Monthly Archives

May 2019

Stormwater Savvy Program Combines Clean Water Goals With Community Vision

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The Neighborhood Design Center helps communities develop master plans that are both people and environment friendly. 

Polluted stormwater runoff negatively impacts our environment, our communities, and the people who live there. Fortunately, many organizations like the Neighborhood Design Center help communities reduce the impacts of stormwater runoff. Through their Stormwater Savvy program, the Neighborhood Design Center works with the community to create master plans that combine stormwater management with community goals.

Stormwater Savvy isn’t just about design services. In addition to providing action-oriented master plans, the program seeks to inspire people to take stewardship of the land around them. Through an immersive community design process, the Neighborhood Design Center helps communities in Prince George’s County refine their vision and create drawings and plans that clearly communicate that vision. These plans can be included in applications to request funding and then, as needed, to professional contractors who can bring the community vision to life.

The Neighborhood Designed Center has received grant awards through the Prince George’s Stormwater Stewardship Grant Program in 2014, 2015, and 2017 to support the Stormwater Savvy program. View this fact sheet to learn more about one of their awarded projects. Through Stormwater Savvy, the Neighborhood Design Center has worked with schools, faith-based organizations, homeowner associations, and others to develop individualized master plans that fit their needs and address their stormwater issues. For example, a master plan may contain recommendations to improve community areas by planting native trees and a rain garden that not only makes the space more aesthetically pleasing and inviting, but also reduces standing water and flooding. The Neighborhood Design Center provides the Summer Five Homeowners Association Master Plan as a project highlight and example.

Thank you to the Neighborhood Design Center and their Stormwater Savvy program for helping communities develop their community vision and increase their connection with the environment!

Towson University Tree Campus USA Award Serves as an Example for All

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Towson University, a recent Tree Campus award winner and Chesapeake Bay Trust awardee, organized an Arbor Day event to showcase their commitment to planting and caring for trees and recognize their many environmental and physiological benefits.

In December 2018, Towson University received a grant award through the Trust’s Outreach and Restoration Grant Program to revitalize the university’s Glen Arboretum. The goal of this project was to further the mission of the Glen Arboretum on the Towson University campus. The revitalization of the Glen will help improve the health of the Jones Fall watershed through removal of invasive species, increased native plants and trees, and decreased erosion along stream banks. It will also provide educational experiences for students and the surrounding community. Through events and promotions by the students, faculty and volunteers, the Glen Arboretum is not only a valuable environment for university research, but a community resource for restoration and visitation.

Throughout the year, the Chesapeake Bay Trust offers several programs that encourage the planting and growth of trees as a means of improving air quality, increasing tree canopies and forest habitats, and improving water quality in local watersheds. Specific programs like the Charles County Forestry, Anne Arundel County Forestry and forested Land Protection, Prince George’s County Rain Check Rebate, and Anne Arundel Mini Community Planting programs along with other similar county programs focus on increasing tree planting and protection of existing forested land. Many other grant opportunities include tree planting as a part of stormwater reduction or watershed restoration.

By increasing tree cover and expanding green areas, erosion can be reduced, water and soil quality can be improved, airborne pollutants can be filtered and ozone pollution resulting from high summer temperatures can be reduced. The International Society of Arboriculture provides a wealth of information on the value of trees, successfully choosing a new tree and how to plant it, pruning mature trees, and the importance of mulching.

Looking for inspiration to jumpstart efforts in your local community? The Arbor Day Foundation has launched an initiative aimed at worldwide efforts to plant 100 million trees in forests and communities and inspire 5 million new tree planters by the 150th anniversary of Arbor Day in 2022.

Ideally, the best time to plant is from the last leaf drop in fall or in early spring before budbreak. Now is the time to determine the right tree for your site. Use the Chesapeake Bay Native Plant Center to find native trees that provide shade, fruits or nuts, colorful flowers or distinct fall color, and more.  Lastly, how do you plan to maintain the health of your new planting for long-term sustainability. The Department of Energy and Environment notes that maintenance is extremely important, especially in the first two years after planting.

For more information on everything related to trees, including planting, mulching, pruning, and when you may need an arborist, visit: www.treesaregood.org. The Maryland Department of the Environment sponsors Tree-mendous Maryland with the goal of helping Maryland residents with access to affordable trees to plant on their public lands. With permission from landowners, volunteers can plant trees at schools, in state and community parks, local open space, street trees and more. And keep checking The Trust’s grants page for current and upcoming opportunities to add trees to your communities’ landscape.

Thank You and Farewell to Behnke Nurseries

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After 89 years, Behnke Nurseries announced that this spring season would be their last. They will close their nursery on the evening of Saturday, June 15th. Behnke Nurseries grew to be more than just a garden center. It became a beloved destination with kind and knowledgeable staff who created a sense of community. Over the years, Behnke Nurseries has been a wonderful community partner in Prince George’s County, for the Chesapeake Bay Trust, and to other awardees.

In 2014 and 2015, Behnke Nurseries partnered with the Low Impact Development Center (LID Center). The LID Center received two grant awards through the Prince George’s County Stormwater Stewardship Grant Program to conduct two projects with Behnke Nurseries. These projects aimed to showcase the Prince George’s County Rain Check Rebate program and reduce stormwater runoff on Behnke’s property.

For the first project, the LID Center and Behnke’s installed all seven of the Rain Check Rebate stormwater practices on Behnke’s property. The seven practices include rain barrels, cisterns, urban tree canopies, rain gardens, pavement removal, permeable pavement, and green roofs. These practices improve local waterways by reducing polluted runoff from entering our streams and rivers. Each of the installations included educational signage for visitors to learn about the practices and how they work.

For the second project, the LID Center and Behnke’s installed a Rain Check Rebate resource center inside Behnke’s to provide information about the program and how to participate. For several years, Behnke’s has served as a demonstration site for the Rain Check Rebate program where residents and others can see the practices in action, learn how to implement them on their property, and how to participate in the program.

In addition, Behnke Nurseries won the Chesapeake Bay Trust’s Commercial Stewards Award in 2017 for their commitment to environmental stewardship. This award recognized Behnke’s devotion to environmental stewardship as a company in many ways. First, they have promoted the use of and educating the community about native plants through their “BaySafe Plants Program.”  Second, they integrated environmental stewardship into their business practices through responsible procurement and marketing. Third, they implemented an array of innovative practices on their own property to improve water quality and reduce runoff. Finally, Behnke’s has partnered with other community organizations to further environmental initiatives.

Launched in 1998, the Chesapeake Bay Trust’s Scholarship and Awards Program honors students, educators, individuals, communities, businesses, and organizations for their work to promote environmental education, improve local communities, and help restore the natural resources of the Chesapeake Bay region.

Thank you Behnke Nurseries for all you have done for our community and environment. We are all the better for having known and worked with you!