438 acres of the Ecologically Sensitive Area (ESA) at Taylors Trail Sand Ridge in Wicomico County will now be permanently protected thanks to a partnership between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), The Nature Conservancy, and Chesapeake Conservancy.
The property at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge was privately owned, having been in the landowner’s family for generations. The Nature Conservancy and USFWS identified the property’s natural attributes: upland forest, over 275 acres of tidal and non-tidal wetlands, a stand of mature Atlantic white cedars, and a unique dune habitat that will be restored to native short-leaf pine.
In addition to being right in the heart of Taylors Trail Sand Ridge, it’s also close to Barren Creek ESA and more than 200 acres of protected Chesapeake forest land.
The conservation project was paid for with funds from the Mt. Cuba Center and the sale of the Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamps, commonly known as Duck Stamps.
“The Duck Stamp is an excellent example of how waterfowl hunters and others who buy them can directly contribute, with 98% of the funds going to land acquisition,” says Marcia Pradines, complex manager for the Chesapeake Marshlands National Wildlife Refuge Complex, USFWS. Pradines points out that protecting habitat “provides a place where the public can still enjoy wildlife, whether by bird watching, hunting, hiking, or fishing, all vital to the economic as well as ecological health of the Nanticoke watershed.”
The parcel of newly-protected land includes 95 acres of forest and is just downstream from another corridor of 19,000 acres that was conserved through a partnership with the same organizations, says Chesapeake Conservancy President and CEO Joel Dunn.
-Meg Walburn Viviano