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Previous Features
2007 Articles


Winter 2007

Protect

  • Board of County Commissioners Approves Applications for the Protection of 5,000 Agricultural Acres under the Installment Purchase Program - The Frederick County Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) approved and ranked 37 agricultural landowner applications for participation in the County’s Installment Purchase Program (IPP). A total of 5,000 acres of farm land will be protected under the Fiscal Year 2008 (FY08) program cycle.

  • County Signs Deed for Donated Parkland - On Thursday, December 6th, at 1:30 pm, the Frederick County Board of County Commissioners signed the deed for donated parkland.  During the ceremony, several speakers took the podium to tell visitors of the benefits the new park property will have on the community.
  • Muddy Creek is Less Muddy - Just north of the City of Frederick and the Tuscarora Creek watershed, a small creek winds its way from a series of ponds at the base of the eastern foothills of the Catoctin Mountains, through small rural subdivisions and large farms toward the Monocacy River.   On its way, the stream flows through LaRue and Gilbert Kelbaugh’s property, a 30-acre farm on Sunday’s Lane.  They are determined to make Muddy Creek less muddy.

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Restore

  • FCPS Greening Initiative - Potomac Conservancy recently completed a land cover assessment of Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS), and led over 900 students in planting more than 350 native trees and shrubs on FCPS school grounds in an effort to demonstrate the great opportunity that exists to increase tree canopy on FCPS campuses.

  • Linganore gets Native Trees and Shrubs - Mt. Airy friends and neighbors came together on Saturday, November 3rd to continue the work begun in March, adding 109 native trees and shrubs to Village Gate Park along Woodville Branch of Linganore Creek.  In March, more than 100 volunteers planted 2.2 acres in Village Gate Park and 3 acres in East West Park.  The Fall planting included 24 replacement trees for those lost during the summer drought.

  • Linear Rain Garden Traps Pollution - Wednesday morning October 31st dawned crisp and clear as Frederick County Park and Recreation Division staff members Jason Jenkins and Mark Wisner started excavating a series of three linear rain gardens at Libertytown Park to filter storm water from the park’s parking lot.

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Enjoy

  • New Antietam Creek Group in Wash Co. - The founders of Antietam Creek Watershed Alliance (ACWA) hope that 2007 will be remembered as the year when ACWA began to be recognized as a viable organization “dedicated to the promotion, protection and restoration of the Antietam Creek Watershed in cooperation with volunteers, civic groups, and local, state, and federal agencies”.

  • Study for Possible Trail in Emmitsburg - The Potomac Conservancy was contracted by Mount Saint Mary’s University, the Town of Emmitsburg and the Catoctin Land Trust to conduct a Natural Resources Assessment, which looked at approximately 1100 acres of land owned by Mt. St. Mary’s University and the Town of Emmitsburg, in preparation for a trail establishment project.

  • Restoring St. Mary's Run - A huge THANK YOU to all 25 volunteers who helped to plant the 160 trees and shrubs on Saturday morning, November 3rd along a small stream in front of Mount Saint Mary’s University’s Athletic complex.  Students, faculty, staff, administrators, and local residents participated.

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Connect

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Educate

  • WOW! Workhop Offered to Frederick County Teachers - In partnership with Environmental Concern, Inc., the WMS offered the WOW! The Wonders of Wetlands workshop to Frederick County teachers.  WOW! is a one-day workshop for educators during which a variety of classroom and hands-on activities are presented and an instructional guide that includes a collection of wetland activities and information is provided.

  • Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Gardens - Douglas Tallamy spoke at the Chesapeake Conservation Landscaping Council’s Turning a New Leaf conference on November 9th in Annandale, VA.  His topic for the Closing Plenary session was entitled “Gardening for Life.” 

  • Gypsy Moth Mayhem - The gypsy moth is by far the most destructive pest of forest and shade trees in Maryland. The caterpillars eat the leaves of oaks and other hardwoods in May and June. Heavy populations of caterpillars will eat most or all leaves in a tree. Large outbreaks have affected hundreds of thousands of acres statewide.

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Study

  • State of the Nation's River Report - In November 2007, the Potomac Conservancy released its first State of the Nation's River report detailing the current condition and stressors of the Potomac River. According to the report, the river and its watershed receive a D+.

