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Nanjemoy Creek Preserve

A primordial sanctuary for "love birds"

great blue heron
© Alan Eckert Photography

Nanjemoy Creek provides a nesting home to one of the largest great blue heron colonies on the East Coast.  Approximately 1,000 pairs of herons return each year on or around Valentine's Day to bring in the next generation of this species--the East Coast's largest wading bird, standing four feet tall with a six-foot wing span.

Visiting the Preserve
Nanjemoy Creek Preserve is only open for scientific research (with prior Conservancy permission).  Nesting herons are easily disturbed, and even a few unguided visitors can disrupt the colony, causing adults to abandon their nests and the rookery.  Thank you for your understanding and help in protecting this important habitat.

Charles County


  • seepage wetlands
  • seasonal ponds
  • numerous rare species


  • dwarf wedge mussel (globally rare species)
  • mink
  • river otter
  • rails

Why the Conservancy Selected This Site
To protect the great blue heron rookery and other species, including the globally rare dwarf wedge mussel.  The pristine nature of Nanjemoy Creek and its surrounding intact forest areas along the Potomac River make this site a high priority.

What the Conservancy Is Doing Here

  • More than 2,500 acres protected since 1978
  • Annual Great Blue Heron Nest Count has shown that rookery shifts, leading to protection of additional tracts.
  • Cleanups of roadside and household trash dumps on new tracts--volunteers welcome!

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