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Previous Features
2008 Articles


Winter 2008

Protect

  • Rural Legacy Grant for Frederick Farms - On December 3rd, 2008 Governor Martin O'Malley announced this year’s Rural Legacy Program grant allocations.  The Frederick County Mid-Maryland Rural Legacy area received a grant of $1,000,000.  Overall, a total of $13,460,700 was awarded to 20 Maryland counties.

  • Gypsy Moth Informational Meeting - Over 60 landowners from around Frederick County attended an informational meeting on gypsy moth at the C. Burr Artz Regional Library in Frederick on 12-4-08. Speakers included Tom Lupp, MD Department of Agriculture Forest and Pest Management who presented a program on how to identify gypsy moth and assess your forests potential for defoliation.

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Restore

  • Bringing Cattle Back to the Farm - The farm is an old dairy farm located in Adamstown, approximately 15 miles south of Frederick, where cows once roamed the fields and crops were farmed as feed.  That was 20 years ago and Harry Kanode was much younger.  Today there is no livestock, part of the growing trend of losing dairy farms in Maryland.

  • Rain Garden at Fountain Rock Park - Throughout last summer and fall, the topography of Fountain Rock Nature Park changed.  Among the changes was a new parking lot that was created in a vacant field. The area that used to allow cars now has grass and native shrubs planted at the historic battery of limekilns.
  • Free Trees - NOW AVAILABLE - Sediments and nutrients wash out of our backyards every time it rains.  These pollutants are eventually transported down our creeks into the Monocacy and Potomac Rivers and then carried out to the Chesapeake Bay.  Would you like to help restore and protect your local waters and the Chesapeake Bay without leaving your own backyard?

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Enjoy

  • Audubon Sanctuary Nature Walks - December is "Holiday Break" month, but we'll be kicking off the 2009 schedule on Saturday, January 17th, 9-11 AM, once again at the Audrey Carroll Audubon Sanctuary near Mount Airy. January's topic is "Winter Wildlife".

  • Arrowwood Viburnum -Favorite Shrub - Over the years we have planted a number of shrubs in various reforestation, wildlife enhancement and stream restoration projects.  Small growing, multi-stemmed shrubs have many desirable qualities in that they can be used in smaller growing spaces, provide dense cover for birds and other animals, create a transition zone between a high forest community and a field, do not encroach on agricultural crops like a large growing tree, produce berries and other fruits, and many have beautiful blooms that enhance the landscape.
  • 2009 Great Backyard Bird Count - Mark your calendars for the 11th annual Great Backyard Bird Count, February 13-16, 2009. The Great Backyard Bird Count collaborative effort grows with each succeeding year, and we expect 2009's count to continue the trend. We can use your help in spreading the word about this event. It's fun and it helps all of us learn more about birds.
  • Audubon Sanctuary Nature Walks - Bluebirds are already active in our area, and we're sure to see some during our February outing at the Fred Archibald Sanctuary off of Boyers Mill Road! Come out and share the fun!  Be sure to dress warmly, and bring binoculars along if you have them!

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Connect

  • PWP Information Exchange - The Potomac Watershed Partnership (PWP)—a collaborative effort among federal, state, and local partners to restore the health of the land and waters of the Potomac River Basin—held its fourth biannual Information Exchange & Forum on December 10, 2008 at Pinecliff Park in Frederick, MD. Eighty participants attended the free event to learn more about Community & Urban Tree Canopy programs and Urban Low Impact Development Challenges & Solutions. The diverse audience included representatives from NGOs; local, state, and federal government; school districts; consulting firms; and watershed and forestry groups.
  • New Chespeake Bay Networking Tool - The Chesapeake Watershed Network is a community of organizations and individuals working to protect and restore the land and waters of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Our online community facilitates networking and cooperation among its members by providing tools, resources and connections to help its members further their efforts.

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Educate

  • Maryland Grazers Network - A new project, the Maryland Grazers Network, is paying experienced cattle or dairy grazers to work as mentors with farmers wanting to improve their grazing systems or begin a grazing system (farmer partners).   Also there is an opportunity for farmers wanting to improve their marketing or to start a direct marketing operation to work with a farmer mentor who is doing creative marketing to take advantage of the growing market interest in grass based beef.

