Check out the most recent Sassafras Update here!
ARE YOU BAY-WISE?
SRA Membership Meeting April 30, 2013 7-8:30 PM
Thanks to all who attended! If you could not attend the meeting, but are interested in learning about how to get your yard certified bay-wise, give the SRA office a call at (410) 275-1400.
We know from the Sassafras Watershed Action Plan that nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment are the 3 primary pollutants on the Sassafras! Sewage treatment plants, septic systems, urban/suburban runoff, agriculture and emissions from automobiles and power plants are all sources of pollution.
In a typical year, heavy spring rains wash these pollutants into the Sassafras where they contribute to algal blooms. Once the algae blooms die, the oxygen in the water is reduced enough to create dead zones. This negatively affects rockfish, crabs, oysters, and other creatures in the Chesapeake Bay.
Sabine Harvey, Master Gardener for the Maryland Bay-Wise Program, teaches home- and landowners ways to promote better water quality by decreasing the amount of pollutants running into the Sassafras. Sabine will tell us about three ways to get your yard or landscape certified Bay-Wise: Landscapes with Lawns, Landscapes without Lawns, and Vegetable Gardens.
A Chilly Paddle Over to the Heron Rookery- Check out the video for the March 23 trip!
Click here to check out one of the Waterkeeper® Alliance's Featured Waterkeepers, our very own Sassafras Riverkeeper®, