Maryland's Chesapeake & Coastal Service News - April 2013

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Volume 5, Issue 4   

APRIL 2013


IN THE ZONE is a service from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources' Chesapeake & Coastal Service (CCS) that delivers timely information, tools, and resources to those who live, work, and play in Maryland's coastal zone.

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CCS stakeholder outreach efforts help bring offshore wind energy to Maryland

Photo by Jay Baker
Gov. O'Malley public announcement. Photo by Jay Baker. Click Image to view full photostream

On March 18, 2013 Governor Martin O'Malley passed The Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act of 2013, which creates a mechanism to incentivize the development of up to 500 megawatts (MW) of offshore wind capacity, at least ten nautical miles off of Maryland's coast. A target project size of 200 MW would require the installation of an estimated 40 turbines off the coast of Ocean City.


From 2011 to present, CCS has worked with partners to advance the siting and leasing process, prepare and compile comments about potential environmental impacts, and advance the state legislation supporting offshore wind development, which was signed on April 9, 2013.


Creating Jobs in Maryland Through Offshore Wind
VIDEO: "Creating Jobs in Maryland Through Offshore Wind"
The bill incentivizes offshore wind and is expected to support the construction of a roughly 200 megawatt major offshore energy project off of Maryland's coast. A project of this size could create almost 850 manufacturing and construction jobs for the next five years, supply electricity in enough capacity to power a third of the homes on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, reduce emissions of the greenhouse gas, CO2, by over 378,000 tons per year and promise improved public health outcomes, yield cleaner air and cleaner water, and save over $17 million per year in public health costs. Click here to read more about Maryland's future plans regarding offshore wind and all the great opportunities that come from this investment.

Click here for more information regarding DNR's efforts to inform and guide offshore wind energy development in Maryland.
Seven jurisdictions participate in Stormwater Management & Financing series

WAC Stormwater Training Series. Photo by Jenn Raulin.
The Watershed Assistance Collaborative
has recently expanded its partnership to provide additional services to local governments seeking assistance in achieving their local watershed restoration goals.  The Collaborative, and its newest partner, the Maryland Coastal Training Program, now provides hands-on trainings targeted at local government staff.  Based on feedback received from the Spring 2012 Collaborative forum, the first training series focused on stormwater management and financing.  Seven jurisdictions, including the Town of Betterton, Town of Chestertown, Dorchester County, City of Gaithersburg, Mount Rainer, Town of Ridgely, and St. Mary's County, were selected to participate in a three-part series covering topics such as: identifying stormwater retrofit and new Best Management Practice (BMP) opportunities, understanding different options for funding stormwater retrofits, and developing a plan to finance and implement these BMPs.  The final part of the series, coordinated and led by the Regional Watershed Restoration Specialists, provides a follow up opportunity to provide direct assistance based on each individual community's needs. 


For more information regarding the Watershed Assistance Collaborative future trainings, please contact Jenn Raulin with the Chesapeake & Coastal Service at 410-260-8745.
Follow the successful plantings by searching the Restoration Report

This spring, more than 2,000 students from across Maryland got an early start on their Earth Day contributions, planting trees to improve water quality through Governor Martin O'Malley's Stream

Restoration Challenge. The program provides grants for students and groups to carry out projects to improve Chesapeake Bay water quality through service learning and environmental education activities.

Kent Co. public school planting. Photo by Gabe Cohee
Click Image to view full photostream.

"I want to thank and commend these hardworking students and partnering organizations for volunteering their time and resources for the Stream Restoration Challenge," said Governor O'Malley. Click here to read the view full press release.


View the Chesapeake & Coastal Service Restoration Report for project highlights: 


Kent County Public School students are busy throughout April and May planting trees at Sassafras Natural Resources Management Area (SNRMA). On April 8, 40 6th graders visited the site to plant and tube trees as well as hike through the area to apply knowledge learned in class. Read more... 


Boy Scout Venturing Crew 202 held a community planting on April 20th planting over 3,000 trees with more than 200 community volunteers and students. The Venturing Crew students each led a group of boy scouts and community members in the planting, showcasing their environmental literacy and leadership skills. Read more... 


Howard County Recreation and Parks and the Office of Environmental Sustainability hosted 180 students on April 16 at Rockburn Park.  Dunloggin Middle School 7th graders planted trees, earned service learning hours, and built stewardship knowledge. Read more... 


For more information regarding Gov. O'Malley's Stream Restoration Challange, please contact Gabe Cohee with the Chesapeake & Coastal Service at 410-260-8753.
DNR-funded stormwater utility study laid groundwork for ordinance

Photo by Carrie Decker. 

The Town of Centreville has been proactive in environmental stewardship and outreach for well over ten years, with a Corsica River-wide initiative in motion and growing ever since. The Town plays a large role in the restoration and protection of the land and water that surrounds it, and is proving that role even more with the passing of their stormwater utility; a big deal for a small town with no MS4 (Municipal Separated Storm Sewer System) permit.


