The Rural Legacy Program redirects existing State funds into a focused and dedicated land preservation program specifically designed to limit the adverse impacts of sprawl on agricultural lands and natural resources. The Program reallocates State funds to purchase conservation easements for large contiguous tracts of agricultural, forest and natural areas subject to development pressure, and fee interests in open space where public access and use is needed. Local governments and private land trusts are encouraged to identify Rural Legacy Areas and to competitively apply for funds to complement existing land conservation efforts or create new ones.
The legislation created a Rural Legacy Board within the Department of Natural Resources that is responsible for reviewing appplications from local governments and land trusts for the designation of Rural Legacy Areas. Applicants must submit a Rural Legacy Plan explaining how the site would be acquired and protected, and the proposal's consistency with the County comprehensive plan.
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