  • Trout in the Classroom Program - Volunteers from Potomac Valley Fly Fishers (PVFF) will support five Frederick County schools this school year with their Trout in the Classroom  (TIC) program.  In this program students are responsible for rearing trout eggs to fingerlings during the school year. The fish are released into DNR-approved Frederick County trout streams before the end of the school year.  Students learn about environmental and watershed issues in the process of raising the fish.
  • The Woods in Your Backyard Training - The Potomac Conservancy, in partnership with the University of Maryland Cooperative Extension and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Forest Service will be offering a three session evening training to small lot landowners during Spring 2009. This training will focus on the practical application of the tools provided to landowners in the publication The Woods in Your Backyard.

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Study

  • Increasing Forest Cover - The Center for Watershed Protection is partnering with Frederick County to do a study of forest cover in the Linganore watershed that will serve as a template for forest cover analyses in other Maryland developing watersheds.  Anticipated outcomes from the study include the recommendation of a Tree Canopy goal for the Linganore watershed, priority properties for reforestation and a plan for goal implementation.

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Fall 2008

Protect

  • Gypsy Moth Control Program - During 2007, Frederick County forests were weakened by gypsy moth defoliation and a serious drought.  With stressed trees and an expanded gypsy moth population, forestry experts predicted that as many as 43,000 acres of County forest would be severely defoliated in Spring 2008.  Because of the severity of the potential loss to the critical forest acreage, a Gypsy Moth Task Force was organized to address this threat.

  • Help Reduce Nitrogen in Ground Water - Grant funds from the Bay Restoration Fund are available to help homeowners with septic systems upgrade to add a pretreatment device to replace a conventional septic tank.

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Restore

  • Watershed Stewards: The Luchsingers - Just outside of Urbana, with a majestic view of Sugarloaf Mountain to the west, lies the Peter and Barbara Luchsinger property.    The Luchsingers have owned this property since 1978 after they acquired it from Mrs. Luchsinger’s parents.  Over the years, Peter and Barbara have conducted a number of forestry and wildlife practices including a commercial forest harvest, cutting firewood for their own use, controlling invasive species like tree of heaven, and spraying for gypsy moth when necessary.  Dr. and Mrs. Luchsinger have also spent a substantial amount of time reforesting nearly 10 acres of land.  The landowners are managing their fields to enrich the soil and provide habitat for field dwelling wildlife.

  • Planting and Pollination a Success - This spring marked the 5th anniversary of breeding work in Maryland. The American Chestnut Foundation (TACF) members and volunteers celebrated this milestone by working tirelessly to make this year the most ambitious planting season to date. With planting efforts spearheaded by Robert Strasser, almost 1500 nuts were planted in 11 Maryland chapter orchards and 3 school orchards.  All of the 8 previously existing orchards are now planted to capacity. The main objective of this year’s season was planting 20 lines of ‘Clapper', and establishing new B2 lines of the ‘Musick’ sources of resistance.  Maryland now has three orchards devoted to growing the chestnuts derived from this source that has showed promise for resistance to Phytopthora cinnamomi.

  • Grant Funding for Green Roof - On August 28th the BOCC will consider the Division of Parks and Recreation’s request to apply to the MDE for grant funding to enable construction of a green (vegetated) roof for the Catoctin Creek Nature Center.  The 2010 Trust Fund makes monies available to projects that incorporate innovative water quality features delivering measurable reductions in nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment loads.

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Enjoy

  • Sanctuary Nature Walks Underway - Our friends and neighbors from the Audubon Society of Central Maryland launched their 2008-2009 Sanctuary Nature Walk series on September 20th with a Butterfly Walk!

