SRA Board Meeting Minutes

SRA Board of Directors Meeting, March 16 2010

Submitted by Thistle A. Cone, Communications Secretary, substituting for Secretary Meeting called to order about 7:05 PM

Old Business

1. Project CleanStream plans for April 10 include volunteer cleanups on Clements Creek and Maynadier Creek. Meet at St. Paul’s Chapel in Crownsville. Fliers are available to spread the word. In addition, there are teams to revisit sites from past years: Jabez Branch and Saltworks Creek near Bestgate Road and General’s Highway, meeting at Bank Annapolis.  There will be doughnuts and bottles of water.

Mike Robinson will lead a team into the Jabez Branch area. Meet him at Strayer University at 9 AM. They’ll spread out and clean that area as well. 

Matt McGehrin described the site on Maynadier Creek, where he will be the site captain, which includes a car with a tree growing through it.  Volunteers will probably park at the nearby school. The cleanup site will be right behind the Canine Center.

Question from audience: Are the places you’ve cleaned filling up again? Bob related that many of the places are still clean, and some local residents were inspired to do some cleaning on their own.

We will serve lunch for volunteers again this year (grilled burgers and hot dogs etc.), and the man who  served lunch in the past when we cleaned in his neighborhood has offered to do the cooking again this year with his lunch wagon. Still looking for a donor for the drinks. (We need to pay for the food.) Betsy Love suggested a possible donor.

Special thank you to Matt McGehrin for his help with the cleanup. The county Web site shows the location of priority dump sites. Not sure if the County is keeping track of sites where we’ve had an impact. Many of the sites have sleep slopes. Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay is the overall sponsor, and they provide trash bags and gloves, but please bring heavy gloves, sturdy boots and work clothes.

We plan to go rain or shine. If there’s a question, there will be a contact sheet for whom to check with. Bob’s cell is the main contact: 443-250-0425.

There was a question of whether the trash removal is actually a water quality issue. Bob Whitcomb noted that there are health issues like mosquito breeding in old tires. There are also the water quality issues of degrading materials like rubber, plastic and metals and any hazardous materials in batteries and tanks, etc. Then there is the esthetics: which we hope to immediately improve.

Mike Robinson said in the Jabez area last year they saw a deer and some wildflowers and hope to clean all the way up the Creek this year.

2. Stormwater Action Fund: Betsy Love: Described the fund and noted it would encourage communities to correct stormwater problems in the Severn watershed.  The SAF Committee defined the process. The Executive Committee helped refine the criteria and selection process.  Howard Ernst asked how much engineering/landscape architect plans usually cost, compared to our planned max of $1,000 matching grant assistance.  Betsy and Sally said they estimated the cost to usually be $1,500 to $3,000. And the criteria are  designed to help the community towards a grant to complete the project – funded by another entity. Bob vom Saal pointed out that often these grantors don’t pay for the design of projects, but will pay for installation. So our fund helps get projects designed and off to a good start. Gene Milgram pointed out that another process we did for providing funds was too paperwork-heavy.  Someone asked if there were a list of contractors. Betsy Love replied that we decided not to include a list, to avoid the appearance of favoritism.  Already approved were some guidelines about the program, such as the description of the type of engineer/landscape professional that would be acceptable. SRA community membership is required. Is there a plan to spread them throughout the watershed? We are hoping to have so many that we have to prioritize.

It would be helpful to have info to distribute to communities. We could suggest they refer to the rainscaping.org list or may list some on the SRA web site. Suggestion was made that they should show that they applied for a grant.

Vote taken: Motion and second to accept the criteria as written.  Passed unanimously.

There’s already discussion of an application from Olde Severna Park.  Now we need a press release and publicity.

3. Howard Ernst reported on 100th Anniversary Project: Charlotte Lubbert and he are putting together a documentary film.  Taking a class on how to do this.  Jim Martin had a wealth of information. MD state archives had the minutes of the first SRA meeting, the 50 year celebration with Colby Rucker Sr.’s speech, Keynote from 1928. Rucker’s daughter also had a wealth of information. They plan to interview past presidents. They’re learning the cameras and software. They are looking for old photos of the river. Suggestions from the audience: to talk to David Wallace, check the Capital archives online. SRA budgeted $1,000 to make this happen. But they are using their own money to produce it. They’re hoping to charge when we show the film to pay for its production. Maybe sell the DVDs. Betsy is planning an event in conjunction with the 100th Anniversary. There was actually a meeting before the charter meeting. April 10, 1911 is the charter meeting date. The organization originally was designed to promote fishing, transportation to get to the Severn, bridges so you could sail your boat under, etc.

