SRA Board Meeting Minutes

March 15, 2011

Meeting called to order at 7:09 p.m. by President Bob Whitcomb

Guest Speaker: Don Morris-Jones, Ph.D., (and SRA officer) on the topic of:

Geospatial Hydrological Models (continued from a previous presentation):

Timely topic, in light of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan: There was a tsunami impact in the Chesapeake Bay 35.3 million years ago in the late Eocene Epoch. It’s the largest impact crater in the U.S., 8.5 miles across and incinerated all living things for hundreds of miles. And people weren’t even aware of it until 1983.  A comet or meteorite landed there.

What follows is Don’s review of several models that may be of interest to water quality enthusiasts in the Chesapeake Bay region:

EPA Chesapeake Bay Program models: integrated models of the Bay watershed: water, air, water quality, nitrogen, phosphorus, sediment. There is a question of whether the models are up to the task of developing TMDLS for the Bay.

ChesapeakeStat: has federal accountability; similar to Maryland BayStat.

USDA Service Center Agencies Common Computing Environment (CCE) Enterprise GIS: a series of applications are used by various agencies like the NRCS, FSA (Farm Services Agency), Rural Development, etc.

USDA NAIP Program: National Agriculture Imagery Program: almost the whole country is imaged. Flown during the summer growing season. Reflown every 3 years. Helpful for preparing conservation plans and to verify crops grown.

USDA Service Center Agencies CCE: NRCS Wetlands Application:  Used by agents in the field to map wetlands; also one to track the Conservation Reserve,

Maryland State Bay Related GIS: BayStat application. Maps, graphic output available on % complete, etc.

Maryland Stream Health application; Cover crop Solutions; Nutrient management plans; implementing farming best management practices; Maryland GreenPrint: Land Preservation Data, Forest Cover within 100 foot buffer of water; Maryland AgPrint: priority of ag lands; Marylanders Plant Trees; Maryland Grows Oysters program.

Low cost software and hardware: ArcGIS; costs about $12,000 to license commercially, but you can get the basic technology less expensively. Can buy software cheaply from techsoup.com for 501©(3) organizations.

The Maryland state models are all available free via the Internet (but not the USDA models).

National Geographic Field Scope: chesapeakefieldscope.com suggested by Steve Barry as a fairly user-friendly GIS system to check out.

Comprehensive Up-Zoning (report of the Land Use Committee):  (Don Morris-Jones, Pat Lynch, Richard Falk, Bob Whitcomb, Dinny White) Earl Bradley was hired to review the current batch of applications for projects that might concern the SRA in terms of impacts, cover, and  impervious surfaces that would impact water quality. There was a total of 35 applications of concern.  There were 10 in the Benoit district, 16 in Trumbauer’s, 6 in Ladd’s and 4 in Grasso’s.

There is a review process beginning, and it’s done by county council district.  Sometime in May or June, the Benoit district will be considered. The SRA Land Use Committee and Lina Vlavianos (chair, Severn River Commission) met with Jamie Benoit on March 7 to review the zoning applications in his district. He knew them well. Several are close to the Jabez Branch.

One by Poole: steep slopes near the Jabez Branch. 

Another :Tom Baldwin proposal for multiple parcels along Rt. 3. There is a lot of old zoning along there and not very attractive development. He would like to assemble a number of parcels and redevelop them and cut down on some of the stream erosion.

Steve Barry noted that the Bein property has contamination from being an old dump site.

Earl Bradley said: you can go to the County website and get information on the rezoned properties and the decisions made on them.

The Poole property: the County recommended the zoning stay the same. RLD zoned.

We said we would clarify our position in writing to Jamie Benoit.

Charlotte asked about a property right by Severn Run. Bradley said the owner wants to develop it.

Jackson property: Crownsville Commercial Center development. Some of the community associations support it, but General’s Highway Association opposes it. It’s near where the service station is at Herald Harbor Road.  It’s  6 or 7 acres. Betsy Love noted that there is currently a lot of traffic there. There will be some impervious surface and clearing trees. We brought up the GIS map of the Jackson property on the smart board and determined most of it is in the South River watershed.