  • Great Fall Fishing - Cunningham Falls Lake and Rainbow Lake will be stocked with adult rainbow trout during October as part of the fall trout-stocking program.  In addition to the trout fishing, Cunningham Falls Lake also offers great fishing for largemouth bass, sunfish, and channel catfish.  Although many anglers put away their tackle after Labor Day, the fall season offers some of the best fishing of the year and is particularly good for big fish.  Maryland Department of Natural Resources electro fishing surveys have captured bass over 6 pounds and sunfish to eleven inches at Cunningham Falls.  Anglers should concentrate their efforts on shorelines that drop quickly into deep water and contain cover such fallen trees and logs.

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Connect

  • Get Out and Get Nuts! - It's time to get outside and start collecting with Growing Native and Ford's "Get Out and Get Nuts" Challenge! From September through November, register online and tell us how many pounds of native hardwood seeds you've collected. For each pound collected, Ford will contribute one dollar to our tree restoration projects!  Learn more and register your seed collection at www.growingnative.org

  • Potomac Declared Endangered Fishery - The Mid-Atlantic Council of the Federation of Fly Fishers Conservation Group requested, and received approval by their national headquarters, that the Potomac River be designated as an Endangered Fishery.  Pollution from industry and agriculture, sewage from waste treatment, and introduction of non-native species have together created an unhealthy environment for the fisheries of the Potomac River.  Fish kills, sightings of fish with lesions and a condition called intersex have all increased in recent years. 

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Educate

  • News from the FCPS SYH Program - The Frederick County Public School's (FCPS) Schoolyard Habitat Program (SYH) is funded by a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) Bay Watershed Education Training (B-WET) Grant. The goal of the Program is to create meaningful Bay experiences in Frederick County through schoolyard habitat projects.

  • Potomac Conservancy Fall Internship - The Potomac Conservancy has an exciting internship available for the fall of 2008. Our internships offer real world experience in the field of environmental restoration and conservation outreach in a non-profit agency setting.

  • Deer Crossing Rain Garden Dedication - On September 17, 2008, students, parents and teachers celebrated the 10th anniversary of Deer Crossing Elementary School by dedicating a beautiful, native Rain Garden at the front of the school to filter out pollution flowing into Lake Linganore, to provide habitat for native plants, butterflies and birds, and to serve as an aesthetic feature and educational resource for the school.  Planted in spring, 2007 by parents, teachers and students, the garden has been stewarded with tender love and care so that native plants are beautifully established in this landscape and educational feature.

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Study

  • Sediment Study in Lake Linganore... - The Board of County Commissioners recently partnered with the U.S. Geological Survey to study Sediment, Phosphorus, Habitat, and Land Use in the Lake Linganore Watershed.

  • Managing Japanese Hops... - More than thirty people participated in the Public Meeting at Greenbrier State Park’s Visitor’s Center on September 17th to hear Phil Pannill and Aaron Cook present the results of their research on alternative strategies to manage Japanese Hops (Humulus japonicus), an invasive exotic vine that threatens survival of young trees on forest regeneration sites near streams in Maryland and nearby states.

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Summer 2008

Protect

  • Didymo found in Gunpowder - Didymo or Rock Snot has been discovered in the Gunpowder River. Didymo has also invaded streams in West Virginia, Virginia, numerous streams in the West and North East and even streams in Alaska. Didymo grows profusely and eventually smothers the small insects in the stream. As a result the fish starve. At this time there is know known way to stop the infestation in a stream. We can only hope to prevent the spread to other streams by becoming better stewards of our environment.
  • Gypsy Moth Update - Forecasts for 2008, based on fall 2007 egg mass counts, predicated a severe outbreak of gypsy moth in Frederick County affecting nearly 43,000 acres of forests.  This represents nearly 30% of our forest land base in the county!  With this in mind the Maryland Department of Agriculture ramped up its yearly suppression program spraying nearly 23,000 acres of forest in the county.  A private “supplemental” program was also launched where private landowners paid 60% of the cost of suppression and 40% was cost shared from funds earmarked by the Frederick County Commissioners.  This supplemental program resulted in the spraying of nearly 9,000 acres.  The supplemental program was developed and administered by a diverse group of partners known as the Frederick County Gypsy Moth Task Force.  In addition, the Federal Government sprayed much of their susceptible forest land in Catoctin National Park and along the C&O Canal and Monocacy National Battlefields.
  • Countywide Stream Protection Ordinance - On November 1, 2007, the Frederick County Board of Commissioners (BoCC), by unanimous consent, directed Planning Division Staff to proceed with a Countywide Stream Protection Ordinance, modeled after Ordinance #07-24-464, Waterbody Buffer Requirements in the Linganore Watershed Protection Area, adopted in July 2007. The BoCC held several worksessions to discuss and develop a draft Countywide Buffer Ordinance.

