SRA Board Meeting Minutes

SRA November 17, 2008


Bob introduced our speaker, Zora Lathan, by saying that we need to learn everything we can to prevent water from leaving our yards. Bob has handouts from CBF and MD Dept of Agriculture on native gardening.  Zora will discuss a tool on how to spread this word to others and share this info.  A brochure was available that has $25 coupon to plant a tree.  SRA Log for those who are not on mailing list

  • Rainscaping -- Beautiful solutions to water Pollution, Zora Lathan , Rainscaping Campaign coordinator

Zora gave a presentation about, a Website that provides tools for homeowners, businesses and watershed organizations to reduce runoff from rain events by

  • Slowing it Down
  • Spreading it out
  • Soaking it in

The presentation was a combination of overview of the website and Power Point Presentation.  If you already have a rain garden, rain barrel or have reduced impervious surface on your property – you are part of the solution. 38 organizations – working on a coordinated strategy.
Rainscaping is a social marketing national campaign.  Its goal is to influence behavior change in how we view our yard/lawn.  We need a new paradigm on what is fashion for our yard.
We all need to work to reduce our footprint.  We have changed our landscape with roads, roofs, and driveways.  Increasing impervious surface by 40%.
65-70% of land is privately owned.  There is only so much government can do.  We need to take more personal responsibility.  Our current system is to channel stormwater to stormdrains, which allow it to go unfiltered into the watershed.  Having yards of turf grass, over heavily compacted surfaces, is not sustainable.  This only causes runoff.  Fashion – our yards – needs a new cultural norm.  Our fashion needs to include redirecting the downspout to a native bed that serves as a raingarden.
Browsing the

  • An example is Back Creek’s pervious pavements.  Birds, butterflies, native plants thrive on their own.  Raingardens with native plants do not like supper rich soil with application of fertilizer.  Leaving and creating depression in the landscape will

Infiltrate, infiltrate, infiltrate    Slow it down

  • Xeroscape -- mound up with dirt removed for rain garden.  Yin Yang – don’t hall it all away. 
  • Raingarden calculator list of native plant list and able to search. 
  • Links: County rain garden page has a wealth of resources.  Lots of links
  • Rain barrel page -- Arlington echo

Tax rebates for improvements
Barriers to Rain garden – misconception of what it is.  Bio retention installation is an engineer term.  Although it is that – BRI has layers of gravel etc. that are not necessary for a rain garden.
A raingarden is just a depression to allow water to soak.  Do not amend soil –depending on perk test.  Will not breed mosquitoes if it soaks within 2-3 days.  Standing for a week or more is not a rain garden.  They are very attractive – can be moist meadows, informal or formal. 
How do you deal with slope runoff from upstream sediment?   Biologs can create an instant berm.  Earthen berms work, but can get washed out.  Question on Biologs – made from coconut husks can be purchased from IKEX in NJ.  Don’t buy lower price – premium last longer.  20 ft x 16” can be $100.  It takes many years to biodegrade.  Plant grasses into them to stabilize.
Zora discussed her community -- Highland Beach since 1893, has had its own municipality.  Also mentioned that Chicago even taking off with green roofs.  Highland Beach Town Hall – colleting rainwater is an old ancient practice.  The Town hall is the second building in MD to achieve Platinum LEED building.  CBF is first.  Very low energy cost.  Sustainable harvested wood. 2/3 roof is green.  Some neighbors were not too keen on the idea – afraid it would not be attractive.  Once it was completed all enjoy, healthy building, air quality.
There is only so much you can do if your neighbors uphill do not control their rain.  We should all contain the rain water that falls on that site.
Chesapeake Ecology Center -- CEC – has 28 gardens. Recently added a large shade garden.  Rain gardens are both an art and science.  May not work right away, may need adjustments.  Even engineer do not have success.  Have limited plants for shade, less evaporation -- CEC installed to demonstrate what plants can be used -- listed plants.  Sometimes rain gardens are too deep and retain water too long. 
Tours can be arranged – CEC is open to public when school is not in session during week (after 4), week-end and summer.  They have had 3 international tours.
Native plants are adapted to local conditions -- no pampering, watering, fertilizer.  Swamp sunflower in rock and rain garden.  Rainscaping will be starting it’ campaign by creating TV adds, (Bravo).  This is where most of budget will be spent.