  • Tom's Creek Watershed Assessment - A Mount St. Mary's University researcher is assessing the health of Tom's Creek and its tributaries. Dr. Jeffrey Simmons, Associate Professor of Environmental Science, will be monitoring the water quality at several locations within Tom's Creek watershed during 2008.

  • Management of Japanese Hops - Japanese Hops (Humulus japonicus) is an invasive exotic weed that has created problems in recent years on tree planting sites near waterways in Maryland and nearby States.  Little definitive information was available on the best means to address the problem, and control practices initially applied were sometimes ineffective.

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Fall 2007

Protect

  • Linganore Watershed Stream Protection Ordinance - The ordinance was designed to provide enhanced protection for sensitive waterways and water bodies by maintaining certain distances between streams, lakes and grading, clearing or construction activities on new subdivision lots.  It is based in part on the corresponding slope or grade of the adjacent stream valley.
  • Frederick County's Water Resources Element - Across Maryland, jurisdictions that exercise planning and zoning authority are preparing to include a new element in their comprehensive plans – the Water Resources Element (WRE). The WRE is a new requirement passed by the Maryland General Assembly in 2006 as part of House Bill 1141 (HB 1141).

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Restore

  • Help for Septic Users - Funds are available in Frederick County under the Bay Restoration Fund “Flush Tax” program to help households with septic systems upgrade to the best available current technology in order to reduce nitrogen levels in ground water that discharges to area streams that flow downstream to the Chesapeake Bay.  A joint application from the regional nonprofit Canaan Valley Institute and the Frederick County Health Department resulted in a grant from the Maryland Department of the Environment.
  • Successful Reforestation Projects Using Seedlings - Thousands of acres of trees have been planted in Frederick County over the last 10 years.  Most of these plantings utilized seedling sized trees due to affordability, portability, ease of planting etc. These plantings were conducted with the best of intentions to improve water quality, create habitat, or increase our forest land base.

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Enjoy

  • "Greening" Emmitsburg - Folks in Emmitsburg are sharing ideas and encouraging one another to move in the right direction – the Green direction!
  • Tree Plantings in Frederick County Parks - Recently Frederick County Division of Parks and Recreation Staff have been following the example of Johnny Appleseed by planting trees in some of our County parks.

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Connect

  • Cultivating Community Environment in Mt. Airy - The energy and perspective of three young men, Tim Richards, Josh Schaefer and Andy York, has helped birth a sustainability initiative.  The group calls itself Citizens for a Green Mt. Airy.

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Educate

  • Bark Beetle in White Pines - A number of pines around Frederick County are being attacked by pine bark beetles this summer (2007).  Pines under attack typically display yellowing of needles, followed by browning, then the needles fall off.
  • Runoff 101 - It's the No. 1 source of pollution to your local river and the Bay, and it's coming from your property. Find out what's washing off your yard and how to stop it.

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Study

  • State is Looking at Pollution Limits in Frederick County - The state has developed a draft “Total Maximum Daily Load” (or TMDL) for fecal bacteria that drains from the watershed into the Monocacy River.  TMDLs set regulatory limits on the amount of a particular kind of pollution that a water body is able to handle before becoming impaired.

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Summer 2007

Protect

  • Watershed Steward: Kent Mason - The Kent Mason Family owns a forested tract along Piney Mountain just north of Thurmont in northern Frederick County.  The property is being managed for old growth and there are some large oak and white pine trees on the property.
  • Take Cover - Protect the Bay - Maryland's Winter Cover Crop Program runs through the end of June and is on a first come first serve basis. Cover crops are widely recognized as one of the most cost-effective and environmentally promising ways to control soil erosion and reduce nutrient runoff into the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries during the winter.
  • Don't Drug Your Drinking Water - Sewage treatment facilities clean up sewage reasonably well, but they cannot remove most drugs that we flush away. Antibiotics, hormones, tranquilizers, pain medications, all pass through our sewage treatment processes unaltered and go directly into our streams and rivers.

