It is a problem faced by many homeowner associations; community common areas overtaken by invasive plant growth which seem to invade faster and cover more ground in a shorter amount of time than that spent maintaining our yards! This was the case for the Riviera Beach Community (RBC) subdivision in Pasadena, Maryland. The land is owned by RBC and this tight-knit community is governed by two different community associations, Riverbea and Riviera Community Improvement Association.
Valuable community public space had essentially become unusable because of overgrowth, neglect, drainage issues, and trash. With an award through the Anne Arundel County Forestry and Forested Land Protection program, Riverbea was able to replace invasive foliage with native trees and plantings along the pathway to the shoreline, a semi-forested location within the watershed critical area. This project demonstrated the ability of neighbors to take an uncared-for lot and turn it into a beautiful and ecologically friendly environment.
Members of both organizations volunteered with clean-up and planting activities, working alongside local contractors and nurseries to ensure proper protection and support were in place for a successful project. Part of the project award includes a maintenance requirement to ensure upkeep management.
“We have come a very long way with invasive species control. Phragmites and bamboo have taken over a large portion of the site and it has been challenging keeping them from growing back,” said Michael Vaccarino, Riverbea’s vice president. “Support from neighbors has grown. We have removed over 5 truckloads of trash ranging from glass bottles to tires, bed frames, batteries, even bowling balls. There is a large pile of bamboo that has been cut as well as a pile of lumber and branches/ivy.”
The goal of the Anne Arundel County Forestry and Forested Land Protection program is to implement cost-effective reforestation and greening projects and increase the number of acres of protected forested land in the County. By increasing tree cover and expanding green areas, erosion can be reduced; water and soil quality can be improved; airborne pollutants such as particulates, nitrogen oxide, and carbon monoxide can be filtered; and summer temperatures and resulting ozone pollution and energy use can be reduced.
By protecting forested land, valuable ecological services such as habitat, water quality, and flood control can be ensured for the future. And for Riverbea, regaining the use of a beautiful community area adds to the neighborhood quality of life, engages residents in their ability and desire to support healthy environmental habits, and reduces damaging toxins entering waterways.