Past Educational and Other SRA Meetings
Severn River Cliffs – Eyesores Or Treasures? 7 pm Tuesday Jan. 17 at Union Jack's Pub, 2072 Somerville Rd, Annapolis, Maryland 21401.
The gorgeous sandy-brown cliffs that grace the shores of the Severn River are truly one of Maryland's natural wonders. These treasurers not only shine crimson in the rising and setting suns, but they also provide a glimpse into the natural history of our watershed. But, how do we protect our cliffs from the pernicious threats of caused by development and power boat wakes?
For example, last summer, an ancient cliff at the entrance to Brewer Creek was cleared of vegetation and severely sculpted and molded to allow a for construction of a new home. Although many complained about this, the sculpting was approved by Anne Arundel County. Why?
Join the discussion on the natural history of the Severn River cliffs and why the county permits the alterations. We've invited a panel of experts to help answer the question: “Are The Severn River Cliffs Eyesores Or Treasures To Behold?” Our panel will include:
Coal-Fired Power Plants: Dirty Air, Tough Solutions
7 pm Thursday November 17 from 7 to 9 pm
What can be done to fix the dirty air problem caused by coal-fired power plants in Northern Anne Arundel County? The air's so bad that EPA has declared a huge area, from Severn River to north of Baltimore a “nonattainment area” for sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions. The public's invited to review tough options, at a special forum on coal-fired power plants. The event is co-sponsored by the Maryland Climate Coalition, The Climate Stewards of Greater Annapolis and the Severn River Association (SRA).
What do we do? Live with the health consequences? Or is the solution to do as EPA wants – force the facilities to install SO2 emission control equipment – as most other power plants have done to comply with the Clean Air Act? The owner says that's too expensive. EPA says breathing the excessive the SO2 emissions cause respiratory problems like asthma and can cause cancer.
Speakers at the Air Quality Forum will include University of Maryland Professor Sara Via and a member of the community that lives next to the power plants.
SRA Treasurer Lee Meadows will present an overview of the emission situation and the legal challenges surrounding the two coal-fired power plants – the Herbert A. Wagner Generating Station and its neighbor, the Brandon Shores Generating Station. Both are owned by Talen Energy Corporation.
Annapolis Loves Boats, But What About Poop? Oct. 18, 2016
Is it time for Annapolis to get better control over human waste discharged from boats? Facts and analysis by our guest speaker Dr. Kurt Riegel, SRA past president and current board member. Kurt has served as a senior executive at the Department of the Navy, National Science Foundation and the Environmental Protection Agency. He currently teaches Environmental Compliance Management at Johns Hopkins University, and has served on the Severn River Commission and on the Annapolis Environmental Commission.
Most boats have marine toilets on board and most have holding tanks that can be properly pumped out. A few boats have on-board treatment systems but they discharge virtually all of the nutrients in untreated waste. While many large sources of marine water pollution have been attacked successfully, a multitude of small sources like those from boats still leave our creeks unsafe. Most boaters want to be good citizens and help to keep our waters clean, but substantial difficulties stand in the way of their best intentions.
Kurt described the boat waste problem, its magnitude, and how it is presently addressed. He also described ways to improve the city’s boat waste pump-out operation, and review how peer recreational boating communities have achieved improvements by various means, for example by implementing successful EPA-designated no discharge zones.
Oysters - What We're Doing to Restore Them. Tuesday, September 20 at 7 PM - 9 PM
Our guest speaker was Stephanie Westby, Oyster Coordinator with NOAA's Choptank River Complex. Stephanie will update us on NOAA's oyster restoration efforts and give us a preview of what it will take to create a resiliant oyster population that can once again filter the Chesapeake Bay.
The SRA Annual Meeting, Tuesday, June 14, 2016, Woods Memorial Presbyterian Church, 611 Baltimore Annapolis Blvd, Severna Park, MD 21146 featured snacks, voting in 4 board members, and State of the Severn talk by Andrew Muller.
