As one of the largest oyster planters on the East Coast, Lake Cowart’s business is utterly dependent on the quality of the water in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
There’s not much the Northumberland County native can do about rainfall which often determines if the baby oysters he puts overboard live or die. And, there’s not much he can do about the pollution that seeps into the Potomac River from the ceaseless development of Northern Virginia; but, he does enjoy a measure of control close to home.
That’s why he turned to the Northern Neck Land Conservancy to place his Mt. Zion Farm in a conservation easement. The easement, which is a legally binding document that Cowart and NNLC wrote together, prohibits Mt. Zion’s 310 acres of waterfront from ever being developed and permanently protects its woodlands that purify rainwater runoff from its fields before it drains into the Yeocomico River.
Cowart and NNLC completed work this year on the easement near Lottsburg at the corner of Rt. 360 and Rt. 624. The farm, about one-third forest and two-thirds fields, includes an historic 150-year-old house whose rooftop cupola is a distinctive landmark.
For the full article, pick up the latest Northumberland Echo 8/28/19
Al Withers, Lake Cowart, and Chip Minor all work to help conserve local land.