4. Oysters: We’ve received notice that one of the new Severn oyster bars, Trace’s Hollow 1B, will be the location for the oysters raised on the Severn. It’s about .9 acres, and there is no slag on that site.. Thursday is the meeting at the Corps of Engineers to learn about what risks the slag may pose due to its use on some of the other bars created by the COE.  Ray Dumentat reported on a statewide meeting on oysters. We have some challenges of collection and reseeding the cages. We have concern of how they want to handle the reseeding. They want to dump a pile of oyster shells. There is some discussion about making this easier. There may be some funding to hire some watermen to help. There was a pilot project that was very well funded. DNR wants oyster restoration. These sanctuaries are important to this plan. They are trying to get the volunteers to do as much as possible. Plan to have a meeting of the oyster coordinators on the Severn.

New Business: 1. Monitoring Rezoning Applications. This would require a Board authorization to spend some money. We now have the General Development Plan. We also have a number of contractors scurrying to make applications. Lots of people are trying to squeeze into a narrow window of zoning requests to keep consistent with the GDP. If we get a lot of applications at once, the challenge is to sort through them to see if any warrant further action by SRA. Earl Bradley proposed that for between $500 and $1,000 he’ll review proposals in the SRA watershed and write up a summary, so the land use committee can focus on concerns. He would review all those that were submitted before that zoning deadline. Cathy Vitale said the County Council would start taking this up in about June.  Kurt would like Don Morris-Jones’s Land Use Committee to help SRA to act on Earl’s recommendations. Bradley has a degree in environmental planning and experience with the state DNR and county.  Motion was made to approve expenditure of up to $1,000 to have Earl Bradley review the applications in the watershed. Vote taken: Motion and second. Vote unanimously passed.

2. Flush Tax: Bob Whitcomb will be testifying to ask legislature that all funds from the Flush Tax, that ought to go to upgrading septic systems (60%) should go to that purpose. Last year a chunk of the funds were diverted by the Legislature. He will be testifying on behalf of the Severn River Commission. Steve Barry can’t make it to speak for the SRA. Friday 9 AM to the House of Delegates. Betsy volunteered to come and testify on behalf of the SRA.

3. Clean Marinas: Bob vom Saal said he feared some of the old pumping stations were still on septic systems. Bob Whitcomb said there was often a large holding tank that is then pumped out—Which then goes to a sewage treatment plant. We will learn more at the May SRA meeting. The head of the Clean Marinas program will be the speaker. We hope to have another speaker too. Need a volunteer to get the word out to the boaters. Sally Hornor asked, do we want to take a stand on this bill? Bob was unsure we wanted to. He encourages people to speak to their senator and express their views. Attorney General Gansler intends to make MD waters into a no-discharge zone.  Suggestion was made that perhaps we should grandfather the onboard treatment systems where they did a good-faith effort to do the right thing. Perhaps there could be a more limited no-discharge zone. Q: Where do the giant cruise ships unload their holding tanks? Not sure of answer. It’s an issue of the organics and the nutrients that come from these onboard systems, since the bacteria should be taken care of by the internal process.

Announcement: Victor Wooten concert on April 10 to benefit Rivers of the World, please publicize.

4. Fred Schaefer noted that he just read about the proposed Hall of Records proposed expansion. SRA may want to suggest a living shoreline there to match the one across the creek at St. John’s College. State Police Barracks is on one side. Bob Whitcomb suggested finding out who owns the property. Suggest finding out more about the project.

April meeting is planned, Bill Fritz from Saefern giving PowerPoint of their new stormwater conveyance system. It solved a bacterial stormwater program, rallied the community, involved Clements Creek, and formed basis for a larger restoration project. This project received money from the SRA-sponsored Bay Friendly Neighborhoods program.

Elizabeth Rosberg, William Barry’s granddaughter introduced herself and her family.

Bob vom Saal offered copies of the Treasurer’s Report for 2009.

Nominating Committee: Kurt Riegel noted that all officers, except Secretary, who would love a replacement, seemed willing to continue in their posts. Dinny White offered to be involved in the Board, and is an expert on zoning.

Adjourned about 9:10 PM

Attendees on Sign In Sheet
Bob Whitcomb, Fred Schaefer, Pat Drenning, Betsy Love, Ray Dumentat, Gene Milgram, Don Carren, Lynne Rockenbauch, Don Morris-Jones,  Rick Rosborg, Elizabeth Rosborg, Matt Rosborg, Sally Hornor, Bonnard Teegarden, Howard Ernst, Thistle Cone, Karl Hacker

(Revised June 2010)