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 are specifically delineated geographic areas that apply for and receive separate grants through the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, with the resultant easements including 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 compromises most of the Deer Creek watershed in the county while a small portion along the Baltimore County line is included in the Manor Conservancy RLA under separate management. RL easements contain no further subdivision options and values are determined by a base formula with negotiated discounts. RL easement properties also receive the $50 per acre tax credit towards their Harford County property tax bill.