61-acre Monk's Creek property in Edgewood preserved

61-acre Monk's Creek property in Edgewood preserved
The Harford Land Trust and the Maryland Environmental Trust have partnered to preserve a 61-acre tract in Edgewood called Monk's Creek. (Courtesy Maryland Environmental Trust)

A 61-acre wooded property in the Edgewood area has been permanently preserved through a partnership between the nonprofit Harford Land Trust and the Maryland Environmental Trust.

Harford Land Trust donated its conservation easement on the propery, known as Monk’s Creek, to the Maryland Environmental Trust, according to a news release from the state trust.


The property includes one of two Monk’s Creek headwaters that flow to the Bush River, a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay.

The Maryland Environmental Trust is a unit of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources that works with community-based land trust groups, property owners and communities to preserve natural resources throughout the state. The trust holds more than 1,080 conservation easements, protecting more than 130,000 acres across Maryland, according to its website.

“Protecting and preserving this land is beneficial to improving water quality on tributaries along Bush River,” Wendy Hershey, land conservation liaison for the Maryland Environmental Trust, said in an emailed statement. “The deciduous woodlands and associated vernal pools provide breeding and feeding habitat for a large number of amphibians, invertebrates, reptiles and waterfowl, and is also habitat for many birds.”

Those bird species include the Acadian flycatcher, hairy woodpecker, Kentucky warbler, ovenbird, red-eyed vireo and scarlet Tanager, according to Hershey.

Donating the easement, rather than selling it, allows “some flexibility of terms” for the use of the property, according to Kristin Kirkwood, executive director of the Harford Land Trust. The land trust still owns the property.

“As the landowner, the Harford Land Trust cannot also hold the easement,” Kirkwood wrote in an email. “Only an entity that is fully independent from the landowner can serve as the perpetual easement monitor.”

Potential uses include building a “small education center” or similar structure, limited impervious surfaces and agriculture that is compatible with the forested area such as beekeeping or cultivating mushrooms. Development of permanent residential structures will be prohibited, according to Kirkwood.

The property is in the 3600 and 3700 blocks of Willoughby Beach Road, on the south side of the street and directly across from a 104-acre preserved parcel called Otter Creek Preserve.

The HLT and Maryland Environmental Trust partnered to preserve this property, too, with the donation of the land trust’s conservation easement. The Otter Creek preservation was announced in early January.

Otter Creek Preserve and Monk’s Creek cover about 165 acres of “coastal plains forest.” They are part of the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area, and have been designated as Targeted Ecological Areas for the Maryland DNR and Green Infrastructure Hubs by Harford County, according to Kirkwood.

The land trust has donated four conservation easements to the environmental trust to preserve 340 acres total, according to Kirkwood.

Harford Land Trust has worked with community partners to preserve more than 11,000 acres in Harford County since the organization’s founding in 1991, and it holds or owns conservation easements on about 1,500 acres, according to the land trust website.

The Harford Land Trust spent $387,000, plus costs for due diligence and transactions, to acquire the acreage for the Monk’s Creek tract.

The organization purchased in 2013 the largest portion, 53.95 acres, for $100,000 plus costs from the adult children of Harford County-based developer Bob Ward, according to Kirkwood. The sellers included Jennifer Ward Eisenbrandt, Laura Ward Hilliard, Jennifer Reynolds and Robert Andrew Ward, she said.


The land trust purchased another 2.54 acres from Eugene and Gail Stewart for $100,000, plus costs, in 2015, followed by 2.18 acres from the Upper Chesapeake Residential Hospice House Inc. for $87,000 plus costs and 2.54 acres from Anna L. and Robert W. Koscielski for $100,000, plus costs. The latter two acquisitions were in 2016, according to Kirkwood.

The land trust received funding support from Aberdeen Proving Ground through their partnership with the Army’s Compatible Use Buffer Program. Army posts work, through the ACUB program, with community organizations to acquire land near their installations that can be preserved from development and used as buffers between Army facilities and their neighbors, according to the program website.

The property is close to the western shore of the Bush River, across from Aberdeen Proving Ground, and near the Edgewood Area of APG.

“Acquiring these parcels took the cooperation of four landowners, funding by the U.S. Army and generous donations of our members,” Kirkwood said. “We value our strong partnership with the Maryland Environmental Trust and look forward to continued collaboration.”

The Harford Land Trust and the Maryland Environmental Trust partnered to preserve the 61-acre Monk's Creek tract in Edgewood. The tract includes forested areas and shallow pools.
The Harford Land Trust and the Maryland Environmental Trust partnered to preserve the 61-acre Monk's Creek tract in Edgewood. The tract includes forested areas and shallow pools. (Harford Land Trust/Provided Phot / Baltimore Sun Media Group)