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Montco and Bucks Land Preservation Agencies to Merge

Heritage Conservancy on Wednesday announced a new future for the Doylestown-based preservation agency.

Two agencies dedicated to the same mission will become one in a move that leaders say will strengthen the local effort to preserve land from development.

The Conservancy of Montgomery County will merge all of its programs and conservation easements with Doylestown-based Heritage Conservancy, the agencies announced Wednesday.

Both agencies share a common goal, and by combining their expertise, networks and funding sources, they can prosper together, Jeffrey Marshall, President of Heritage Conservancy, told Patch.

"In tough economic times, we have to do what we can to ensure that we keep our promise to the public to preserve, monitor and enforce these easements," Marshall said. "When we can pool resources to do our job more efficiently, it just makes sense. We always have to be looking to the future."

Marshall said he and Mary Lou McFarland, president of The Conservancy of Montgomery County, first began talking about working together back in June. By November, they had begun talking about a merger.

The boards of directors of both agencies have approved the merger, Marshall said. Lawyers are now working on the legal details, he said, adding that the agreement may have to be approved by the state, since the conservancies are registered nonprofits.

The Heritage Conservancy will lead the merged agency. As part of the agreement, it will acquire the 11 conservation easements, totaling 126-acres, preserved by The Conservancy of Montgomery County. That agency also brings with it several historic building facade easements, a historical research project and stewardship funds.

Heritage Conservancy then will be responsible for maintaining the easements, historic structures and land preserved in Montgomery County. 

McFarland is the only fulltime employee at The Conservancy of Montgomery County. She will join Heritage Conservancy as Senior Conservation Specialist and continue to be based out of Ambler, Marshall said.

McFarland will oversee maintenance of the conservation easements in Montgomery County. With a background in historical research, she also will head historic preservation projects in Montgomery County and surrounding areas. 

"We are very pleased to join Heritage Conservancy, which will assure the continued protection of the important preserved land and historic resources in Montgomery County," McFarland said in a statement.

Heritage Conservancy is a nonprofit specializing in open space preservation, planning for sustainable communities, natural resource protection, property stewardship, historic preservation, adaptive reuse of existing structures, wildlife habitat restoration and biodiversity.

Headquartered at the Aldie Mansion in Doylestown, the agency today has about 19 fulltime employees.

To learn more, visit HeritageConservancy.org.

Ruth December 14, 2012 at 03:36 PM
I think that is great!! It is too bad that development takes over the beautiful land. I am glad that you are going to keep the land to conserve it. I hope that the state agrees with you.

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