Press Release

July 28, 2009

U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD) today introduced legislation to create a new grant program to fund land preservation in the National Capitol region, which includes portions of Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia. Co-sponsors of the bill include
Senators Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD),
James Webb (D-VA) and
Mark R. Warner (D-VA).


“It’s critical that we preserve open space in the National Capital region and this legislation will allow us to identify worthy land conservation projects while helping us invest in green infrastructure,” said
Senator Cardin, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “Our region is a treasure trove of natural habitat and it is important that we ensure its survival for future generations.”


The National Capital Region Land Conservation Act of 2009
authorizes $50 million a year for cost-sharing grants to local and state governments and regional entities to preserve land for the full range of open space purposes including protecting water quality, providing recreational opportunities, preserving historic viewsheds, and similar reasons.
  It would amend the

Capper-Cramton Act
of 1930, which created the National Capital Planning Commission, the entity authorized to purchase green space within the National Capital area.
 Using U.S. Census data, the bill would define the National Capital region as the metropolitan statistical area of Washington, D.C.
  This definition would allow the scope of the area to grow over time as the metropolitan region continues to expand northwest toward Hagerstown, MD and south toward Richmond, VA.


“This is a federal investment in preserving the National Capital region’s national treasures for future generations
,” Senator Mikulski said. “This legislation will allow us to identify land to preserve and protect, help us record our history, and keep attracting families and visitors to the area for generations to come.”


“This federal effort would guarantee a healthy and sound living environment for the heavily populated National Capital region,” said
Senator Webb.


“Land conservation in the National Capital region requires innovative planning efforts.  This legislation will help us protect and conserve many acres of parks and green space that will enhance the quality of life for the region’s residents,”
said Senator Warner.  “I’m pleased to be a part of this regional effort that focuses on preserving open areas while recognizing their economic value.”


U.S. Congressman Jim Moran (D-VA) has filed similar legislation in the House of Representatives. House co-sponsors include: Jim Connolly (D-VA), Donna Edwards (D-MD), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and Frank Wolf (R-VA).

Conservation groups endorsing the bill include:


The Nature Conservancy

The Trust for Public Land

The Conservation Fund


State of Maryland

Commonwealth of



Friends of the John Smith Chesapeake Trail


Northern Virginia Conservation Trust

Potomac Conservancy

Piedmont Environmental Council

Virginia Association for Parks

Prince William County Conservation Alliance

The Mount Vernon Ladies Association

Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority


Chesapeake Bay Foundation

Anacostia Watershed Society


Conservancy for Charles County

Mattawoman Watershed Society

Maryland Bass Federation Nation

Port Tobacco River Conservancy

Accokeek Foundation

Southern Maryland Audubon Society

Chapman Forest Foundation

Friends of Chapman State Park, Inc.