Where's That Rain Tax Getting Spent in 2016? 7 pm Tuesday May 17. Anne Arundel County's grand push to clamp down on stormwater pollution in the our streams is well underway. Money raised by the county’s watershed protection fee is being spent on a variety of infrastructure repair projects throughout the county. Where are these projects located? When will they have a measurable impact on water quality in the Severn River and other waterways?
Erik Michelsen is the administrator for AACounty’s Watershed Protection & Restoration Program which decides how, when and where to invest in infrastructure projects. These projects improve the health of our rivers and also create green jobs for planners, designers and construction concerns.
Mr. Michelsen reviewed county history, its stormwater control program, explaining how:
Phragmites – Coming to your backyard. Can anything be done about it? 7 PM Tuesday April 19, 2016. Development presents a man-made threat to water quality in the Chesapeake Bay watershed but another threat, created by Mother Nature, methodically chokes and kills our precious wetland areas. Phragmites, a reedy wetland grass, looks bucolic until you realize what it's doing. What can we do about it? How do we identify it? How does it spread? Can it be controlled, stopped or eradicated? Our speaker was Dennis Whigham, PhD, Senior Botanist with the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. Dennis is also the Founding Director, North American Orchid Conservation Center.
Project Clean Stream, was conducted Saturday April 2. Volunteers lent a hand with other lovers of the Severn River for the annual Project Clean Stream event,sponsored throughout the state by the Alliance For The Chesapeake Bay. Last year, SRA volunteers planted 103 trees.
This year, SRA's Maureen Burt firstname.lastname@example.org or (410) 757-5961 organized cleanups at three sites in the Severn River watershed. Two are in the Severn Run Natural Environmental Area near where Veterans Highway meets I-97. The third is in Crownsville just off General's Highway.
The Secret Joys Of Severn Run Headwaters. ,March 15, 2016. It's been shown time and again that walking and hiking in nature is good for your health and well-being. We have just the spot and it's right nearby, so come and learn about this treasured area. Maryland Park Service Ranger Steve McCoy will tell us about the wonderful ways to enjoy the outdoors at the Severn Run Natural Environmental Area, 1,760 acres of trails and woodlands, bogs, trout streams and natural areas managed by Maryland's Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
February 16, 2016, Are We On Track to Meet EPA's Water Quality Standards? Maryland and Anne Arundel County are both facing tough timetables to improve water quality in the rivers and creeks that feed the Chesapeake Bay. Will we ever be able to meet federal water quality standards? If so, when are we going to get there? Our special guest was Lynn Y. Buhl with the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE). Lynne is MDE's Director of MDE's, Water Management Administration. She covered:
January 19, 2016, How To Pay For Environmental Projects
SRA meets to learn how to pay for fixing the wrongs we have done over the years to our environment. Whether it's a state-wide pollution problem, a county-by-county issue, or stormwater runoff from our own neighborhoods, we all need to know what financial resources are available to fund repair projects.
Do we need more Flush or Rain Taxes? Or are there alternative ways to finance these projects?
Dan Nees, Director of the Environmental Finance Center at the University of Maryland, will help explain this critical process during SRA's next Educational Series meeting on January 19 in the DNR ground-floor conference room on Taylor Ave. Dan will also explain how to secure environmental funding for Home Owners Association projects and how to leverage technical expertise from watershed stewards to design and organize environmental projects. Prior to directing the Environmental Finance Center, Dan led environmental market and water quality programs at Forest Trends, a global NGO that seeks to develop market and economic solutions to global environmental problems. He also led water quality programs at the World Resources Institute, an environmental think-tank located in Washington, DC. Dan was also the lead author of a study on the economic impact of stormwater restoration on Anne Arundel County in 2013 financed by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. Dan holds a B.A. in Economics, a Master of Environmental Policy, and a Master of Business Administration, all from the University of Maryland, College Park.