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Restore

  • Watershed Steward: St. Joseph's Provincial House - In the summer of 1997 the Maryland Forest Service office was contacted by Sister Mary Joe Stein of the Daughters of Charity about looking at St. Joseph’s Provincial Home property near Emmitsburg to discuss environmental issues relating to the property.
  • Libertytown Partners Act to Restore Watershed Health - Libertytown residents are committed to service and action.  They are concerned about the environment and want to do their part in restoring the health of small creeks and streams.  As a result, four local sponsors have participated in installing community restoration projects with the help of volunteers of all ages.
  • Spring Fun Helps Creek in Mt. Airy - On a beautiful early spring day in late March more than 100 youth and adults gathered to plant native trees and shrubs to help restore Woodville Branch, a small tributary of Linganore Creek that begins in Mt. Airy.

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Enjoy

  • Luscious Local Food - Enjoying farm fresh produce and other specialty food items grown right here in Frederick County is one of the outstanding pleasures of summer.
  • Utica Park Planting - A volunteer planting took place April 21, 2007 from 7AM-noon at the new Utica Park in Thurmont, Maryland.  The park officially opened on April 26 at 2 PM, and the volunteers were recognized at the event.  Utica Park is in the Fishing Creek Watershed.
  • 2007 Potomac River Sojourn - The 2007 Potomac River Ramble kicked off with a shuttle to the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, WV, where introductions were made and the group was welcomed.

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Connect

  • Getting Ready for the Rain - Parents, teachers and kids helped install and plant a Rain Garden at Deer Crossing Elementary in May that will slow down rainwater, filter pollutants, recharge ground water, and provide habitat for birds and butterflies as well as an aesthetically pleasing outdoor classroom for primary school children.

  • Adams County TU Reels in a Corporate Sponsor - Adams County Chapter of Trout Unlimited together with our local Waterways Conservation Officer has obtained their first corporate partnership sponsor, Cadbury Schweppes Corporation.

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Educate

  • Safely Disposing of This and That -Small mouth bass in local waters exhibit intersex characteristics, apparently from a large class of household, lawn care, and agricultural and/or pharmacological products. The good news is that Frederick County wants to help citizens safely dispose of hazardous products.
  • The Present and Future of Fishing - The pleasures of fishing are many and varied.  Introducing young people to fishing is one strategy to assure connection to the natural world for future generations.
  • New Environmental Science Degree at Mount St. Mary's University - Mount St. Mary's University is offering its students a new and innovative Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science. The program, which is wrapping up its first year, is designed for students with an interest in a career protecting and restoring our environment.

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Study

  • The Watershed Management Section Receives Grant to Study
    Wetlands
    - In January 2007, Frederick County Government’s Watershed Management Section was awarded a $247,800 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Maryland Department of Environment (MDE) for the Urban Wetlands Program, Bennett Creek Watershed Pilot project to develop a nontidal wetland program in the pilot watershed.

  • USGS Study Shows Benefits of Stream Fencing - The U.S. Geological Survey recently published “Effects of Streambank Fencing of Near-Stream Pasture Land on a Small Watershed in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania,” which outlines the findings of a study conducted from 1993 to 2001.

  • The "Science" of Riparian Buffers - Riparian buffers are streamside tree buffers.  They serve many valuable purposes: protect the creatures in the stream with shade, stabilize stream banks against erosion, filter pollution from storm water, and more.

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Spring 2007

Protect

  • Watershed Steward: Stronghold Property - The Stronghold Property at Sugarloaf Mountain was nominated as a Watershed Steward for their work in Forest Protection and Conservation, establishment of riparian forest buffers, agricultural conservation practices, research projects, and educational initiatives.
  • Backyard Buffers 2007 - Tell Your Neighbors and Friends - The Backyard Buffer program is being offered to Frederick County citizens again this spring!  Twenty-five bare-root seedling trees and shrubs including winterberry, silky dogwood, persimmon, and redbud, are free and available to citizens who have waterways on their properties.
  • 2007 Rain Barrel Program - The Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin (ICPRB) has launched its 2007 Rain Barrel Program. The project began in 2006 with the deployment of 90 barrels in Middletown, Md., with the aid of the Middletown Town Council and grant assistance from Chesapeake Bay Trust. This year’s project, also funded by Chesapeake Bay Trust, will deploy approximately 200 barrels throughout the Potomac watershed and through  workshops will inform citizens about landscaping practices that complement rain barrels.

