SRA Board Meeting Minutes

SRA Board of Directors Meeting, February 16, 2010

“Churches Reducing Stormwater Impacts from Large Parking Areas”


Blessings were given to a window of good weather to allow us to come in tonight.  We have a very busy meeting with 3 speakers.  This meeting is a Continuation of what we learned last month with Mel Wilkens and Anne Guillett.  Lessen the SW impact on the Severn.  Broaden to congregation.

Bob Whitcomb introduced himself.  Review of projects of each board member

Leading the way to Reduce Pollution from Church Property

St. Phillips Episcopal’s Raingarden, Minister Angela Shepherd

Environmental ministry outreach was started in 2006 – with Anne Pearson.  She approached St Phillips Episcopal during Holy week – do not have time.  She called back and met.  She evaluated the 4 acres of land and looked at the possibilities.  Parking lot – first location was not appropriate.  Best to observe during a rain – to observe where it falls.

God created the earth and we are responsible for taking care of it.  This is a good tool to lift the consciousness of members and congregation.  They dug a bowl in earth where the rain water falls.  Created a place where others can come and sit, meditate, and where worship services is held.  This garden is where bees and butterflies enjoy the beautiful blooms.  Minister Shepherd shared photographs of spring pictures and winter pictures of the completed raingarden.

Every part of the earth is sacred, plague is the signage used and it was read out loud.

The first year was dry and they actually had to water – but now it takes care of itself.  We were encouraged to carve out a place that is beautiful and preserves the earth.  The Children painted clay tiles that a potter fired and placed tiles around the garden. 

Blessing and dedication was in 2007. 

St. Mary’s Catholic Church/School Stormwater Infiltration Projects, Environmental Chair, Professor Gerald Winegrad

St Mary’s created an Environmental Stewardship committee (SMESC).  Saint Mary’s Catholic Church and school in downtown Annapolis, on Spa Creek is mostly of impervious surface.  The Pulpit has preached creation care.  The Vatican declared pollution a sin -- like other sins -- that Catholics must confront and avoid.  The bay is in abysmal shape on our watch, we have failed to address the problem and increase awareness.  Catfish in South river have cancer.   SMESC with broad base support was formed within months in 2007.  Committee includes Billy Moulden.

Top priorities were to retrofit the parking lot and green the roof.  All there permits had historical district constraints in digging due to archeological importance.  The parking lot drains 7 acres – stormdrain was never cleaned out – piped right into Spa Creek.  Parking islands are useless due to curbs and compact soil but had the potential as bioretention facilities.  The pastor and facility manager were in favor and were essential for the success of project.  Lots of restrictions – no parking places can be lost, no work until school was out and no cost to the parish.  Spa is an impaired waterway.  Need to retrofit urban areas.

Was awarded a 30K grant from NFWF.  St Mary’s highest points for the amount of pollution it contributed. Nitrogen -- 39% in Severn comes from developed land.  The involvement of the Spa Creek Conservancy – Mel and Anne – bull dog he was the person who succeeds.  The parking islands were designed into bioretention areas by curb cutting and filling them with a medium.  The soil was so compact in the parking islands that a jack hammer had to be used to remove the dirt.  Now the areas use plants that absorb lots of water.

This beautification project controls pollution.  These holes catch 80% of Rainwater and treat 74% nitrogen.  Give an echo star award for restoring water quality.  MEL is the person who made this a success.  Need more curb cuts.  Retrofit the rain garden with more curb cuts. 

Next goal is to create green roofs.  This has tremendous potential.

Energy conservation – churches BG&E is tasked by state law – call contractor will revamp all lights and BG%E pays 80% of cost.  Will Dixon, Smart Energy Savers Program. 

Heritage Baptist Church’s Projects to Protect Spa Creek, Pastor Henry Green 

Spa Creek conservancy approached the church about stormwater management and required just sweat equity from the church.  Trustee – sat with them and they approved and adopted the project.

Project included 7 rain gardens that diverted stormwater flows into Spa Creek.  The church is located on 10 acres off of Forest Drive on head of Spa Creek.  A lot of property is covered with asphalt. Churches have a theologically responsibility to be environmental stewards and do the right thing – so they did.

On garden handles the water off the front entrance to the building where downspouts go into two planters.  The projects involved everyone in the congregation -- children and adults.  It was a marvelous experience and encourages others to do this – engage the congregation.  Many have come to see the beauty. 

Paid for using a CBT grant.  The project has reduced runoff by 90%.  Mel is his hero and applauds him for his visions and his tenacity.  Heritage Baptist is proud to be part of process to protect our bay and waterways. 

