QA OKs fund­ing for stormwa­ter projects at Ch­e­sa­peake

Record Observer - - News - By MIKE DAVIS mdavis@kibay­times.com

CEN­TRE­VILLE — The Queen Anne’s County Com­mis­sion­ers ap­proved the dis­per­sal of money dur­ing its Tues­day, July 26, meet­ing to aid in the de­sign and con­struc­tion of mul­ti­ple Water­shed Im­ple­men­ta­tion Plan projects to take place at Ch­e­sa­peake Col­lege.

The Mid­shore River­keep­ers Conservancy, based out of Eas­ton, has re­ceived grants from the Na­tional Fish and Wildlife Foun­da­tion and the Mary­land De­part­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources Trust Fund for var­i­ous as­pects of the 10 projects. As of July, MRC has raised more than $1 mil­lion in grant fund­ing. With the $292,587 the com­mis­sion­ers unan­i­mously voted to ap­prove to as­sist with nu­tri­ent and sed­i­ment runoff, all 10 of the projects will be con­structed.

The var­i­ous projects will cre­ate six bioren­tions, one wet­land, two for­est buf­fers and a re­gen­er­a­tive storm con­veyance sys­tem, also known as a step pool, around the cam­pus, lo­cated at 1000 Col­lege Cir­cle, Wye Mills. The county money will fund the de­sign and per­mit­ting phase of the wet­land pro­ject, the six biore­ten­tions and two buf­fers. The money will also fund the con­struc­tion of two biore­ten­tions and the tree plant­ings for the for­est buf­fers.

In 2014, MRC com­pleted a water­shed as­sess­ment of the Wye River and found op­por­tu­ni­ties for mul­ti­ple restoration and retro­fit projects aimed at reducing nu­tri­ent and sed­i­ment pol­lu­tion en­ter­ing the wa­ter­way. Three pro­ject ideas that came from that as­sess­ment were con­struct­ing a ditch retro­fit and bioswale at the Wye Ferry Land­ing area, wet­land cre­ation at the Kud­ner Prop­erty and ma­jor stormwa­ter and restoration projects on Ch­e­sa­peake Col­lege’s cam­pus.

In April, the MRC in con­junc­tion with the DNR and the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay Trust held a rib­bon cut­ting to cel­e­brate the com­ple­tion the of a 4.5 acre wet­land cre­ated to treat nu­tri­ents and sed­i­ments from runoff from more than 80 acres of farm land at the county-owned Kud­ner Prop­erty, 961 Ben­nett Point Road.

In 2015, MRC col­lab­o­rated with Ch­e­sa­peake Col­lege and cre­ated a mas­ter plan of stormwa­ter man­age­ment projects that could be im­ple­mented through­out the cam­pus. The group aims to com­plete the projects by mid2018.

Kristin Junkin, MRC di­rec­tor of op­er­a­tions, told the com­mis­sion­ers that the cam­pus, built in the 1960s, “re­flects the engi­neer­ing and en­vi­ron­men­tal think­ing of that time” in terms of stormwa­ter in­fra­struc­ture. As the col­lege is lo­cated on a “very eco­log­i­cally sen­si­tive par­cel of land” at the head­wa­ters of the Wye East River, Junkin said all of the projects will ad­dress nu­tri­ent and sed­i­ment runoff.

In to­tal, the projects will re­duce 17.7 tons of sed­i­ment, 310 pounds of ni­tro­gen and 33 pounds of phos­pho­rus per year as well as re­duce 132,000 gal­lons of stormwa­ter runoff through the biore­ten­tion projects.

Of the 10 projects, Junkin said the main pri­or­ity pro­ject was the cre­ation of the RSC sys­tem, which was fully funded prior to the pre­sen­ta­tion with the com­mis­sion­ers. The sec­ond pri­or­ity, she said, was the cre­ation of a wet­land near the wa­ter tower on the cam­pus. Fund­ing for the con­struc­tion of the wet­land was pro­vided by the De­part­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources trust fund but sur­vey, de­sign, per­mit­ting and man­age­ment was not.

“There’s an area where a [stormwa­ter] pipe dis­charges di­rectly into a field and we’re go­ing to build a wet­land that will pro­duce sheet flow so that the wa­ter sep­a­rates and flows gen­tly down the hill­side in­stead of in the chan­nel that is caus­ing ero­sion,” Junkin said.

Greg Far­ley, di­rec­tor of the col­lege’s Cen­ter for Leadership and En­vi­ron­men­tal Ed­u­ca­tion, said th­ese projects “fire on a num­ber of cylin­ders for us” as they help the school meet its ed­u­ca­tional mis­sion.

Far­ley said projects like the ones pro­posed pro­vide op­por­tu­ni­ties for stu­dents to learn through­out the build­ing process. “We’re anx­ious to sort of em­ploy the cam­pus as a learn­ing lab­o­ra­tory for those aims,” Far­ley said.

Us­ing the cam­pus as a “learn­ing lab­o­ra­tory,” Far­ley said the school has ini­tia­tives to get stu­dents out of the class­room and “into the real world.” He said the var­i­ous projects will help stu­dents learn steps from the plan­ning process to the phys­i­cal con­struc­tion of the projects.

“All this also helps us meet our strate­gic goal of bet­ter en­vi­ron­men­tal ste­ward­ship,” Far­ley said. “...We want to play our part in the ef­fort to clean up the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay, and that again be­comes a teach­able mo­ment for us.”

The com­mis­sion­ers set aside money in its bud­gets from FY2014 ($150,000), FY2015 ($150,000) and FY2016 ($1 mil­lion) for WIP projects. Com­mis­sioner Jim Moran said the county is look­ing for two-to-one or three-to-one matches for money it puts into WIP projects with other or­ga­ni­za­tions.

“This is the vi­sion that we had, was lever­ag­ing our money, the county’s tax­pay­ers’ money,” Moran said. “...I think this is one of those projects that meets that goal.”

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