Tuesday Nov. 10 . Educational Meeting, Our Critical Area Rules: What's Legal, What's Not
Join us to learn how Anne Arundel County enforces our critical area and other environmental regulations. Our guest speaker will be John Peacock, head of Anne Arundel County enforcement at the Department of Inspections and Permits (I&P). The meeting will be in the ground-floor conference room at the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in Annapolis. John's talk, "A Primer on Anne Arundel Environmental Code 101," will explain the county's basic building, zoning and environmental regulations, I&P's enforcement program, and reveal what citizens can do to help report suspected activities in their communities. For example, John will explain:
Tuesday October 20, Can You Have The Greatest of Lawns – And, Be River-Friendly?
Yes, you can have it both ways– by adopting bay-friendly lawn care techniques. They're not hard. It's easy stuff, you just have to be aware. To learn how, come out and meet lawn care expert Geoff Rinehart.
Geoff will explain how it's best to start in the fall to develop a beautiful yard next spring. And by using clean lawn techniques, you'll help protect the Chesapeake Bay watershed. To achieve a healthy lawn and a healthy watershed, Geoff will teach the best management practices (BMPs) for mowing, fertilizing, watering, aerating and over seeding to reduce pests and weeds – so you can enjoy your lawn more.
As the turf specialist at The National Arboretum, Geoff built and manages the Grass Roots exhibition. He also coordinates workshops on clean lawn practices with turf managers at Arlington National Cemetery and the National Mall.
Geoff earned Bachelor’s degrees in Turfgrass Management and Landscape Contracting from Virginia Tech and a Master’s in Turfgrass Science at Michigan State University. His experience has included working on golf courses in Maryland, Colorado and Washington State.
In addition to landscape maintenance, installation and irrigation work in Washington State and Hawaii, Geoff spent 5 ½ years as a research technician conducting turfgrass science research at Washington State University and has 4 years experience conducting outreach and education to promote landscaping BMPs for homeowners and professionals in Tacoma, WA.
SRA Educational Meeting was held 7pm Tuesday, September 15, 2015. Maryland's Department of Natural Resources. Power Boat Wakes – How Best To Deal With 'Em? presented by Mike McCormick, Professor Emeritus of Engineering at the US Naval Academy. His background includes hydromechanics, ocean wave mechanics, coastal engineering and computational fluid mechanics. Power boat wakes are fun for kids swimming along the banks of the Severn Rive, and for jet ski guys and gals pretending they're James Bond. But they cause major shoreline erosion problems, destroying underwater grasses known as submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) aka seaweed. What are the most effective ways of dealing with powerboat wakes? Are there ways to contain and tame wakes so we can protect that SAV and the habitat they provide for aquatic life? What are the best ways to preserve and protect the banks of the Severn River from erosion? Mike's talk will address “hard” and “soft” techniques to tame the energy in power boat wakes. He'll explain the mechanics of sediment transport and whether living shorelines or armored walls of rip rap are the answer.
Oysters In The Severn: Are They Thriving, Surviving or Dying? Educational meeting was held 7 pm Tues July 21, Union Jack's restaurant, 2072 Somerville Rd, Annapolis. Are we on track to rebuild a healthy population of oysters in the Severn? Each year, volunteers from SRA plant thousands of young oysters on a sanctuary reef in the Severn River. The goal is to rebuild oyster habitat that clean our treasured river. How are the oysters doing? Are they healthy? Are they growing? Are they having an impact on filtering the Severn River? Speaking is Kennedy Paynter, PhD, Associate Professor at the University of Maryland's Center for Environmental Sciences, at oyster.umd.edu (more in our press release)
Rusty Gowland's wonderful effort to chart a communications strategy for SRA is presented in this power point presentation. It will be discussed among officers and board of SRA.
SRA Annual Meeting was held 7 PM Tuesday June 16, 2015, our104th annual meeting for members and the public at Union Jack's restaurant.
Great Estates on the Severn was held on Saturday June 20, 2015 and was a resounding success. This was
SRA's Tour/Fund-raiser at historic Belvoir Farms, lots of info by clicking on the link above.