On February 21, 2013 the Town of Centreville approved Ordinance 06-2012 to develop a stormwater utility to finance the operation, construction, and maintenance of storm water devices, for stormwater planning, reviewing of development plans for compliance with stormwater management codes, and for protection of local waterways. The ordinance does not include a rate structure for how much each residential and commercial structure would be charged. The Town will be working with Salisbury University to help determine the exact fee structure.


A stormwater utility study, funded by DNR via Maryland's Coastal Zone Management grant, laid the foundation for this ordinance. The first year of the study involved mapping the Town's infrastructure and the costs associated with repairing and upgrading infrastructure. The second year of the study included outreach to the community and Town Council, fee structures, and credit system. The study was presented to the Town Council with recommendations on why the utility was needed, and how much revenue the Town needed per year to address stormwater.


To assist with the development of a business plan for the stormwater utility, a Stormwater Advisory Council (SWAC) was formed with the goal of providing public education and to solicit feedback from the SWAC related to the development of a storm water utility. The SWAC was briefed on three separate occasions during the course of the study and provided valuable input that assisted in directing the study.  The SWAC and the Town of Centreville are currently working towards the implementation of this stormwater utility.   


For more information regarding Centreville's Stormwater Utility, please contact Carrie Decker with the Chesapeake & Coastal Service at 410-260-8723. 

Can these gardens be considered mini toxic clean up sites?

Completed Rain Garden. Photo by Zora Lathan 

According to a recent article in the Seattle Times, which spoke on the filtering power of rain gardens, two recently retrofitted rain gardens at the DNR headquarters may well be mini toxic cleanup sites.


In 1998, DNR built two of the State's first rain gardens to evaluate the effectiveness of stormwater bioretention management and test the new concept of using natural filters to clean up pollution. These gardens were designed specifically to filter rainwater before it washes into College Creek.


In 2011, it was determine that the 15-year-old gardens needed to be enhanced. With the help of the Chesapeake Ecology Center, the Maryland Conservation Corp, CCS staff, and student volunteers, the gardens (3,096 sf. total) on the east side of the lower parking lot outside of DNR were cleaned out, excavated, and planted. New gravel, geotextile, biosoil, native plants, and mulch replaced the deteriorated soils that had built up over the years.


The now retrofitted gardens continue to treat, by filtering polluted runoff, 55% of the parking area at DNR. During the retrofit, soil samples were taken and sent to the Penn State Agricultural Analytical Services Laboratory - the results of which shine a light on just how well our gardens worked as "toxic cleanup sites" over the past 15 years.


Click Image to follow the evolution of the DNR rain gardens.

The soil samples were tested for cadmium, copper, chromium, lead, nickel and zinc. They were also tested for nitrogen and phosphorous, the key contributors to the over eutrophication of the Bay.  The comparison of results shows that the old gardens had metal and nutrient levels that were much higher than the recently tested soils for all the elements, with lead and phosphorus being the highest. The old garden soil lead levels were 26 parts of lead per million parts (ppm) and the present soil is 1.83 ppm; chromium 68.09 ppm vs. 2.83 ppm; and nitrogen 0.30% vs 0.11%. Phosphorous, which tends to stay put in soils until oversaturated, was 0.07% in the old garden vs. 0.007% now.  


So, are these bioretention areas toxic? Not necessarily. Many natural processes have been at work over the years in the rain garden, which is why Lisa Stiffler, author of the Seattle Times Article, wanted to reassure folks that these specially designed gardens really are not toxic or dangerous to humans or animals. This is due to the bacteria breaking down metals and the plants absorbing many of the pollutants over the years, including petroleum.


Over the last 15 years, filtration and absorption has occurred in the DNR bioretention areas. These rain gardens are slowing down excess rainwater, soaking up and filtering out heavy metals and nutrients, effectively acting as mini toxic pollution sinks. Yet they remain safe, and if properly maintained, beautiful landscapes to visit. The best part of all is that these specially designed natural filters help protect the water quality of local rivers like College Creek, providing a safeguard for the aquatic and animal life that lives there.


For more information regarding DNR's rain gardens, please contact Claudia Donegan with the Chesapeake & Coastal Service at 410-260-8768.

Maryland to work with High Impact Environmental and GreatGrow, Inc.


Stormwater Cascade System. Photo by Sarah Lane
Click Image to view full photostream.

Maryland's Innovative Technology Fund, in collaboration with Maryland Industrial Partnerships, has two new partners under its research and development arm. High Impact Environmental will work with Dr. Allen Davis from University of Maryland College Park to field monitor runoff reductions, and nutrient and sediment removal rates of Agricultural Stormwater Cascade Systems. This technology is a series of basins constructed in an agricultural grassed swale.  To read more about this project click here.


