Land Acquisition and Planning

Maryland's Rural Legacy Program

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Rural Legacy Milestone

With the Board of Public Works’ approval of five new conservation easements, Maryland’s Rural Legacy Program has now conserved more than 100,000 acres of land throughout the state.  Read more...


Maryland’s Rural Legacy Program provides funding to preserve large, contiguous tracts of land and to enhance natural resource, agricultural, forestry and environmental protection while supporting a sustainable land base for natural resource based industries. The program creates public-private partnerships and allows those who know the landscape best – land trusts and local governments – to determine the best way to protect the landscapes that are critical to our economy, environment and quality of life. 

The program encourages local governments and land trusts to work together and determine how best to protect their vital working landscapes.

Land conservation investments are targeted to protect the most ecologically valuable properties that most directly impact Chesapeake Bay and local waterway health.

The Rural Legacy Board will meet on October 19, 2021 at 9:00 am virtually via Google Meet. The meeting can be accessed online via meet.google.com/tsw-ivpm-nnb or via phone (‪US‬)‪+1 803-999-5404‬ PIN: ‪631 867 770#‬‬‬‬

The Rural Legacy Board consists of the Secretaries of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (Chair), the Maryland Department of Agriculture, and the Maryland Department of Planning.

The Rural Legacy Board administers the Rural Legacy Program with assistance and advice from the Rural Legacy Advisory Committee. The Board annually designates Rural Legacy Areas and recommends areas for funding to the Board of Public Works.

The Rural Legacy Program encourages local governments and private land trusts to identify Rural Legacy Areas - delineated areas within a county that include both working farms and ecologically significant landscapes - and to competitively apply for funds to complement existing land conservation efforts or create new ones. Local Sponsors must apply annually to the Rural Legacy Board for participation in the Program and to receive funding.

Pursuant to the Open Meetings Act, the Rural Legacy Board meeting is open to the public; however; part of the meeting may be conducted in closed session pursuant to § 3-305(b)(3). During the open portion of the meeting, if invited by the Chair to participate, the public may comment on the discussion. Please contact Tom McCarthy at tom.mccarthy@maryland.gov if you plan to attend or if you plan to attend and need any accommodations.

Rural Legacy Board Meeting Agenda

October 19, 2021
9:00 am
Virtually via Google meet:
meet.google.com/tsw-ivpm-nnb

  • 1:00 pm - Introductions and overview
  • 1:10 pm - Consideration of the Rural Legacy Advisory Committee’s FY2022 recommendations: Two Rural Legacy Area Expansion Requests, One New Rural Legacy Area, and Allocation of FY2022 Grant Awards
  • 1:55 pm - Vote on Rural Legacy Advisory Committee recommendations
  • 2:00 pm - Adjournment

There is at least one Rural Legacy Area in every county of the state and the total acreage designated in all Rural Legacy Areas is 920,694 acres.​​

Enacted by the General Assembly in 1997, Maryland’s Rural Legacy Program has dedicated over $305.6 million to preserve 86,103 acres of valuable farmland, forests, and natural areas.

Maryland Rural Legacy Arrea Map 

Rural Legacy Program

...Saving the best of what's left
by creating greenbelts around
Maryland's communities
and saving our remaining countryside.

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