En­vi­ron­men­tal projects at Ch­e­sa­peake Col­lege aim to re­duce storm runoff

Record Observer - - Front Page - By MIKE DAVIS mdavis@kibay­times.com

WYE MILLS — Four years ago, the Mid­shore River­keeper Con­ser­vancy be­gan meet­ing with Ch­e­sa­peake Col­lege of­fi­cials to dis­cuss how to treat stormwa­ter runoff is­sues through­out the cam­pus. With fund­ing from mul­ti­ple sources for var­i­ous as­pects of the plan, con­struc­tion is now un­der­way for 14 projects aimed di­rectly at aid­ing in a healthy Wye River and Ch­e­sa­peake Bay.

On Wed­nes­day, June 28, fig­ures in the en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion field, Ch­e­sa­peake Col­lege rep­re­sen­ta­tives and elected govern­ment of­fi­cials gath­ered at the col­lege in front of the con­struc­tion of a new re­gen­er­a­tive storm con­veyance sys­tem, known as a step pool, to speak about how the projects will not only help the col­lege, but the sur­round­ing area.

Kristin Junkin, di­rec­tor of op­er­a­tions at Mid­shore River­keeper Con­ser­vancy, said when the step pool, wet­land restora­tion near the ten­nis courts, three large buf­fer plant­ings and nine biore­ten­tion projects are com­pleted it will col­lec­tively re­duce the amount of ni­tro­gen flow­ing into the river by 400 pounds an­nu­ally. She said the amount of sed­i­ments go­ing into the river will be re­duced by 19 tons per year.

Junkin said the over­all project was vi­tal be­cause the land where Ch­e­sa­peake Col­lege sits has more than 100 acres of land sur­round­ing it pass­ing stormwa­ter through the cam­pus and into the head­wa­ters of the Wye River.

“We hope we are go­ing to make a big im­pact,” Junkin said.

Last July when Junkin spoke to the Queen Anne’s County com­mis­sion­ers about po­ten­tial nu­tri­ent and sed­i­ment runoff projects at the col­lege, the com­mis­sion unan­i­mously ap­proved $292,587 to aid in the cre­ation of mul­ti­ple wa­ter­shed im­ple­men­ta­tion plan projects. The county’s fund­ing matched the amount the Mid­shore River­keeper Conser vancy re­ceived in a Ch­e­sa­peake At­lantic and Coastal Bays Trust Fund grant from the Mary­land Depart­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources.

Prior to re­ceiv­ing money from the Depart­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources and Queen Anne’s County, the Mid­shore River­keeper Con­ser­vancy com­pleted a wa­ter­shed as­sess­ment of the Wye River in 2014 that was funded through a Ch­e­sa­peake Bay Trust grant. That as­sess­ment opened op­por­tu­ni­ties for the en­vi­ron­men­tal group and Ch­e­sa­peake Col­lege to look into mul­ti­ple storm runoff projects on the cam­pus due to the data.

“It’s re­ally up to us nowa­days at the county level, at the state level, to re­ally take the lead­er­ship role in pro­tect­ing our rivers, pro­tect­ing our Ch­e­sa­peake Bay and our en­vi­ron­ment,” Junkin said. “I think these 14 projects we’re do­ing on this cam­pus are a won­der ful ex­am­ple of what lo­cal tal­ent, lo­cal lead­er­ship and just lo­cal part­ner­ships can achieve for the en­vi­ron­ment.”

County Com­mis­sioner Jim Mo­ran said when Junkin first ap­proached the com­mis­sion­ers about fund­ing these projects, it was a no­brainer. “We do need to look at tak­ing care of this our­selves mov­ing

for­ward, and I think Queen Anne’s County is ready for that.”

In April 2016, a rib­bon cut­ting cer­e­mony was held to cel­e­brate the com­ple­tion of a 4.5-acre wet­land cre­ated at the county-owned Kud­ner Prop­erty on Ben­nett Point Road. That project was com­pleted in part­ner­ship with Mid­shore River­keeper Con­ser­vancy and other en­vi­ron­men­tal groups.

Gre­gory Farley, Ch­e­sa­peake Col­lege di­rec­tor of the Cen­ter for Lead­er­ship in En­vi­ron­men­tal Ed­u­ca­tion, said it was “ab­so­lutely amaz­ing” that a search for learn­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties years ago “has turned into a search for part­ner­ships and has turned into some real progress.”

Farley said part of his job is to trans­late projects into learn­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for the stu­dents. He said fac­ulty are work­ing with him to de­sign cour­ses, such as restora­tion ecol­ogy, to fully “cap­i­tal­ize on a lot of the wa­ter­shed work that’s go­ing on all over the cam­pus.”

Other ini­tia­tives for clean en­ergy on cam­pus in­clude the devel­op­ment of an elec­tric ve­hi­cle trans­for­ma­tion pro­gram and a so­lar tele­vi­sion in­stal­la­tion pro­gram, Farley said. He said fac­ulty is work­ing to see what types of equip­ment is needed for data log­ging to see how the wa­ter­shed and wildlife re­sponds to the com­pleted projects.

“We are re­ally try­ing to lead this re­gion into to­mor­row where these things are what hap­pens her eon the shore, and what the shore does is lead the di­a­logue in these kinds of things,” Farley said.

The group aims to have the projects com­pleted by mid-2018.

Fol­low Mike Davis on Twit­ter: @mike_k­ibay­times.


Peo­ple in­flu­en­tial in the 14 projects to aid in stormwa­ter runoff and other en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues at Ch­e­sa­peake Col­lege gather to cel­e­brate the work that has been started dur­ing a cer­e­mony on June 28.


Peo­ple walk down a hill on Ch­e­sa­peake Col­lege’s cam­pus to see the cre­ation of a re­gen­er­a­tive storm con­veyance sys­tem, known as a step pool, to help stormwa­ter flow.

Queen Anne’s County Com­mis­sioner Jim Mo­ran said the county is ready for more stormwa­ter and en­vi­ron­men­tal projects to help keep the wa­ter­sheds healthy while at Ch­e­sa­peake Col­lege on June 28.

Kristin Junkin, di­rec­tor of op­er­a­tions at Mid­shore River­keeper Con­ser­vancy, spoke about the var­i­ous en­vi­ron­men­tal projects tak­ing place at Ch­e­sapaeke Col­lege on June 28.

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