Kurt asked what will SRA’s procedure be to decide if we want to take further action about any of the parcels Earl has studied. Earl said it would be good to support the council’s decision if we agree with their recommendation.

We disagree with a few of the county’s recommendations. The committee plans to draft a report and letter to the County Council on SRA’s position on the parcels of concern. We could plan to try to testify. Bob Whitcomb said there are a few parcels in the other districts that we will probably be more controversial than the ones we reviewed tonight.

Fred Kelly asked Earl Bradley how often the county council votes opposite from the county’s recommendation.  Earl says it happens, if the council member gets involved.

Are there any amendments planned? The county council has to submit any amendments to planning and zoning before bringing them up at the public sessions.

Bob Whitcomb said we will send out an e-mail to the board for approval of our communications with the County Council regarding this first group of parcels, in districts 1 and 4.

Old Business

Project Clean Stream: Bob Whitcomb announced SRA will be doing this year’s cleanup Saturday, April 2, 9 a.m. to noon, Clements Creek and Luce Creeks. Water, gloves, doughnuts, trash bags and directions will be available to volunteers so they can pull out trash from these Severn subwatersheds. The County DPW will haul away all the trash we remove.  For Clements Creek: meet at Ram’s Head Roadhouse Tavern; Luce Creek: meet at 1920 Lawrence Ave. off Bestgate Road. This cleanup is to be led by the Unitarian Church.  There will also be a greeting table set up. It’s very steep. Neither of these cleanups are child-friendly, due to the steep slopes. Dress with appropriate boots and protective clothes. There may be some mechanical equipment to help, if the donors are able to locate it.

Kurt Riegel for the nominating committee: Slate of nominees of elected board of directors: 4 expiring seats: Sally Hornor, Steve Barry, Ken Hatch, Harold Kumer, One is nominated for taking the rest of a term, due to Pat Lynch’s resignation: John Wright. These directors will be voted on at the Annual Meeting on April 29. Motion was made to accept Slate of New Officers: President: Duane Wilding, 1st VP: Bob Whitcomb, 2nd VP: Dinny White, Treasurer: Lynne Rockenbach, Communications Secretary: Tom Guay, Recording Secretary: Bob vom Saal. Seconded by Sally Hornor. No nominations from the floor. The slate was passed unanimously.

100th Anniversary: more press will go out soon. Radio, newspapers, Bay Journal. We have about 73 people registered, including those who said tonight that they would register. A few community tables have been reserved. April 6th is the deadline before the price goes up.

Jonas Green Park: Dinny White spoke about their meeting with John Flood who we asked to look at the shoreline and habitats. He made recommendation to extend the rock barriers along the beach. They had a second meeting with Kincey Potter and Eric Michelson from the South River Federation. They discussed developing an environmental education exhibit there. We are continuing cleanup efforts since debris washes down there. More grant applications are planned by Friends of the AA County Trails for work at the site.

Mike Robinson expressed his concern about development of properties near the Jabez Branch. Bob Whitcomb said Lina Vlavianos seems to feel the county has these properties in control.

Rep of the county executive said that next Wed. a.m. we were invited to get some publicity for the 100th Anniversary Celebration: there’s an opportunity to get publicity out on the local TV. Tom Guay and Betsy Love were to coordinate that.

New Business:

Annapolis Maritime Museum’s Oyster Roast: this Saturday to celebrate the spring equinox. The table for SRA will be there March 19th. Bob Whitcomb will be there with Dinny White, Sally Hornor and Jim Martin.

Broadneck High School Outdoor Festival:  their signature program is the environment. It’s an April 9 event. It’s a student initiative. They’ve invited us to be there: April 9, 9 to 3. Looking for volunteers; must tell them by this Friday.

Maryland Public TV’s Chesapeake Week:  Rivers of Worry it will be on March 23 at 8:30. Also, April 17 there’s a Volunteerathon. We are one of the organizations competing to be on that program.

April 29th: please register and bring your friends and neighbors to the 100th Anniversary Celebration.

Meeting was adjourned at 8:58 p.m.

(Revised June 2011)