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Greetings! 

Spring 2007

Have you heard the spring peepers singing or welcomed any red winged blackbirds to your neighborhood?  Spring breaks into our consciousness in many ways.  Its winsome beauty inspires and delights.  For some of us, the season of new life brings new commitment to look afresh at the impact our lifestyles have on the water, air and critters in our communities. 

Positive stories abound in the Monocacy and Catoctin watersheds this spring.  New Watershed Stewards have been recognized at Walkersville High and Elementary schools, the Stronghold property at Sugarloaf, and Billy Poffenberger’s farm west of Middletown.  Alliance members are working together on a variety of upcoming projects including a tree planting in Mt. Airy on March 31st, rain barrels to help harvest rain water, “Buffers in a Bag” to help absorb pollution before it washes into nearby streams, and two native plant sales coming up on April 28th.  Check out the calendar for more events in your area. 

I’d like to encourage you to explore our new feature, the Landowner Network Discussion Group.  The Network offers watershed residents and conservation professionals an easy way to interact with one another.  It allows people to ask and answer questions, post comments, discuss concerns, advertise events and meetings, and most importantly to provide information about the watershed we live and work in.  Help get a dialogue going by registering and posting your comments.

Threats also confront us including recent findings showing that certain chemicals are changing the reproductive system of small mouth bass in our waterways, the incidence of whirling disease that has reduced the trout fry available for stocking local streams, and  Japanese Hops, an Asian invasive vine that is overwhelming stream corridors. 

Let us delight in the beauty of spring as we deepen our commitment to act more wisely.  Help us expand the Alliance community and improve the health of Frederick County’s watersheds.

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Regards,

Kay Schultz
Community Restoration Coordinator
Watershed Management Section

 

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Harvest Rain Water

During the Frederick Agricultural Fair lots of citizens who visited our Alliance booth expressed interest in rain barrels to help harvest rain water, reduce run off and reduce their use of public or well water.  Alliance partner ICPRB is offering barrels to interested citizens who participate in a free 2 hour workshop on barrel use, maintenance and Bay wise landscaping.  Don’t miss this chance to “green” your own yard!  For additional information, click here.

The Back Yard Buffer program offers five of each of five species of 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 301-791-4010 or by e-mail at cmiller@dnr.state.md.us.  For additional information, click here.        

Deadline is April 15th so get your applications in!!

The calendar is full of opportunities to volunteer on projects all around the County - from Mt. Airy to Frederick City’s Waterford Park, from Utica Park to a farm in Union Bridge.  There are also a variety of interesting meetings and workshops.  Consider the New Forest Society’s spring meeting in Emmitsburg on March 24th or the Frederick Forest Board’s Forestry 101 Lecture at Stronghold on Earth Day, April 21st.  Review the calendar and check out the variety of opportunities this month and next.   Do join us.

Stewards – Young and Old

Walkersville fourth graders have teamed up with high school students for a collaborative multiyear School Yard Habitat project at Walkersville Elementary and High Schools, a part of the Glade Creek watershed.  Because of their considerable accomplishments and ongoing commitment, the teachers and students have been recognized as Watershed Stewards.  Click here for further information.  Lest you think this is a recent phenomena, read about the foresight of Gordon Strong who placed more than 3,000 acres of forest under easement in 1959, an area we now know as Stronghold in the Bennett Creek watershed or Billy Poffenberger’s farm with a variety of wildlife conservation habitats. If you are interested in learning more about the Watershed Steward Program, click here

Scientists have discovered that more than 80% of the small mouth bass in local waters exhibit intersex characteristics, apparently caused by a combination of chemicals from urban and agricultural areas.  Click here to read about how Hood professor Drew Ferrier explains what has been learned and the many questions requiring further research.

Rain barrels will soon be available in Jefferson.  Partners are also exploring sites for a rain garden.  A variety of additional environmental projects are being explored.  Click here to learn more about local activities in this part of the Catoctin Creek watershed.

The Chesapeake Club provides maintenance advice to homeowners who rely on septic systems for processing their wastewater.  No one wants to pollute groundwater so listen to this timely advice.

Stewarding our landscapes to limit polluted run off is a task for all of us with yards.  The Chesapeake Yard Club suggests adding native planting areas and cautions against spring fertilizer application.  Learn more.

Japanese Hops is a fast growing vine from Asia that has gotten well established along many stream corridors in Frederick County.  In order to manage this difficult challenge, Alliance partner Western Maryland Resource Conservation and Development Council asks for everyone’s help to report incidence of this noxious weed.  Click here for more information.

 

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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.