  • Bay-Wise Landscape Management Program, Patti Muir, Maryland Master Gardener

Maryland master gardeners are a lot more than consultants.  They encourage property owners to implement bay wide practices.  All plants are identified with signage at CEC.  Patti encouraged us to volunteer at CEC. 
Vision is to support a healthy world environmental with strong stewardship.  County has program and there is a state program.  AACo is enthusiastic to help homeowners with questions.  They receive training, and have to pass exam.  The Master Gardeners have a booth at the Riva Road Farmers Market to answer questions on any garden issue -- identification, pest management, working group committees.  They have plant clinic, Baywise youth gardening, volunteer at CEC, have info booth at fairs and festivals.  Advance training and education.  Certify yards as Baywise.   Patti then presented Bob Whitcomb with his Baywise Certificate and yard signage that can be posted in your yard for neighbors to see.  Share this with all your neighbors.  What falls on site stays on site. 

Reports of Officers.

  • Land Use Committee – Don Morris Jones, Pat Lynch and Richard Falk have volunteered to be land use committee.  They will address issues on land use planning.  Sometimes developers will approach to see what they think about the project.  The Land Use Committee will do analysis and will be able to address the SRA with the facts on each issue.  How many come to SRA for endorsement?  Most come from County Council. Anticipate many issues with the Odenton project, that arrived to Bob by fax this afternoon.  Starting in December – GDP will have comprehensive rezoning.  80 some odd projects being planned.  Need to evaluate what affects our area.  

  • 2010 budget.  Need one in the next few weeks.  Bob von Saal is working on it.  Continuing resolution!!!!
  • Oyster program.  The Governor started MD grows Oysters.  State provided spat ­– residents grow.  Severn was one of 11 rivers chosen for program where 1100 of the 5000 oyster cages were distributed throughout the heart of the river.  Over 250 volunteers have oysters on their piers.  Only ½ story.  Challenge was distributing, Smith marina was one of 4 locations.  Build database with address of all the spat.  Need mailing address – save postage.  200 plus new participate in SR program.  Oyster grower.  Things to learn and share.  Unknown where the oysters will be planted permanently.  Chris Judy will figure out with oyster committee to where and how over winter.  ORP – arm and leg in restoration.

    The Army Corp of Engineer is investing in oyster restoration in our river.  7 sites, 13 acres total for construction of future oyster reefs – between bridges.  Surveys were used to identify harder bottom to construct substrate.  Federal government to build reefs on river -- 2-3 times larger than built so far.  Oysters grown by Horn Point will seed the reef next spring.  John Kesler is planning to see how extensively the CBF Asquith Creek oyster bed is.  This bed is a 3 acre site off round bay.  Coastal Geodetic survey -- has side scan radar up and down to identify historic oyster bars, ground hard and substrate.  Point is that the Severn is the pilot river for these manmade oyster reefs.  Program is growing aggressively.
  • Report on County proposed Restoration Projects. 
    Bob, Don, Stevie met with Ron Bowen and Ginger Ellis about stormwater mitigation restoration projects in county planning process.  There is a backlog of projects county wide.  The whole program on back burner due to budget constraints.  The meeting went over design stage, permit work, or projects being planned into the budget.  Push on these projects that have gone fallow due to lack of interest.  One example was Cypress Branch restoration project in Arden.  SRA applied had grant to plant Atlantic White Cedar – Several designs in works.  Time to take the initiative.  Good news is that some projects we do not start from scratch -- need citizen part to activate. 
  • Betsy Love – Attended a workgroup on monitoring global climate change.   The meeting was held at Arlington Echo.  DNR was lead for establishing how to monitor effects of global change.  Need to look at non-tidal creeks because they need as pristine an environment as possible.  Trying to establish both physical and biological measurements.  EPA, Dept of interior, Un of MD participated in the study group to measure climate change.  Study group to work on launching this.  With President Obama -- may help MD launch this initiative.
  • Pat Lynch – delegate Ron George to launch wind turbines in Green point.  Working with Navy because it will be on Government property.
  •  A smart buoy has been installed on the river -- not on line yet.  This continuous monitoring device will provide real time data and trends for our River.  This is part of national trail to advance science at the mouth of selected rivers.  
  • Chuck Fox has accepted to be speaker at the annual meeting.  June 15 in St Margaret’s

  • Josh Cohen has put together a bi-partisan transition team.  Kurt Riegelis is on the team and invited input to the City. 

(Revised Feb 2010)