Monthly Archives

April 2020

Riverbea Community Salutes Neighborhood: “May the Forest Be With You”

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BEFORE: The Riviera Beach Community’s overgrown areas of land.

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.”

AFTER: Riviera Beach Community regains use of a beautiful part of the neighborhood.

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.

Spotlight on an Environmental Champion

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Environmental leaders are all around us, even within our local communities. Tiaa Rutherford of the Prince George’s County Department of the Environment (DoE) is one such leader. Tiaa has worked tirelessly to beautify and protect the natural resources of the Prince George’s County communities. Recently, Tiaa was publicly honored for her environmental efforts.

Tiaa was recognized as a Regional Environmental Champion at the 2020 bi-annual Taking Nature Black conference hosted by the Audubon Naturalist Society for her work to reduce the amount of litter in the Anacostia River and the streams throughout the County. Her work also helps the County meet the goals of their stormwater discharge permit under the Clean Water Act. As the DoE’s Litter Reduction Program Manager, Tiaa engages individuals, non-profits, and municipalities on a variety of litter-reduction initiatives. Tiaa, along with other DoE colleagues, were recognized in 2017 for their work in creating the litter-monitoring apps LitterTRAK and PGCLitterTRAK. PGCLitterTRAK allows communities and individuals to document litter data around Prince George’s County.

Tiaa posing with the Anacostia River trash trap signage.

As a partner of Prince George’s County, the Chesapeake Bay Trust has had the chance to work with Tiaa on projects funded by the Prince George’s County Stormwater Stewardship Grant Program. In 2016, Anacostia Riverkeeper was approved for an award that funded the construction and installation of a “trash-trap” in the Arundel Canal of the Anacostia River. Tiaa was involved throughout the trash-trap installation process and provided outreach support to educate and engage County residents on the new installation. Currently, the Trust is working with Tiaa on a behavior-change litter reduction initiative.

Congratulations Tiaa, we look forward to continuing to work with you!

 

 

Prince George’s County Stormwater Stewardship Awardees

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The Chesapeake Bay Trust, in partnership with Prince George’s County, is proud to announce the sixth year of Prince George’s County Stormwater Stewardship Grant Program awards! The program supports projects that benefit neighborhoods while treating and controlling stormwater. The goal is to improve neighborhoods, improve water quality in the County’s local streams and rivers, and engage County residents in stormwater issues.

This year, a total of 14 projects were awarded a total of $979,056 to support stormwater projects that will engage 5,000 residents, treat over 11 acres of impervious surface, and plant over 1,900 trees and 11,000 native plants that will provide shade, cleaner air, and improve water quality. The awardees and their project descriptions are as follows:

Alice Ferguson Foundation: will install two stormwater retrofit practices within the barnyard area of the Hard Bargain Farm Environmental Center. $140,000.
Anacostia Watershed Society:  will hold a Watershed Stewards Academy and Maryland Master Naturalist program that trains 60 watershed residents. $11,510.
Anacostia Watershed Society: will improve habitat and water quality along the Anacostia River using mussels, floating wetlands, and trees. $23,453.
Central Kenilworth Avenue Revitalization Community Development Corporation, Inc.: will plant 300 trees in the Greater Riverdale and Bladensburg neighborhoods. $134,031.
City of Hyattsville: will promote the importance and benefits of trees by implementing a Tree Canopy study and providing resources to residents to plant trees. $60,762.
City of Mount Rainier: will develop 11 green infrastructure practices to reduce stormwater runoff impacts and support making the City of Mount Rainier a model “green city.” $196,000.
EcoLatinos, Inc.: will carry out an outreach campaign to increase awareness of stormwater runoff and its impact on water quality among Spanish-speaking residents. $18,993.
EcoLatinos, Inc.: will lead the “Festival del Rio Anacostia 2020,” where more than 800 attendees can participate in environmental related activities. $23,694.
End Time Harvest Ministries: will engage residents in a clean water initiative educating surrounding neighborhoods on stormwater problems and possible solutions. $31,163.
Global Health and Education Projects, Inc.: will plant 200 trees through the Family Tree Adoption Program in high-priority areas of Prince George’s County that have low tree canopy. $115,969.
GreenTrust Alliance, Inc.: will add 5.5 acres of forested and warm season grass/ pollinator-focused headwater buffer to an existing stream and wetland restoration project at the USDA Beltsville Agricultural Research Center. $50,000.
Town of Cheverly: will design and implement a rain garden in the Cheverly Town Park. $54,954.
Town of Edmonston: will implement the fourth industrial “green street” located in the district of Lafayette Place. $68,527.
University of Maryland College Park: will develop a water quality action framework and outreach campaign for homeowner/community association boards, property managers, and residents. $50,000.

Congratulations to all the awardees, we look forward to working with you!