(Reprinted with permission from the Maryland Dept. of Natural Resources)
On Wednesday, August 1, Governor Martin O’Malley announced Board of Public Works (BPW) approval of more than $12 million in Program Open Space funding that will preserve a unique Bay-front property in Queen Anne’s County and provide for 13 local projects.
The BPW approved the State’s purchase of the 74-acre Langenfelder property located on the northern tip of Kent Island, north of Stevensville. The $7.2 million acquisition will preserve an important natural and historic site, provide for public recreation, enhance existing land and water trails, serve as a living classroom for environmental education, safeguard wildlife habitat, and allow for significant restoration activities to improve water quality.
This property represents a confluence of opportunities to help preserve and restore the Chesapeake Bay and will help our state expand public access to this natural treasure,” said Gov. Martin O’Malley. “Program Open Space is nationally-recognized program that has been used to protect over 320,000 aces in our State from sprawl and development.”
Situated at the mouth of the Chester River, the property offers excellent water access opportunities for the citizens of Maryland, particularly with the existence of a deep water port, a rarity along Chesapeake Bay shorelines.
The port facility is expected to provide a safe harbor for watermen and boaters and become a part of the Chesapeake Bay Water Trails System. The waterfront facility will enable visitors on small watercraft to explore the Bay through short day trips to areas of interest, such as the Chesapeake Exploration Center at Kent Narrows, Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center or the Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge.
“With access to deep water, an extensive shoreline, a lake area and other amenities, the property is a tremendous opportunity to provide a vast number of Marylanders with important outdoor experiences that can help reconnect residents with some of Maryland’s most valuable natural areas,” said Kim Coble, Maryland Executive Director of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.
For the next five years, Langenfelder Marine, Inc. will continue to lease back approximately 12 acres of the property for the continuation of its existing business operations, resulting in $1,075,000 in revenue for the State Forest and Park Reserve Fund.
Restoration and other enhancements on the balance of the property are expected to begin soon after the transaction is completed. DNR’s long-term restoration goals for the property include enhancing the habitat for native bird species, establishing wetlands to reduce nutrient inputs into the Bay, and establishing living shorelines.