quantico Creek Rural Legacy Area in Wicomico County.

The panel, which is comprised of Gov. Larry Hogan, Comptroller Peter Franchot and Treasurer Nancy Kopp, voted unanimously to approve the expansion last week. This expansion includes areas over the Paleochannel, as well as tracts along Rewastico Creek in western Wicomico County.

Culver and County Council members 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 region.

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.

Maryland established the Rural Legacy Program in 1997. It 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 2000 and then contained 14,687 acres. More than 4,000 acres have been protected through this program.

The state expansion will add an additional 21,131 acres, for a total of 35,818 acres.

Culver said the county will seek additional state funding 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 landowners in these areas in order to protect areas vulnerable to development.

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