The church had re-evaluated the possibly building more.  Have taken this off the table – because building more is not the best thing – we build too much.  Instead need to use the space that is available to us and to save the property that is not covered with asphalt. Development has done too much damage to the environment.

Pastor Green advocates for wind power for our state.  How we obtain energy is directly related to all our environmental concerns.  All the pieces of puzzle need to work together to protect the environment.  Work together on all the projects because is all interconnected and linked together.  Think environmentally stewardship.


Questions and Answers and Comments

  • Maintenance a problem – no, Heritage has a facilities’ manager who does weeding and trash removal.  Other
  • St Phillips has very low maintenance – weeding.
  • Mel – maintenance plan is required on what to do and how often.
  • Wayne – eventually need to address weeding.  Drought could be a problem.  Summer months need to pick up. 
  • Need to use the pulpit for stewardship responsibilities.  Greater Annapolis Interdenominational organizations
  • Jake – solar panels on the churches.  Very appropriate.
  • Food/ water focus on earthday. 
  • St Mary’s on holistic use of energy – energy audit was done.  Audit provided cost effective recommendations.  They have installed a new geothermal heat pump.  Looking at the bottom line to make sure it is cost effective.  BG&E – let the person come in and audit you. 
  • Relamping – What is it?  Choose energy efficient light bulb.    

Old Business

  • Stormwater Action Fund – Criteria for Awards:  The committee will meet with executive committee to flush out the specific criteria.
  • Slag Impact at Future Oyster Reefs: last Thursday was suppose to have a meeting with Corp to discuss the use of slag.  This was cancelled due to snow.  Need to reschedule.
  • Letter sent to Macintosh – Senator Conway about our environmental concern.  Wrote letter approved by the executive committee.  SRA has huge investment in oyster growers.   Unique position for DNR to do their job for oysters to survive in the Bay.  Letter was sent to growers of oysters to encourage them to send.  Defend the program started by DNR.  Will help if others also send in letters. 
  • DNR is trying to introduce public education program.  How DNR wants to manage the oysters on the bay is a new paradigm for watermen or shucking houses.  DNR wants to limit the amount of oysters harvested, to have sanctuaries, and create leasing grounds.   Let fisheries management and do their job. 
  • Sent another letter to support Winchester on Severn study of watershed. 
  • Similar request came from Keith Underwood to support a project at the headwaters of Jabez Branch.  Highway administration wants to spend money for environmental stormwater management.  Jabez forks near Gambrills and Rt 175.  Project is 1500 linear feet.  Motion to send a letter in support, motion carries.
  • Severn River Commission supports the efforts in the MGO program.  Clean water groups.  Got positive replies from delegates.  Merrill foundation letter award   Gave $250 for us to engage in finding solution to keep the Severn Clean. 

New Business

  • 100th Anniversary Project:  Not discussed
  • Comprehensive rezoning process planning -- reviewed by advisory board and submitted in a cluster as a bill.  Amendment to bill can be made.  Take it upon them to accept last minute rezoning amendments.
  • Legal situation is worse.  When planning submits to council, they are not required to show the old planning map.  Can move lines without having to show you the original lines.  Automatically gave right to grandfather when changing rezoning from openspace to R1. Changing in zoning is exempted from environmental regulations.  There is public discussion, but map needs to show the spot that the planning office moved and changed.  Need to ask them to stick to the Comprehensive zoning process. 
  • Betsy attended the Clean Water training.  It was provided to better understand the legal avenues to address Water pollution problems. This included agriculture regulated car emissions, stormwater, and septics.  Keep on the track to manage the issues that plague the Severn and bay.
  • Meeting on February 25 to discuss logistical challenges to get Oysters planted.  Don and Ray to attend.
  • Executive committee meeting on March 9.
  • March 16 theme will be project clean stream.  Matt McGehrin is taking the lead.  Target date is set for April 10.  Alliance with the Chesapeake Bay – all the snow will not melt and be gone in by then.  Will be cleaning up trash in Maynader Creek and Clements Creek.
  • Mel – need to give input to CBP on the Next RFP process for 20 million.  Write a letter to about CB funding.  Trust fund – all money was given to DNR – how to deal with non-profits.  Do the work first and then get reimbursed.  Grant world is different than contracting world.  CBT and NFWF know how to deal with NGOs.  Unfortunately those often in control are the bean counters.


Pat Lynch informed us that there is a meet and greet with county executive.  Constituent open house on March 8, Old Mill High School from 6-8:30; 410-222-2222


(Revised June 2010)