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Restore

  • Trout in the Classroom - Trout in the Classroom (TIC) is a program that was developed by Trout Unlimited (TU) to help connect students to their watersheds.  Trout are to clean water as canaries are to the air in mines – an indicator.
  • Walkersville Students and Teachers Recognized as Watershed
    Stewards
    - Beginning in Fall 2005, Walkersville high and elementary schools began collaborating to promote environmental awareness on the school campus and watershed, connections between high school students and fourth graders, and energy awareness for students.  Since that point, the schools have had numerous lessons together, planted over 140 native trees, replanted the tree grow-out area, and identified campus environmental problems.

  • Warm Season Grass Burn At Billy Poffenberger Farm - Billy Poffenberger’s Farm stretches alongside State Route Alt. 40 from Mt. Tabor Road to Fox Gap Road next to South Mountain.  Mr. Poffenberger has a keen interest in developing habitat for upland wildlife and has utilized different programs, including the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) to assist with this endeavor.

  • Volunteers Needed to Help Restore Stream Health and Clean Up Woodville Branch - Frederick County Government‘s Watershed Management Section is partnering with the Mt. Airy Parks and Recreation Board and Beautification Commission to plant 625 native trees and shrubs on 6 acres in Village Gate and East West Parks just off Prospect Street on the north side of Mt. Airy along Woodville Branch.

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Enjoy

  • Local Club Launches Environmental Projects - After showing the award-winning documentary film, “An Inconvenient Truth” in early February to help build awareness of the impact of our lifestyles on the earth, the Environmental Committee of the Jefferson Ruritan Club shared a variety of environmental project ideas with the more than 50 neighbors attending the film showing.
  • Spring Plant Sales: April 28th - Two Alliance partners are offering their annual plant sales at the end of April.  We're sure you won’t want to miss them!

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Connect

  • Monocacy & Catoctin Watershed Alliance Landowner Network - The Monocacy & Catoctin Watershed Alliance website has a new feature this month.  The Potomac Conservancy has been working with Frederick County DPW to establish the Landowner Network.  The Network has been created, thanks to funding from the Chesapeake Bay Trust, so that watershed residents and professionals in the field of natural resources, conservation, and water quality can interact with one another.

  • Volunteers Gather to Help Trees - On Saturday, January 27, the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay coordinated a tree shelter removal project at the Monocacy Natural Resource Management Area in Dickerson.  At 9:30am, eighteen volunteers pitched in to help the trees lose their tubes.

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Educate

  • The Not-So-Dirty Secret about Septics - For septic systems, the three most important things are maintenance, maintenance and maintenance. These rules will keep your septic system working properly and keep the crabs and oysters happy until your next seafood bash.
  • Yard Care: Chesapeake Yard - Put your yard in touch with its inner Chesapeake by drawing on what is natural and traditional in this swath of the mid-Atlantic. Skip the cookie-cutter hyper-green lawn for what best suits our area: A home surrounded by trees and shrubs, with natural shade and a softer, healthier, more inviting landscape that comes with proper care.

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Study

  • Endocrine Disruptors: An Emerging Local Water Quality Issue - Recent reports by the local and national news media have focused on an emerging environmental issue that has particular relevance to our region.  Evidence is mounting that one or more chemicals in area waters are altering the biology of fish living there.

  • Keep an Eye Out For Hops - Japanese Hops! - Aaron Cook with the Western Maryland Resource Conservation and Development Council, Inc. asks landowners throughout the Monocacy watershed to stay on the look out and report any infestations of a fast growing vine that some say is worse than kudzu.

  • What is Whirling Disease And How Does it Affect Our Trout? - The Maryland Department of Natural Resources discovered in early February that several of its trout hatcheries are affected with whirling disease, a parasite that attacks the spinal columns of fish and causes them to swim on a whirling pattern.

  • Tree Growth Field Trial at Monocacy NRMA - Beginning in the spring of 2004 a Tree Growth field trial program has been in effect at the Monocacy Natural Resources Management Area (NRMA) in Southern Frederick County.  The purpose of the study is to conduct four popular methods of growing seedlings and measures certain parameters such as cost of establishment, maintenance cost, seedling survival, condition of trees, and growth and development of the seedlings.

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