Annapolis Forest Conservation Act: Who Will Stand Up To Protect Our Forests? was held June 25, 2015, at the Moyer Recreational Center in Annapolis. SRA and the Annapolis Neck Peninsula Federation joined to host a public discussion of proposals that would protect our environment and forested areas. The Annapolis City Council is working on epic new
legislation, a local implementation of the state Forest Conservation Act, to protect the environment during the development of residential and commercial properties. Alderman Jared Littmann and others
explained the proposals and to responded to questions.
West Annapolis/Wardour celebration of Maryland Day, Saturday March 21, co-sponsored by SRA, celebrated native trees. An arborist discussed “Trees When to Remove Dying TREES and what TREES to plant in their place in Severn River Communities”. We also offered free seedlings, and $25 coupons for tree purchase at participating area nurseries, and displayed a working stormwater model to show how stormwater pollutes our watershed for students and their parents to actuate. Many other exhibits and events also occurred on Annapolis Street as part of the celebration.
SRA Educational Series, 7 PM Tuesday April 14, 2015, at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation Philip Merrill Environmental Center, "Conowingo - What are the Options?" by guest speaker John Seebach, Vice President, Federal River Management, American Rivers. Just what can be done to contain a mountain of pollution in storage behind the Conowingo Dam? In its prime, the dam captured two-thirds of the pollution coming down the river and kept it out of the Chesapeake Bay, but it's now at full capacity. Exelon, wants to renew the license from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to operate the power-generating station. Various remediation options will be discussed, together with the political winds that will influence the future.
SRA Educational Series, 7 PM Wednesday March 18, 2015, at Union Jacks Restaurant, 2072 Somerville Road Annapolis, "Home Septic Systems – Are They the Severn’s Biggest Polluter?" by guest speaker Richard Piluk, Senior Health Engineer from the Anne Arundel Health Department.
SRA Educational Series, was held 7 PM Tuesday, January 20, 2015, "Rising Tides Threaten Annapolis Area" at the Quaker Meeting House, 351 Dubois Rd., Annapolis, MD 21401. Annapolis is flooding more than it has in the past 300 years because of rising sea level caused by climate change. Scientific results detailed in a new report "Encroaching Tides" was discussed by Dr. Melanie Fitzpatrick, Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS lead scientist for the report.
SRA Educational Series, October, “Meet The Candidates Night”, was held on Friday October 17 at 7:00PM
Environment Night, A River Watch Forum. Should Anne Arundel County tackle stormwater pollution? Enforce Critical Areas rules? Repeal the rain tax? How will your money be spent on environmental issues? George Johnson (D) and Steve Schuh (R) debated how to address pollution threats to our rivers and creeks.
SRA Educational Series, September, "Restoring water quality in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, what is working and what still needs to be done" was held September 16, 2014. Click for presentation: (Power Point or PDF)
Is Your Favorite Tree a Savior or a Destroyer? On July 15, 2014 Master Arborist Tyler Balderson explained how to care for trees, where to plant them, and how to spot trouble when a good tree goes bad. Here's his Power Point slide presentation.
Power Point Slideshow, Dr. Donald Boesch Presentation on February 18, 2014
Rising Sea Levels – An Immediate Challenge To Annapolis
Jabez 3 Blowout Update. The headwaters of the Severn River are at the very top of the watershed. This region of the river is environmentally important because it is the place where our river starts, contains some of its most ecologically critical and biologically productive areas, and is also afflicted by large impervious areas of development: highways, roads, large commercial and industrial areas, and housing. Among the critical features of the headwaters region is Jabez Branch, Severn Run's largest tributary and unique as the only coastal plain stream in Maryland with a naturally reproducing population of brook trout.
SRA's board has made the improvement of Jabez Branch 3 its number one priority. Stormwater from I-97 and Route 32’s interchange’s floods the local watershed in rain, and we believe it is the largest source of sediment polluting the Severn River. (click for more info)
We had a great Annual Dinner & Oyster Celebration, June 18, 2014, Annapolis Maritime Museum, with a focus on the marvelous oyster and its active work to save the Severn River.
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Severn River Association, PO Box 146, Annapolis, MD 21404
Telephone: 443.569.3556 (voicemail)