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Restore

  • Rain Gardens, Buffers, and Meadows - Partners have been “rocking and rolling” to install twenty-nine community restoration projects at 12 site locations in the Linganore watershed during 2006, 2007 and, 2008!  The completed projects are projected to reduce nutrients flowing into Linganore Creek headwater streams by estimated annual amounts of 615.9 lbs of total nitrogen, 43.9 lbs of total phosphorus, and 16,449.4 lbs of sediment.
  • Creating Forest Buffers on Bennett Creek - As a result of the Lower Monocacy Watershed Restoration Plan several key agricultural landowners were targeted for efforts to remove livestock from tributaries to Bennett Creek and Bennett Creek itself.  These landowners until now had not participated in Federal or State conservation cost-share programs in the past.  Initial efforts, which began in the fall of 2006, focused on meeting with these targeted landowners in an effort to encourage their enrollment in these existing programs, which some landowners did.  However several important landowners did not want enroll in the government programs because they did not want to deal with the “hassle” of the government program or felt the government is corrupt and didn’t want to get involved.

  • Toms Creek Stewardship Initiative - The Toms Creek watershed has a growing number of Watershed Stewards who are concerned about watershed health and are translating their concern into action.  They are planting native trees and shrubs along St. Mary’s Run and Willow Rill as the streams flow through Mt. Saint Mary’s University, Mother Seton and Emmitsburg Elementary schools and are establishing a rainwater harvesting and native plant demonstration at the Up County Center.  Cosponsors of the initiative, the Emmitsburg Business and Professional Association (EBPA), the New Forest Society, the Emmitsburg Council of Churches and the Monocacy & Catoctin Watershed Alliance (MCWA) supported the demonstration projects and have offered a series of seven Green Forums to help educate area citizens and businesses about citizen practices that can improve watershed health.

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Enjoy

  • Watershed Stewards: The Duncans - Earlene and Dan Duncan do not rest on their laurels.  They have new loves and it shows.  Although they take delight in their grandchildren, as do many retirees, they give enormously to the native ecology of their community and neighbors.
  • National Ash Tree Seed Collection Initiative - The Plant Materials Center (PMC) in Michigan has launched a campaign to collect ash tree seed for genetic preservation. This in response to the emerald ash borer which originated in Michigan and has destroyed countless trees, and is coming your way. The PMC has been collecting seed which is being stored at an Agricultural Resource Service (ARS) facility in Colorado. They'd like to collect seed from all over the country of native ash species especially from states that already have the borer or are located nearby. This is in case all of those trees are lost and their genetic diversity along with them.

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Connect

  • Frederick SCD Offers Conservation Tour - Join the Frederick Soil Conservation District for a Conservation Tour on August 7, 2008.  The tour will visit several outstanding Frederick County farms, including Paradise Stables, the Sugarloaf Alpaca Company and Hedgeapple farm. The farms that you will see have implemented a variety of conservation practices that complement their operations and protect the soil and water resources on the farm.

  • Liberty Elementary Thanks the Alliance - I want to start by thanking you and all of the individuals who have helped create a Rain Garden at Liberty Elementary.  It is a project that has been embraced by our students and our teachers. 

