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The First Day of Spring 2006

This is the first in a series of electronic watershed newsletters that are linked to the web site of the Monocacy & Catoctin Watershed Alliance.  Quarterly issues will feature news briefs and alert you to upcoming watershed events.  If you don’t want to receive future issues please click here.


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Free Trees and Shrubs Are Available!  

The Back Yard Buffer program offers twenty-five free native trees and shrubs that flourish near streams.  Any citizen in Frederick County whose property adjoins an intermittent or perennial stream is eligible to receive these trees along with instructions for their planting.  Contact Cody Miller by phone at 301-416-7261 or by e-mail at cmiller@dnr.state.md.us .  For additional information, click here .   
Deadline Coming Soon!!  Apply before March 31st.


Make Your Backyard A Healthy Place for Man and Beast!

Volunteer Master Gardeners are available to help evaluate our yards using their Bay Wise Yardstick program.  The yardstick tool helps you assess your yard and share your assessment with a master gardener. If your yard qualifies, it is certified and posted as a Bay Wise Landscape.  For additional information about the program contact Jim Gallion at 301 898-0678 or email jimbo21793@aol.com or Nancy Adamson at (301) 694-1596 or by email  nadamson@umd.edu

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Cool Summer Opportunity for Conservation Oriented Teens!        

The Frederick County Forestry Board is accepting applications for the annual Natural Resources Careers Conference to be held at Camp Hickory Environmental Center from Sunday July 23 – Saturday July 29, 2006.  Eligible high schoolers are those who entered the 9-12 grades in September 2005.  The Board will select two or more students, and provide them with a paid scholarship to the camp.  For further information, click here .
Applications must be received before April 15, 2006.


Brook Trout Working Group Launched!

Fisherman, foresters, conservationists and watershed workers gathered at Thorpewood on February 28th to discuss the health of the native brook trout population, the strengths of our collective concern, the threats to headwater stream ecosystems, and a way to move towards better protection and restoration.  Dr. Ray Morgan with the University of Maryland’s Appalachian Laboratory in Frostburg, MD reported that Frederick County’s brook trout populations have been reduced by more than half and are severely threatened by urbanization and aquifer depletion.  Working groups were assembled, including participants collectively focusing on the Catoctin Mountain streams, the Monocacy River Watershed and Antietam Creek.   If you wish to join a working group, contact either Kay Schultz or Doug Hutzell.   Click here for additional information.

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Trading Your Lawn for a Meadow?

Some say that green lawns with every blade of grass uniformly cut are beautiful and easily worth hours of mowing, bags of fertilizer and weed killers, and plenty of watering during dry times.  Others disagree.  Check out one couple’s experience trying another strategy.  You also might also want to consider a natural approach to lawn care.    


Funds Available for Helping Farmers
Transition to Organic Farming


On March 10, 2006, Virginia Murphy, Maryland’s State Conservationist announced that the state has received $451,235 in 2006 conservation funding to help farmers transition to organic farming.  The application process begins at the local County Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) or Soil Conservation District Office.  The sign-up period closes on March 31, 2006. Interested farmers should immediately contact these offices for more information on eligible conservation practices, the application process, and receiving conservation assistance.  Farmers can receive up to 75 percent financial cost share assistance on eligible practices that are necessary to the successful transition to organic production.  Additional information: click here for the press release, contact District Conservationist Mark Seibert at 301 695-2803 ext. 3, or email Mark at mark.seibert@md.usda.gov.

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Frederick County Envirothon Teams
Focus on Water Stewardship


Each high school in Frederick County will be sending five person teams to Cunningham Falls State Park near Thurmont to participate in the Frederick County Envirothon on April 25th.  The youth will focus on hands on testing of their skills and knowledge in the natural resource areas of soils, wildlife, aquatics, and forestry as well as this year’s area of focus, Water Stewardship in a Changing Climate.  Prior to the event, the participating students receive extensive study materials and an “in field” training day led by natural resource professionals.  For more information about the Envirothon, visit the Maryland Association of Soil Conservation District’s website at http://www.mascd.net/envirothon/ .


Volunteer:  Meet Friends and Make a Difference!

There are four volunteer work parties to choose from on April 8th!  Do you want to bag baby trees for the backyard buffer program?  Or help the headwaters of Bush Creek by planting tree seedling to replace dead ones on the National District Park property?  You could join one of the Potomac watershed clean up teams led by the Potomac Conservancy or help plant trees along a farmer’s stream with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.  Review the calendar and see some other alternatives if this date doesn’t work for you.  Participating in the Big Sweep clean up on April 22nd is another cool alternative and a chance to get out doors with neighbors, friends, or family members! 

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We’re Never Too Old to Learn!

          Opportunities abound to increase our knowledge and skills in ways that can help the health of our families, communities and watersheds.  What do you want to learn?  Teachers include our young people, our neighbors and conservation staff, to name a few.  If you live in the Walkersville area, come to the Town Hall this week (Thursday, March 23rd at 7) to learn about landscaping for people and wildlife .  Or if you wish to learn how to convert an acreage to a healthy native plant community, join the Friends of Waterford Park and hear from foresters Phil Pannill and Mike Kay at 7:30 on April 12th at the Old Armory on 2nd and Bentz Streets in Frederick.   Keep checking back with the Alliance web site calendar for updated postings of opportunities to volunteer and to learn.


What’s Your Watershed Address?

The water that flows over our homes and yards, schools and churches and into our swales, storm drains and streams binds us to one another.  Refreshing rains wash everything that we pitch out the window into our streams, impacting all downstream life.  Where do you live in the watershed?   What is the name of your nearest stream?  How does it look?  Would you be happy with your child or grandchild playing in it, as perhaps you did as a child?  Our watershed health can benefit from our growing awareness and our decisions to adopt "greener lifestyle practices" that can promote healthier lives for our communities and us such as: using natural household cleaners, composting, using a rain barrel, building a rain garden in your backyard, using natural lawn care techniques, or use native plants in your garden

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The Monocacy & Catoctin Watershed Alliance

Lots of folks in Frederick County are joining forces to protect and improve our watersheds.  We realize that each of our actions matter and that joint efforts can attract greater support.  We invite you to become a part of the growing effort for a healthier community for all.  Please contact us with your questions or comments.  And thanks for all that you are doing to promote watershed health for present and future generations!


Kay Schultz
Community Restoration Coordinator
The Monocacy & Catoctin Watershed Alliance Facilitator


Thanks to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the Chesapeake Bay Program,
the USDA Forest Service, and the US Environmental Protection Agency
for their support through the Chesapeake Bay Small Watershed Grants Program.