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507 acres preserved in Southern Delaware

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

The Delaware Chapter of The Nature Conservancy has purchased a conservation easement that will prevent development of 507 acres of land in Sussex County.

The preserved land is next to the 9,000 acre Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge, which has been recognized by the American Bird Conservancy and National Audubon Society as a “Globally Important Bird Area.”

The Conservancy’s Director of Land Protection Kate Hackett says,”We actually have been able to expand and connect portions of the National Wildlife Refuge there, as well as some state protected properties.”  She says, “Together with all of these projects we’re looking at a very significant block of habitat.”


The Conservancy purchased the development rights through donations from private individuals and foundations, plus help from the state and federal government.  She says, “This property represents a very high priority for habitat and adaptation to sea level rise and stresses that are continuing to affect our environment in that area.”

The terms of the conservation easement are for the lifetime of the property regardless of how many times the property changes ownership.  “It will be protected forever,” says Hackett.

While the original owner still maintains possession of their property, the easement prevents development of the land to protect threatened and endangered species.   Hackett says those species include the Black Rail, which is a small marsh bird, and the Delmarva fox squirrel, plus a number of plants that need to be protected.

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