In addition, over the next two years GreatGrow, Inc. will work with Dr. Samuel Geleta and his colleagues from Salisbury University to test a new soil amendment for its ability to improve soil quality, increase corn yield, and reduce nutrient runoff.  GreatGrow's soil amendment is a proprietary mix of microorganisms, fermented chicken manure, oyster/crab shells and other additives.  The study will be conducted on the Delmarva Peninsula under dry land and irrigated conditions.  Click here to read more about this project.


For more information regarding the Innovative Technology Fund, please contact Sarah Lane with the Chesapeake & Coastal Service at 410-260-8788. 

Provides grants to states and local governments for long-term mitigation projects 

Photo by Amy McGovern. 
The Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA's) Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) provides grants to States, local governments, and Indian tribes for long-term hazard mitigation projects following a major disaster declaration. The purpose of the program is to reduce the loss of life and property in future disasters by funding mitigation measures during the recovery phase of a natural disaster.


These funds may be used to make improvements to public or private property, however, to be eligible, the project must provide a long term solution to a specific risk.  For example, elevating flood-prone homes or businesses, creating floodwall systems that protect critical facilities, and retrofitting buildings to minimize damage from high winds, flooding, earthquakes, and other hazards. 

Click here to learn more about this funding opportunity.

For more information, please contact Mark James, the State Hazard Mitigation Officer, at 410-517-3649.  


Implementers Committee continues efforts to restore the river


Photo by Carrie Decker.

DNR's Chesapeake and Coastal Service has been partnering with Queen Anne's County, Queen Anne's Soil Conservation District, the Town of Centreville, the Corsica River Conservancy (CRC), Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE), and Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) for more than seven years to protect and restore the watershed, a tributary to the Chester River in Queen Anne's County.


Projects recently accomplished by the committee partners include:

  • Passed Town of Centreville Stormwater Utility; Ordinance in February 2013; 
  • Installed a headwall retrofit and step pool system below the Town of Centreville's waste water treatment plant on the Gravel Run tributary;
  • Installed a step pool system for stormwater on Banjo Lane in Centreville to reduce erosion and sediment loads;
  • Completed the Gravel Run Dam Removal Study;
  • Installed the Centreville Middle school bio-retention and native garden;
  • Continued on-going water quality monitoring of the overall watershed and site-specific project monitoring;
  • Targeted outreach to agriculture producers and a cover crop program achieving beyond their goals;
  • Initiated the Backyard Buffer Program for the County and Corsica watershed; and 
  • Completed a six year Corsica River Progress Report that was distributed to the public and elected officials in October of 2012.

As a result of all these and other non-point source implementation activities, MDE is finding nutrient reductions in non-tidal portions of the tributaries. A key next step is to determine the level of effort still needed to further improve water quality and habitat in the river. 


For more information on the Corsica River Implementation Committee, please contact Carrie Decker with the Chesapeake & Coastal Service at 410-260-8723.

Unit-wide field day results in 470 trees planted

CCS Staff at Cabin Branch. Photo by Donna An. 
On March 13th, CCS staff helped the Underwood and Associates crew plant 470 trees at the Cabin Branch Stream Restoration site. The primary focus of this project is to restore a degraded stream and reduce the export of sediments and nutrients from a heavily urbanized sub-watershed to downstream waterways and wetlands of Saltworks Creek on the Severn River.  


"I really enjoy field days. It gets you out and talking with folks you may not work with day to day.  Plus, I always learn a new plant species or see some cool stream critter - much better then a cubicle! - Kristen Fleming  


Photo by Donna An. Click Image to view full photostream.

CCS staff planted 25 White Cedars, 5 swamp magnolias, 220 Christmas Ferns, and 220 Golden Clubs along the stream bank of what was, previously, a highly eroded stream near the Annapolis Mall.  The restoration and re hydration of the headwaters, adjacent floodplain and riparian areas of Cabin Branch will occur as a result of the installation of a system of weirs, berms, and sand seepage wetlands. The project will complete the restoration of 2,052 linear feet of stream, create 3.46 acres of wetlands, enhance 4.81 acres of wetlands, and treat 187 upland acres.  


"Getting outside as a team and working toward on-the-ground results felt great.  It was fun, a good work out, and I got to chat with some of our local partners." - Joe Abe


For more information regarding future Chesapeake & Coastal Service's activities, please contact Claudia Donegan with the Chesapeake & Coastal Service at 410-260-8768. 

Feel free to contact us with any comments, questions or ideas for future IN THE ZONE e-mails.
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A publication of the Maryland Coastal Zone Management Program pursuant to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Award No. NA12NOS4190169. This publication is funded (in part) by a grant/cooperative agreement from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The views expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of NOAA or any of its sub-agencies. 

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