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State approves deal that protect land along the Nanticoke River

State officials approved a deal Wednesday that permanently protects environmentally sensitive land along the Nanticoke River on the Eastern Shore.

The 201-acre conservation easement on a farm near the Delaware border creates an important link in a 50-mile long corridor connecting the Nanticoke Wildlife to the Blackwater Wildlife Refuge, environmental advocates said.

The U.S. Navy contributed half of the $645,000 price tag to the development rights of the farm, which contains two miles of shoreline, a mature forest, and five rare plant species. The military uses restricted airspace above the Nanticoke River to test aircraft from Patuxent Naval Air Station. The Board of Public Works voted Wednesday to approve the deal and the state's $322,500 contribution.

Liz Zucker, Eastern Shore project director with The Nature Conservancy, said the farm is the last major acquisition needed in Dorchester County, and future acquisition efforts along the waterway will be focused in Wicomico.

ecox@baltsun.com

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