Landowners and Local Company Co-Owners Protect Farm
Streams, forests, and wetlands are three of the most important natural resources that MET protects. Landowners and recent easement donors Scott McGill and Jim Morris couldn’t agree more. That’s why they’ve dedicated their professional lives to protecting those resources. McGill and Morris are co-owners of Ecotone, Inc., a locally-based company that provides wetland design and construction, stream restoration, and forest and wetland mitigation services in the Mid-Atlantic Region.
So, when McGill and Morris acquired a 55-acre farm in northern Baltimore County, protecting the property with a conservation easement was a natural fit. Taking advantage of a new policy approved by the MET Board in May 2008, the landowners worked with MET and the Land Preservation Trust to craft an easement that would permit the property to be used as a forest and wetland mitigation bank for Baltimore County development projects. The arrangement allows McGill and Morris to harness market forces to restore and enhance woodlands, wetlands, and stream channels.
Scott McGill, a Baltimore County native, praised MET, saying, “we had a very specific vision for this property which MET really took to heart. The easement expertly captures in writing our goals for the property.” Morris added that, “the improved federal income tax benefit really made the math work for us. Combining our reforestation and mitigation work with the conservation easement has given us the unique opportunity to make a positive impact on the environment and on our business.”
The property consists of approximately 1,100 linear feet of Deer Creek, a major tributary of the Susquehanna River, and 900 feet of scenic road frontage on Harris Mill Road. It is adjacent to several hundred acres of protected lands and provides critical habitat for forest interior dwelling birds, which are in decline on the eastern seaboard.
Story and field photo by Adam Block, MET Central Region Planner
Landowner photo courtesy of Jim Morris and Scott McGill