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Educate

  • Children Learn About Stream Ecology - “Well, we’ve got good news and bad news,” said the Professor to the 7th graders at Mother Seton School in Emmitsburg on May 27th.  The Professor, Dr. Jeffrey A. Simmons of Mount St. Mary’s University, was summarizing the results of the students’ water quality testing of Willow Rill, a small stream that runs through the school’s property. Students measured the pH and the dissolved oxygen concentration of water samples taken from the Rill as part of lesson on Stream Ecology put on by Dr. Simmons and three college students.
  • FWP Educates Parks' Visitors - Having planted numerous new trees, shrubs, and wildflowers during the spring in Rock Creek and Waterford Parks, the Friends of Waterford Park is now focusing on nurturing these new acquisitions, as well as maintaining those species planted since FWP’s inception in 2005.   An added focus this summer will be educating visitors about the numerous species found in the park.   While many of the visitors to the park enjoy the various species, particularly the wildflowers in bloom this past spring, few can identify what’s what.   FWP’s latest project hopes to improve visitors’ identification skills.
  • "Around the Paddock" Workshop - The Catoctin & Frederick Soil Conservation Districts expanded their outreach program by offering an evening conservation workshop for horse owners on June 5th from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. The workshop was one of a series of similar planned events, to be hosted by local horse farms that have worked with the District staff to install best management practices.

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Study

  • Tree Growth Field Trial - A seedling growth field trial was initiated at Monocacy NRMA in 2004 to monitor the development and survival of seedlings under four different growing conditions namely, growing without any type of protection, growing in tree shelters at a 10’ x 10’, growing in tree shelters at a 20’ x 20’ spacing, and growing inside deer fencing.  The purpose of this study is to examine and record such parameters as seedling growth and development, survival, cost of establishment and expenses associated with subsequent maintenance practices. This information is recorded; and, the final growth and survival measurements are collected each year in late October, at the end of the growing season. In October, 2007 we conducted the fourth and final measurements for this study.  The following article summarizes our observations.

  • Phosphorus in Toms Creek - Faculty and students at Mount St. Mary’s University (MSMU) are spending the summer looking for sources of phosphorus (P) in Tom’s Creek watershed. “Phosphorus is one of the leading causes of water pollution in Maryland and is one of the main causes of the decline in water quality in Chesapeake Bay,” according to Dr. Jeffrey Simmons, Associate Professor of Environmental Science at MSMU, who is leading the study.  The study began in December 2007 and will wrap-up at the end of this year.

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Spring 2008

Protect

  • Maryland Grazers Network - The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) is pleased to announce that they have received a grant to set up a Grazing Mentor program to help farmers who want to transition from conventional feeding (growing corn as feed) to grazing.  CBF has developed a "dream team" of farming “Mentors” and are looking for "Partner" farmers who would like to participate.  The program can handle approximately 15 farmers the first year but coordinators hope to double the number next year.  There are currently 10 Mentors throughout Maryland.
  • More Trees Needed in Frederick - Frederick, Maryland's urban tree canopy covers just 12 percent of the city, but an additional 72 percent could possibly be covered by trees in the future, according to a recent study by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the University of Vermont and the U.S. Forest Service.

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Restore

  • Fish Blockage Removal - The Potomac Conservancy and numerous partners including Maryland DNR-Fisheries Service, NRCS, Frederick County Department of Transportation, Frederick County Watershed Management Section, the Center for Dirt and Gravel Road Studies, and Trout Unlimited are inthe process of addressing two impediments to fish passage on Bear Branch, a critical tributary to Bennett Creek.  Bear Branch is the sole remaining stream in the Lower Monocacy watershed that contains the native eastern brook trout.   The eastern brook trout is the only trout native to Maryland, both brown and rainbow trout are introduced species for sport and recreational fishing.

  • 2008 Gypsy Moth Suppression - This year, gypsy moth infestations in many forested areas of Frederick County are severe enough to potentially defoliate thousands of acres of forest.  High tree mortality can result from gypsy moth defoliation two or more years in a row or when other stresses to the forests are present such as drought.  In 2008, thousands of acres of Frederick County Forest are expected to be defoliated, unless treated.

