News from the DNR Office of Communications

Governor O'Malley, Board Of Public Works Approve Acquisition Of 1,043 Acres In Dorchester County

Administration surpasses 25,000-acre mark for land conservation through Program Open Space

Annapolis, Md. (October 26, 2009) — Governor Martin O’Malley today announced Board of Public Works (BPW) approval of the acquisition of 1,043 acres of pine forest and tidal marshland in Dorchester County through Program Open Space (POS). Today’s action brings the total number of POS acres preserved by the Administration to 25,388, more than five times the amount of the previous administration during the comparable time period.

“It is very exciting that we reach our 25,000-acre benchmark with a project that supports local jobs and working families while also benefiting wildlife and clean water for the Chesapeake Bay,” said Governor O’Malley. “Preservation of this forest and marsh will also help us continue to combat climate change and sea level rise on the lower Shore.”

The acquisition includes five tracts west of the Fishing Bay Wildlife Management Area that provides an important habitat for ducks, bald eagles, peregrine falcons and the federally endangered Delmarva Fox Squirrel. The property will become part of Chesapeake Forest Lands, a unique project that sustainably manages working forests and supports local jobs while providing public access and protection of natural areas.

The property, which is being purchased from Besley and Rodgers, Inc., received an ecological ranking of 116 under the Program Open Space Targeting System. The Conservation Fund (TCF), a national non-profit dedicated to protecting landscapes valued for wildlife, recreation and history, worked with the Department of Natural Resources on this transaction. Since 2007, Governor O'Malley and the BPW have preserved more than 25,388 acres of natural areas for public recreation and watershed and wildlife protection across Maryland. Since 1969, Program Open Space has provided funding for acquisition of 346,117 acres for open space and recreation areas. Most Maryland residents live within 15 minutes of an open space or recreational area funded Program Open Space.

The three-member Board of Public Works is comprised of Governor O’Malley (chair), Treasurer Nancy Kopp and Comptroller Peter Franchot. The BPW is authorized by the General Assembly to approve major construction and consultant contracts, equipment purchases, property transactions and other procurement actions.

   October 26, 2009

Contact: Josh Davidsburg
410-260-8002 office I 410-507-7526 cell

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 461,000 acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries, and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic, and cultural resources attract 12 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at