Stew­ards in­stall bio-re­ten­tion is­land in North East

Cecil Whig - - LOCAL - By JES­SICA IANNETTA

jian­netta@ce­cil­whig.com

— A bio-re­ten­tion is­land re­cently in­stalled out­side North East town hall will help re­duce stormwa­ter runoff and flood­ing in the park­ing lot.

North East res­i­dents Mark Dob­bins and Jim Wol­ford in­stalled the is­land as their cap­stone pro­ject for the Wa­ter­shed Stew­ards Academy, a pro­gram that works to ed­u­cate and em­power county res­i­dents to im­prove the wa­ter qual­ity of lo­cal streams and re­duce the harm­ful ef­fects of pol­luted stormwa­ter runoff.

The pro­ject was funded through a $4,500 grant from the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay Trust and re­ceived help from sev­eral groups in­clud­ing the town of North East, the Ce­cil County Mas­ter Gar­den­ers and the Elk and North East Rivers Wa­ter­shed As­so­ci­a­tion, of which Dob­bins and Wol­ford are pres­i­dent and vice pres­i­dent.

“We call it our cap­stone,

NORTH EAST

but it’s the work of a cou­ple dozen peo­ple,” Dob­bins said.

Dob­bins and Wol­ford orig­i­nally ap­proached the town about fix­ing the park­ing lot drainage prob­lem in Au­gust and the town has been sup­port­ive of the idea, Dob­bins said. Con­struc­tion didn’t start un­til last week, though, be­cause it took longer than ex­pected for the grant fund­ing to come through, he added.

Work on the 1,200-square­foot is­land started with town work­ers ex­ca­vat­ing an ex­ist­ing grassy is­land in the park­ing lot to cre­ate a roughly 3-foot deep hole. The bot­tom was then filled with a per­fo­rated PVC pipe and rocks fol­lowed by lay­ers of pea gravel and soil. The is­land was com­pleted on Satur­day with help from the Ce­cil County Mas­ter Gar­den­ers, who planted na­tive plants to give ad­di­tional help with fil­tra­tion, Dob­bins said.

The orig­i­nal grassy is­land al­ready had a stormwa­ter drain in­stalled and this was re­tained in the new is­land be­cause the qual­ity of soil in the park­ing lot is so poor that it needs extra help to ab­sorb all the wa­ter, Dob­bins said.

The de­ci­sion to tackle the stormwa­ter prob­lem at the town hall came af­ter it was used as an ex­am­ple of poor stormwa­ter man­age­ment dur­ing a WSA class field trip, Wol­ford said.

“It’s also in a highly vis­i­ble area,” he added. “Hope­fully it will get other peo­ple think­ing about sim­i­lar projects they could do.”

As part of that ed­u­ca­tion ef­fort, a sign will even­tu­ally be in­stalled in front of the bio-re­ten­tion is­land ex­plain­ing how the pro­ject works and how peo­ple can do sim­i­lar, smaller-scale projects on their own prop­er­ties, Dob­bins said.

“We can’t solve big prob­lems like the sed­i­ment buildup be­hind the Conowingo Dam, but we can all work on smaller projects that still make a dif­fer­ence,” Dob­bins said.

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF MARK DOB­BINS

A bio-re­ten­tion is­land was in­stalled in the North East town hall park­ing lot where a grassy is­land filled with trees and plants used to be.

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF MARK DOB­BINS

A bio-re­ten­tion is­land in­stalled out­side North East town hall will help with stormwa­ter man­age­ment in the park­ing lot.

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF MARK DOB­BINS

Vol­un­teers put na­tive plants in a bio-re­ten­tion is­land in­stalled out­side North East town hall.

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