Newtowne Neck Rd landowner protects McIntosh Run and Breton Bay with conservation easement

Newtowne Neck Rd landowner protects McIntosh Run and Breton Bay with conservation easement

Jan. 14, 2014 – A 25-acre forested site in the environmentally critical McIntosh Run watershed has been permanently preserved thanks to Vivian Marek, who donated a conservation easement on the St Mary’s County property to Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust and Maryland Environmental Trust in December 2013.

Vivian says she’s loved the property on Newtowne Neck Road near Leonardtown ever since her parents bought it in the early 1950’s. “I always wanted the place to remain as it was, especially after the development around it, quot; Vivian says. By donating a conservation easement to the land trusts, the Marek family’s legacy will be preserved for the benefit of future generations.

The conservation easement permanently protects the site from being developed. Its woods of sweetgum, holly, oak and beech trees are threaded with small sand and gravel-bed streams, headwaters for the McIntosh Run tributary to the Breton Bay. Nearly 90% of the site is forested.  Those acres of unbroken woods prevent erosion and protect water quality, and provide habitat for many species of forest interior-dwelling birds and other wildlife. From the road, the scenic views of the woods are reminders of the timeless value of St Mary’s historic landscape.

The Marek preserve is especially important because of its location within the McIntosh Run watershed. “The McIntosh Run watershed is extraordinary in St Mary’s County. Despite the region’s continued development, it remains an ecologically intact watershed that protects water quality and provides habitat for rare aquatic and terrestrial species,quot; said Susan Charkes, Executive Director of Patuxent Tidewater Land Trust. PTLT has been working with Maryland Environmental Trust, as well as US Fish & Wildlife Service and Maryland’s Wildlife & Heritage Service, to protect the watershed.

“We are enormously grateful to Vivian Marek for her generous donation of a conservation easement,quot; commented Charkes. “Many people don’t realize that by donating a conservation easement to a land trust they can make sure that property they care about will stay beautiful forever.quot; A conservation easement on private land protects the land from development but the landowner retains control over it, and while the public benefits from its protection, there is no requirement that the landowner provide public access.

PTLT, a nonprofit, volunteer-supported organization, has protected over 4500 acres of natural areas and farmland in southern Maryland. “In many cases, the donation of an easement can also provide tax and financial benefits to the landowner, and those benefits can be augmented if the easement is also donated to the statewide Maryland Environmental Trust,quot; Charkes noted.

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