SNOW HILL -- A private conservation group has launched a far-reaching, $67 million program aimed at protecting thousands of acres that are vital to the Chesapeake Bay and other mid-Atlantic ecological systems.
The Nature Conservancy, which already owned 90,000 acres in Maryland and Virginia, announced yesterday the purchase of another 12,000 acres in the two states.
The acquisitions will extend the group's holdings in the mountains of Virginia and on Maryland's Eastern Shore -- where the addition of 3,300 pristine acres along Nassawango Creek will create the state's largest private nature preserve, a boggy 7,500-acre habitat for dozens of varieties of birds and plants.
Over the next three years, the Maryland/D.C. and Virginia chapters of the conservancy plan to use the $67 million -- money contributed by individuals, corporations, foundations and government -- to protect more land from development.
In Maryland, officials said they plan to target sites from "mountains to marshes," including dense forests along Nanjemoy Creek in Charles County and mountain peat lands and shale cliffs in Western Maryland.