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The Monocacy & Catoctin Watershed Alliance (MCWA) is a mutual, collaborative, non-advocacy effort among individuals and organizations desiring to work together to improve the health of the Monocacy and Catoctin watersheds.  Growing out of more than two years of action planning for the Monocacy Watershed Restoration Action Strategy (WRAS), a Frederick County coordinated and State assisted local planning process, participants decided to continue their affiliation and cooperation at its conclusion in order to help foster WRAS plan implementation.


Mission Statement

The Monocacy & Catoctin Watershed Alliance coordinates the efforts of a diverse group of stakeholders dedicated to the protection and restoration of the natural resources in the Monocacy & Catoctin watersheds.

Vision Statement

We envision a broadening and deepening stewardship ethic among an informed citizenry, which will help protect the County’s agricultural heritage and rural character, maintain and improve the quality of life, protect and treasure our natural resources, and manage future growth more wisely.  We envision healthy streams and rivers with forested buffers supplying clean drinking water and supporting healthy communities of aquatic and terrestrial life, as well as diverse and popular recreational uses.  We envision a healthy and vibrant agricultural community built on links with citizens who support local agricultural and renewable forest products.  We envision increasingly concentrated residential development using conservation design principles with access to collective transportation modes and a web of well-maintained trails.  We envision watershed conservation folks from all sectors and communities collaborating to implement effective conservation and restoration practices and foster a creative stewardship consciousness.

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Alliance History

The Watershed Restoration Action Strategy (WRAS) program was developed by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) using funding from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Its goal is to provide grant money and technical assistance in the form of three reports to local governments throughout Maryland in order to develop strategies to improve water quality and wildlife habitat.

Frederick County Government applied for its first round of WRAS funding in August 2002 for the Lower Monocacy River Watershed and received the grant award in January 2003. The County used the grant money to hire a part time WRAS coordinator to organize a Lower Monocacy Steering Committee and coordinate the development of the Lower Monocacy WRAS plan. The plan was completed and submitted to DNR in May 2004. The County applied for a second WRAS grant to focus on the Upper Monocacy River Watershed and received grant money in July 2004. The plan was completed in June 2005.

The County's goal for the initiative was to develop multifaceted strategic plans to guide citizens, government agencies, and other interested groups in the protection and restoration of the Lower and Upper Monocacy River watersheds. The two plans and supporting technical reports can be viewed in their entirety at

After the WRAS process was complete, implementation efforts for the Lower Monocacy WRAS plan began and members of the two Steering Committees desired to keep the efforts of the Lower Monocacy and Upper Monocacy WRAS Steering Committees alive. The Monocacy & Catoctin Watershed Alliance (MCWA) is what evolved out of the group planning initiative. The Alliance developed a logo and hosted its first booth in the City Streets, Country Roads exhibit of the Great Frederick Fair in September 2004.

During bimonthly planning meetings starting in July 2005, the group approved the final website design and agreed upon a structure under which the Alliance would operate. The Alliance helps Frederick County Division of Public Works (DPW) to leverage the resources of outside groups to meet the goals outlined in the WRAS plans. The WRAS Coordinator role at the County shifted to a Community Restoration Coordinator role when grant money was awarded for Lower Monocacy WRAS plan implementation. The Community Restoration Coordinator works to coordinate the efforts of the Alliance partners in the implementation of the Lower and Upper Monocacy WRAS plans.

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Alliance Projects

The Alliance has helped encourage and facilitate projects where several partners contribute expertise and resources resulting in a community restoration, demonstration project, or an education and outreach event. Recently completed projects include:

Cloverhill Community Restoration Project which grew out of a Homeowner Association’s interest in improving its stream corridor and involved at least four Alliance partners - one who wrote a grant application, another developed a phased forest stewardship plan, another arranged for a school group to plant trees and shrubs that the students had raised, while another mobilized volunteers for community work days, and;

Tree Growth Field Trial at Monocacy NRMA during which four alternative methods of protecting newly planted trees from deer browse was sponsored by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Foresters and assisted by three Alliance partners during the fence installation, planting, measurement and public relation phases of the project.

