The Rural Legacy (RL) Program is a unique approach to land conservation created to protect Maryland's best remaining landscapes and natural areas. Rural Legacy Areas (RLA) are specifically delineated geographic areas that apply for and receive preservation grants through the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Purchased easements may include specific resource protection conditions as well as the permanent retirement of development rights. In addition to agricultural value, applications are evaluated on specific natural resource protection features.
Harford County administers the Deer Creek RLA, which includes nearly 67,000 acres within the Deer Creek watershed. The Manor Conservancy RLA includes over 28,000 acres in Baltimore and Harford Counties. Rural Legacy easements contain no further subdivision options.