ANNAPOLIS – About 160 acres of Caroline County coastal land – home to endangered plants and carpenter frogs – are being purchased by the state as another piece of its protected wetlands corridor.
The Board of Public Works voted late last month to buy Hollingsworth Ponds – wooded uplands and ponds off state Route 313 in northern Caroline – and add the property to the Crescent Preserve.
“This absolutely was a very sensitive piece of property, and we are glad the Nature Conservancy stepped up,” said Robert L. Swann, Maryland’s acting comptroller and a board member.
The Nature Conservancy, an international environmental protection organization, bought the property six months ago with the intent of reselling it to the state, said spokeswoman Patty Walsh.
The conservancy served as a “holding station” until state money could be freed up, said Nancy Howard, the Eastern Region spokeswoman for the Department of Natural Resources.
The state is paying $135,000 for the property. The sale is expected to completed within six months, Walsh said.
Hollingsworth Ponds is home to several plants rare in Maryland and endangered throughout the world, including Harper’s fimbristylis, a grass- like plant that grows 1 to 8 inches tall.
“The plants are not very visually compelling, but [they are] state-rare,” Walsh said.
The property also serves as a breeding habitat for the carpenter frog, also rare in Maryland, Walsh said. The brownish-colored frog with yellow stripes on its back grows to about 3 inches and typically is found in wetlands.
The state and the Nature Conservancy hope the growing Crescent Preserve will provide “a protective corridor” for breeding amphibians and reptiles to move between freely, Walsh said. The crescent includes Baltimore Corner and the Bridgetown Ponds Natural Area along the northern edge of Caroline County on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. There are no immediate plans for Hollingsworth Ponds, Howard said. But, she added, “there is the potential to turn it into something down the road,” such as a park. -30-