Partnership Preserves More Than 1,000 Acres in Somerset

The Lower Shore Land Trust (LSLT) last week announced that more than 1,000 acres will be preserved in Somerset County.

The conservation project comes through a grant a 1,066-acre conservation easement funded by a North American Wetland Conservation Act grant to protect habitat for the American black duck. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, American black ducks have faced a reduction in breeding range that has impacted the number of black ducks counted each year. In an effort to preserve their habitat, LSLT and Ducks Unlimited secured the grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

From coverage in the Maryland Coast Dispatch:

“Projects like this protect habitat for the entire region,” said Kate Patton, LSLT executive director. “Our region is a critical flyover for migrating waterfowl, such as black duck and other species such as the salt marsh sparrow and black rail. Marshes have been deteriorating and efforts to conserve adjacent land to allow for marsh migration is one tool for protecting the ecosystem. Outdoor recreation, such as sportfishing and hunting depend on healthy ecosystems like this, but so do our blue crab populations. It’s really a win-win for our local economy and the environment.”

According to LSLT, the black duck has been in “precipitous decline” during the last few decades. The bird’s habitat will be preserved with this easement, which protects 36 acres of agricultural land, 330 acres of forest, 700 acres of emergent tidal wetlands, and thousands of linear feet of shoreline on Marumsco Creek and Pocomoke Sound.

North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) grants are competitive and require a 1-to-1 ratio funding match. Funds go towards increasing bird populations and preserving wetland habitat, while supporting local economies and activities such as hunting and fishing.

For more information, read the full article.