  • Spring Schoolyard Habitat Projects - Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) are currently in the 2nd year of a 3-year federally funded* grant to develop schoolyard habitat projects. The grant helps to fund a Schoolyard Habitat Teacher Specialist position within FCPS to assist schools participating in the grant program. Teams of teachers from the participating schools have attended training to learn about transforming their school campuses into outdoor learning environments. Training included information on analyzing soil, choosing appropriate native plants, writing grants, and incorporating activities that use the projects into the existing curriculum. Schools have developed long and short-term project plans.

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Enjoy

  • FWP's Spring Projects - Hoping to publicize the activities of Friends of Waterford Park through additional media this year, the Friends of Waterford Park look forward to their spring projects.   The park’s friends are pleased to be participating in Maryland Public Television’s Volunteerathon and will now be able to post news and information about Friends of Waterford Park on their new website - www.friendsofwaterfordpark.org.

  • Help Linganore Get Another Boost - Under its grant for reducing pollution in Lake Linganore, the Watershed Management staff of the County’s Division of Public Works is coordinating several volunteer planting projects this spring.  Beginning on March 29th more than 650 native trees and shrubs will be planted by volunteers on Holly Hills Homeowner association’s common property.  If you are able to help, please contact Meg Jedynak  at mrjedynak@comcast.net.

  • The Sounds of Spring - Spring is right around the corner and as air and water temperatures rise, many critters start to come out of their winter slumber to begin breeding. If you listen closely in the next couple of weeks, you might start to notice frogs beginning to call at dusk and during the early evening hours. Most people can identify the Spring Peeper but do you know how to identify the other frogs calling?

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Connect

  • Streamlink Project - The Francis Scott Key Center is partnering with John Smucker to grow native plants in the Scott Key Center greenhouse. The native plants will be used for a variety of restoration projects in Frederick County.

  • Backyard Buffer Program Available- Applications from landowners whose property adjoins a stream, swale, or wet area are encouraged to complete a brief application for the backyard buffer program.  The program provides 25 free native trees and shrubs for landowner planting and stewardship.  The five species of plants provided this year through the Backyard Buffer program are persimmon, pin oak, silky dogwood, winterberry holly and redbud.

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Educate

  • Imperviousness: What Is It? - It’s hard to talk about environmental restoration in an urban area without talking about impervious surface.  What is imperviousness?  Why is it a problem?  What are we doing about it?

  • Impacting Our Kid's Lives - “Dear Members of Potomac Valley Fly Fishers, We wish to thank you for helping us bring Trout in the Classroom to our classroom.  We worked hard to raise the money to implement TIC at Monocacy Middle School.  Without your help, it wouldn’t have happened this year.  We want you to know that the money you provided for our system was well spent.  We are excited to be learning about trout as we raise the eggs and are proud to be helping our environment.  Sincerely, Mrs. Maruskin’s 6th Grade Science Classes.”

  • POW! Workshop for Frederick Teachers - In January 2007, Frederick County Government’s Watershed Management Section (WMS) 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 (UWP) project. The goal of the project is to develop a comprehensive wetland strategy for a pilot watershed, Bennett Creek. The grant includes amphibian, vegetation, and bird assessments; restoration projects; computer mapping of wetland areas in the watershed; and education and outreach to Frederick County teachers and students. For more information on the results of the first year of the project, see the article posted under the Study section of the website.

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Study

  • MSM Searches for Nutrient Sources - Faculty and students at Mount St. Mary’s University (MSMU) are closely monitoring Tom’s Creek to try to identify sources of phosphorus pollution within the watershed. Phosphorus is one of the main pollutants of concern in streams throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed and a 2004 report by the MD Department of Natural Resources confirmed that phosphorus levels ranged from “baseline” to “excessive” when they sampled a few locations in Tom’s Creek watershed.

  • A Big, Bad Crawdad in the Monocacy - The Monocacy River has been invaded by an alien species, the rusty crayfish (Orconectes rusticus), that may harm native crayfishes, aquatic vegetation, fishes, and other stream species.  It was first discovered in Marsh Creek, a tributary to the Monocacy River, in June 2007 by biologists from the MDNR Maryland Biological Stream Survey.  This discovery was the first documented report of this non-native species in the state.

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