Libertytown Stewards Project involved more than 50 volunteers who worked together to plant four rain gardens and two tree planting projects at four community restoration sites in Libertytown at the Liberty Elementary School, Liberty Village Cohousing Community, Libertytown Community Park, and St. Peter the Apostle Roman Catholic Church. More than 260 hours of time were invested in 2006 to improve the health of Town Branch and its tributaries which flow into Linganore Creek, Lake Linganore and beyond. The project was funded by the Chesapeake Bay Trust and the Frederick County Division of Public Works Watershedshed Management Section.

Other Alliance projects that are planned or underway include:

Bennett Creek Restoration Initiative offers technical and financial assistance to landowners along Fahrney and Pleasant Branches of Bennett Creek. The initiative is led by the Potomac Conservancy who is working with several Alliance partners including the Soil Conservation District/NRCS, Frederick County Watershed Management Section, Ducks Unlimited, and the Center for Watershed Protection as well as owners of agricultural and developed properties who receive assistance. The project is funded through a grant from the Chesapeake Bay Trust.

Urban Wetlands Program, Bennett Creek Watershed Pilot will develop a mechanism for Frederick County Government’s Watershed Management Section to establish wetland assessment standards and protocols, update and map the nontidal wetlands GIS overlay for Bennett Creek, define characteristics for benchmark nontidal wetlands in the Piedmont hydrophysiographic province in order to improve water quality and wetland habitat, provide regulatory guidance for land use change relating to wetlands, conduct education and outreach to Frederick County public School teachers and students about wetland functions, and establish two stormwater wetland restoration/enhancement projects. Funding for this project will come from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 319(h) Program through the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE).

"Holding Our Ground" Project provides outreach, education and technical assistance through an electronic quarterly newsletter and a Geographic Information System (GIS) tool that includes multiple layers of data within Frederick County. The purpose of the GIS application is to help landowners identify environmental problems on their properties and discuss voluntary restoration opportunities. The project is targeted in the Linganore Creek watershed and is funded by a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF).

Urban TMDL Demonstration Project provides funding for Frederick County's Community Restoration Coordinator to assist in organizing and implementing restoration projects in the Linganore Creek watershed in an effort to address the Total Maximum Dail Load (TMDL). Funding for this project will come from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 319(h) Program through the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE).

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How Does the Alliance Work?

Presently, community groups with local problems and potential ideas for community restoration projects approach a member of the Alliance and request help.  Requests are often referred to the Community Restoration Coordinator who alerts appropriate partners to the potential project and facilitates initial conversations or meetings to discern the best strategy for planning and securing the needed resources.  Often if several interested community groups are concentrated in a particular watershed, the funding potential and collaborative potential for the project increases.

Alliance Partners

Below is an alphabetical listing of Monocacy & Catoctin Watershed Alliance Partners, how to contact them for information, and what types of services they can provide.

Quick Index to MCWA Partners

Organization Name

Primary Contact


Types of Assistance

Audubon Society of Central Maryland

Ron Polniaszek (Chapter President)
301.831.5060 (Frederick County)
  • Attracting, feeding, observing and identifying birds and butterflies in your backyard
  • Developing bird and butterfly-friendly habitat using native plants
  • Restoring and managing wildlife habitat
  • Education
410.795.6546 (Carroll County)

Bill Becraft (Sanctuary Manager)

410.531.6658 (Howard County)
Canaan Valley Institute
  • Nitrogen reducing replacement septic systems with Flush Tax $
  • Comprehensive watershed-based plans to addess TMDLs
  • Stream restoration
  • Geospatial services
  • Applied science
  • Organizational development

Catoctin Forest Alliance

  • Educational workshops
  • Outreach & involvement with citizens to protect and improve health of the Catoctin Forest
Catoctin Land Trust


  • Conservation easements
  • Education of landowners

Catoctin Mountain Park

Becky Loncosky


  • Water quality testing & monitoring
  • GIS support
  • Design of outreach materials

