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This was sent to KIDL by the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy and we are passing it along FYI:
 
Dear Friends: 

I am sending this message to everyone in my address book with a connection to the Eastern Shore or the Chesapeake Bay.  My hope is that those of you who care about the future of this beautiful region will take a minute to read this and respond.

The Eastern Shore Land Conservancy (ESLC) is a regional conservantion organization of the MD Eastern Shore.  For the last dozen years ESLC has been furiously preserving key natural areas and farmland by buying land and conservation easements and cultivating donations.  We currently have preserved 144 properties on over 30,000 acres and have doubled our goal for our second decade (to 5000 acre/year) to help speed the Chesapeake Bay clean up.  For these victories we have gained recognition as one of the most successful local land conservancies in America.  

However, our frustration grows year by year as we continue to lose critical properties to haphazard, sprawling development.  In fact, over the past 20 years we have lost nearly 52,000 acres of farmland in the 6 regions in which we work.  

Over the last two years we (ESLC Board of Directors and Staff) have come to the realization that we must become active in encouraging local governments to elevate their planning and zoning efforts.  Although our counties are already doing well when compared with most, we must reach even higher to protect this magnificent region on the Chesapeake.  

Our first step is to ask our six county councils and board of commissioners to sign a voluntary agreement committing their county to working harder and more cooperatively through 2010 on protecting rural lands and encouraging growth in thriving small towns.  Called Eastern Shore 2010, this regional land use agreement is being proposed to each of our six counties over the next three weeks by our Congressman, Wayne Gilchrest, and ESLC's Chair, Governor Harry Hughes who are working together and with staff and Board on this effort.

For your part, we are asking any individual or organization that cares about the future of this region and agrees with our regional agreement and its goals to sign on to Eastern Shore 2010 in a show of public support.  Please sign on as an individual, and please sign on any organizations using the appropriate authority.

You can read the Eastern Shore 2010 and sign onto the agreement by visiting ESLC's website at http://www.eslc.org/es2010.html , or you can send me an email response to this message with your name and mailing address and I can put you on.  Also, please consider sending this request to anyone that you know to be an interested recipient. 

This is a key time for the Eastern Shore and for the Chesapeake Bay.  We simply must do more, we must do it faster, and we need your help.  As a practical matter, signing Eastern Shore 2010 is a small request of you or your organization, but it sends a strong message to our county officials that the Eastern Shore is worth saving.

Thank you so much for your help.  

Amy Owsley

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Director of Community Planning,
Eastern Shore Land Conservancy
PO Box 169
Queenstown, MD 21658

Phone: 410-827-9756, x 168
Fax: 410-827-5765 
Email: aowsley@eslc.org
Website: www.eslc.org

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Eastern Shore Land Conservancy is a private, nonprofit land conservation organization dedicated to the preservation of farmland and habitat areas on the Eastern Shore. A 31-member volunteer Board of Directors, chaired by former Governor Harry Hughes, includes a diverse group of Eastern Shore landowners representing the agricultural community, business and local governments.  Funded by member contributions, it is located at the Wye Research and Educational Center near Queenstown.  The Conservancy helps landowners to discover, evaluate and implement any of the voluntary land preservation options available.  ESLC also is developing the Regional Landscaped Initiative that focuses on advancing one of the most effective land protection tools available: progressive planning and zoning.  

Anyone interested in obtaining more information about the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy’s land protection options or to make a tax deductible donation may contact the office in Queenstown at 410-827-9756 or write to ESLC, P.O. Box 169, Queenstown, MD 21658.

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