Myrtle Grove Wildlife Management Area Expanded

July 19, 2011

A large undeveloped property along the pristine Mattawoman Creek has been protected from development outside Washington D.C., The Trust for Public Land, and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced today.

The Mattawoman Creek watershed, which drains into the Potomac River, is located about 15 miles southwest of Washington D.C. and has been designated a "stronghold" watershed by the State of Maryland. In 2009, Mattawoman Creek was named the fourth most threatened river in the nation by American Rivers. A 773-acre property along the creek was slated for a new residential subdivision, but has instead been conserved as an addition to Myrtle Grove Wildlife Management Area. A group of local citizens asked the Chesapeake office of The Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national conservation organization, to seek conservation of the land and TPL has negotiated with the landowner for nearly three years. Today TPL has coordinated the purchase of the property by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

"Mattawoman Creek is one of the few healthy freshwater tributaries to the Chesapeake Bay, and conservation of this property will help keep it healthy forever," said Kent Whitehead, TPL's Chesapeake director. "We are grateful to the State of Maryland for their commitment to conserving this property."

Maryland's Program Open Space, as recommended by the Maryland Board of Public Works, awarded funding for the $4.2 million purchase of the Mattawoman Creek property, a purchase price well below the full fair market value of the land.

Earlier this year, TPL completed a 202-acre purchase from the same landowner of an adjacent property, which is now owned by Charles County as a new natural area. Together, these two transactions protect nearly 1,000 acres of forestland located less than an hour from downtown Washington, D.C.

The Trust for Public Land is a national nonprofit land conservation organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and natural areas, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Since 1972, TPL has helped protect nearly 3 million acres nationwide, including more than 9,000 acres in Maryland.