Center For Watershed Protection


Bryan Seipp


  • Technical assistance with designing stormwater management systems
  • Watershed planning & management
  • Better Site Design
Chesapeake Bay Foundation


  • Technical assistance on restoration projects
  • Assistance seeking grant funding
  • Environmental education

Chesapeake Wildlife Heritage




  • Design and installation of habitat management plans for farms and backyards
  • Habitat restoration
  • Invasive species control
  • Tree plantings, warm season grass planting, and wetland restoration

Frederick County Conservation Club

John Smucker


  • Create a stream restoration experience for young community members that provides long lasting knowledge, appreciation and action
  • Assist in education efforts from the planning of lessons to delivery methods

Frederick County Forestry Board


  • Tree selection
  • Developing planting plans
  • Training in invasive plant management

Frederick County Master Gardeners

Regina Irizzary


  • Education
  • Speakers for existing organizations
  • Presentations on Bay Wise landscaping strategy using native plants

Frederick County Division of Planning


  • Mapping & GIS analysis
  • Property ownership information
  • Zoning & comprehensive plan designations

Frederick County Watershed Management Section


  • GIS services, mapping & analysis
  • Coordination of MCWA, partners, and community restoration
  • Public outreach & education about watershed health



Friends of Rural Roads of Frederick County

Susan Hanson


  • Promote the preservation of remaining gravel roads in Frederick County and support County Rural Roads Program
  • Provide information about rural roads and alternatives to paving roads in rural areas

Friends of Waterford Park

Ginny Brace


  • Provide assistance on how to develop a "Friends" group
  • Education about invasive species that are widespread in the area

Hood Colllege

Drew Ferrier


  • Provides meeting space
  • Hosts workshops on scientific topics, e.g. endocrine disruptors
  • Can provide technical assistance with water quality topics

Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin



  • Grant writing
  • Development of watershed organizations
  • Event posting through media outlets & website

Maryland Chapter of the American Chestnut Foundation

Kathy Marmet




  • Education and research about the backcross breeding program to restore the American Chestnut tree to its native range

Maryland Forest Service


  • Professional forestry services
  • Development of forest stewardship plans
  • Education

Maryland Native Plant Society - Catoctin Chapter

Jim and Teresa Gallion


  • Promote awareness, appreciation, and conservation of Maryland's native plants and their habitats through education, research, advocacy, and service activities 

Monocacy National Battlefield


  • Field assessment & technical assistance
  • GIS, education & training in water quality monitoring
  • Exotic plant management & control
Mount St. Mary's University
ext 4863
  • Environmental restoration
  • Tom's Creek water monitoring
  • Outreach & educaiton
Potomac Conservancy

Aimee Weldon

  • Growing Native Seed Collection Coordination & Information
  • Restoration projects including stream fencing, tree planting, raingardens, etc.

Potomac Valley Fly Fishers, Inc.


  • Issues regarding the protection and restoration of fisheries
  • Issues regarding stream protection and restoration
  • Promote fly fishing as a sportsman like and enjoyable way of fishing, and the most consistent with the preservation and wise use of our resources

Soil Conservation District (Frederick & Catoctin)

ext 3
  • Technical assistance to agricultural landowners on soil and water conservation
  • Packaging of applications for federal and state financial assistance
  • Awards, tours, and recognition of leadership and good practices in soil and water conservation
Friends of Baker Park  
  • Conservation/Restoration efforts in Baker Park in Frederick, Maryland
Trout Unlimited

(703) 284-9420

  • Brook Trout Habitat Restoration Projects
  • Land Protection

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Becoming an Alliance Partner

Do you work for an organization that is doing environmental work in Frederick County and would like to become an Alliance partner? Do you volunteer with a group that would benefit from the partnerships of the Alliance? Please fill out this questionnaire and email it to or mail to:

Shannon Moore
Frederick County Office of Sustainability & Environmental Resources
30 N. Market St
Frederick, MD 21701



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