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Rural Legacy Program seeks to protect 44,000 acres of farmland and open space
HAGERSTOWN, MD (January 30, 2018) -  On January 11, 2018 the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) formalized a Rural Legacy Program (RLP) Grant Agreement in the amount of $1.359 million with the Washington County Board of County Commissioners (BCC).

RLP seeks to protect farmland and open space in a designated 44,000-acre area near Antietam Battlefield which contains significant agricultural, environmental and cultural/historic features. DNR funds the program and protects land mainly with the use of permanent easements. However, the BCC is the holder of RLP easements.
As with most programs of this sort, there is a chronic shortage of funds available. Therefore, properties that are contiguous to existing permanently protected land are given priority. Other priorities include: prime agricultural lands, prime woodland, land with environmental features needing protection such as endangered species, streams, sinkholes and properties with historic value such as Antietam Battlefield area.
Each year, Washington County applies to DNR for RLP funding.  There are many steps until easement settlement occurs and the process takes about a year to complete once properties are chosen for processing. After the BCC approves the applications, the Board of Public Works in Annapolis makes final selections for funding.
Since the inception of RLP in 1997, Washington County has received more than $20 million in funding. For more information, contact Eric Seifarth, Rural Preservation Administrator in the Department of Planning and Zoning at (240) 313-2445.
For additional information contact Public Relations and Marketing Director Danielle Crabb
at (240) 313-2384.

About Washington County, Maryland Government

Washington County, Maryland Government strives to fulfill its duty to the citizens of Washington County with regard to operational efficiency, fiscal responsibility, and responsiveness to the needs of the community. This vision is used to ably assist the Board of County Commissioners of Washington County in achieving goals for moving the County forward as present needs and future plans are addressed.


According to the Maryland Department of Legislative Services, the Washington County General Fund has one of the lowest costs per capita for services provided of all 23 counties and Baltimore City. This is attributed to the efficiency, staffing levels, and cost containment exhibited in Washington County Government operations. Visit www.washco-md.net for more information.

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