Delmarva “Wildlands” Corridors
(With a Little Help from The Nature Conservancy)
Buried in an astounding amount of unconstitutional pork within the new Farm Bill (signed by President Bush May 13, 2002) is a key provision, the brainchild of Congressman Wayne T. Gilchrest, a Republican from Maryland’s 1st District. In the works for over two years, Gilchrest’s “project” would create the Delmarva (Delaware-Maryland-Virginia) Conservation Corridor(s).
Ostensibly designed to “find a way to help sustain agriculture…and help guarantee the environmental integrity of the Delmarva Peninsula for generations to come”, according to Gilchrest, “…the Secretary of Agriculture will be able to direct conservation funding on a priority basis to the most economically and ecologically valuable land on Delmarva.” A “framework” will be set up giving the three states and the USDA the “flexibility” to carve out a “network of land” where “states and local governments, farmers, wildlife enthusiasts, sportsmen, planning and zoning commissions, and land trusts (will) carry out this vision.” Gilchrest stated it was important conservation corridors be established which would be vital to the health of the Chesapeake Bay and to “reunite fragmented habitats” on the Eastern shore. “Many of these people have been working toward this goal for years, but there’s been no coordinated effort to link all of these efforts together in one coherent plan. Now they’ll be able to work together more effectively,” he said, referring to government agencies and environmental groups.The controversial Chesapeake Bay Program is being used by the EPA and other federal, state and county agencies, as well as environmental groups and taxpayer funded land trusts, as a means of controlling land use throughout the Bay Watershed. The Bay Program has negatively impacted all taxpayers, and burdened agriculture, timbering and business with regulatory costs. It has contributed to the demise of agriculture throughout Delmarva, all in the name of improving water quality and the environment.
Gilchrest claims farmers are “under constant development pressure, and the economics of farming have been working against them…We are not only losing farmland, we’re losing our culture, our heritage, and our history”, while hypocritically supporting the very legislative measures which drive families off the land and increase pressure for subdivision and development. Problem, reaction, solution-- it’s the old totalitarian Hegelian Dialectic at work, and the Gilchrests of Congress, who have created the problem, want us to know they just happen to have the convenient solution: a government Farm (control) Bill.
Details of the program and exact boundaries of the corridor(s) remain undefined at this time, perhaps purposely so. But the plan may create two huge “conservation corridors”, swaths of land where, according to Gannett reporter, Carl Weiser, “landowners wouldn’t be subjected to any more regulation [?!]…The designation could also reduce red tape in applying for federal money. When government agencies look for land to protect, by buying it or its development rights, supporters hope land in the corridors would be first in line.” (emphasis added)