Conservation Efforts Celebrated (MD)

Lothian, MD, 5/6/2004: The nonprofit Trust for Public Land (TPL) was joined by county, state, and federal representatives, local nonprofit organizations, and landowners today to celebrate land conservation successes within the Chesapeake Bay watershed, particularly in Anne Arundel County and along the Patuxent River. The celebration was held at the 303-acre Jug Bay Farm, formerly owned by the Riggleman family, which was recently protected through a partnership among TPL, the Rigglemans, and county, state, and federal government.

“Partnerships are truly the key to protecting our most important resources,” said Debi Osborne, project manager for the Trust for Public Land. “The Riggleman family was committed to seeing the land conserved rather than developed. With support from the county, state, and Maryland’s Congressional delegation, we were able to bring all of the partners together to preserve this property for residents and visitors to enjoy for generations to come.”

“This is very special land. My sister, brother, and I worked together to make this happen in the spirit of what we feel our parents would have wanted us to do. We felt that it should be conserved for the public use and that anything else would have been a travesty,” said James Riggleman, former owner of Jug Bay Farm.

“I thank the Trust for Public Land for working so diligently to protect Jug Bay Farm and for the continued efforts to achieve our preservation goals in Anne Arundel County. We are grateful to Maryland’s Congressional delegation for supporting federal funding and Governor Ehrlich, Comptroller Schaeffer, and Treasurer Kopp for their unanimous support of the $1.37 million in state money that made this acquisition possible,” said Anne Arundel County Executive Janet S. Owens. “Even with more than 20,000 acres of land permanently protected in parks and agricultural land in Anne Arundel County, we still have a lot of work to do and I look forward to working with TPL on future preservation efforts.”

TPL has worked collaboratively to preserve scores of properties within the Chesapeake Bay watershed. In Maryland, this includes the protection of more than 1,000 acres in Anne Arundel County. Through work with willing landowners, conservation successes at places like the Green Cathedral on the Severn River, Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary, Hunterville Rural Legacy area, and the Patuxent Research Refuge help ensure the health of the Chesapeake Bay.

The efforts of the Trust for Public Land have been strongly supported by Anne Arundel County, the State of Maryland, and the Maryland Congressional delegation.

Federal funds from programs such as the Land and Water Conservation Fund and the USDA Forest Legacy Program have leveraged significant state and local funding to conserve critical open space throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Support from Maryland’s Congressional delegation in securing these federal funds has been extremely critical as demand for limited land conservation dollars continues to grow.

“This is a significant victory in our efforts to preserve and protect a spectacular section of the Patuxent River waterfront,” said Senator Paul S. Sarbanes (D-MD). “With the addition of this 300-acre parcel to the protections already in place, this entire complex will contain approximately 5,000 acres and preserve a beautiful tidewater area vital to the health of the Patuxent River and the Chesapeake Bay.”

“I was proud to join the Trust for Public Land, the Riggelmans, and other local and state representatives to make certain this land was preserved and that this agreement was completed,” said Congressman Steny Hoyer (D-5). “The conservation of Jug Bay, one of the largest freshwater tidal wetlands on the East Coast, will ensure that the Rigglemans can continue to live and work on their farm for the next decade, while protecting a treasured natural resource.”

“This is a great success story for the partnership between government and the private sector,” said Congressman Wayne Gilchrest (R-1). “I commend everyone involved, and thank them for their vision and determination to keep the Chesapeake Bay watershed pristine and vibrant. With every additional acre we preserve, we help restore and revitalize the bay and the natural bounty of Maryland.”

“Because, collectively, we all depend on these natural resources, it is appropriate that such a partnership should come together to protect them,” said Wes Johnson, assistant secretary of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. “I applaud all who made this preservation effort and others like it possible.”

The conservation of Jug Bay Farm creates an unbroken 5,000-acre matrix of protected lands along the Patuxent River. The farm includes nearly a mile of frontage on the Patuxent River and the property contains wild rice, cattails and other vegetation that support the rich assortment of fish, reptiles, amphibians, birds, and mammals.

Each of the land protection successes celebrated today brings Maryland closer to its commitment to protect 20% of the Chesapeake Bay watershed by 2010. Protection of the Chesapeake Bay watershed through land conservation has been a hallmark of the efforts of TPL. In 2000, TPL and the Chesapeake Bay Commission issued a report, Keeping Our Commitment: Preserving Land in the Chesapeake Watershed, which documents the need to protect an additional 1.1 million acres of the bay watershed and calls for $1.8 billion in new local, state and federal funding over the next decade to meet the Chesapeake 2000 goal.

The Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national nonprofit land conservation organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and other natural places, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Since its founding in 1972, TPL has helped protect more than 1.9 million acres of land in 45 states, including more than 7,000 acres in Maryland.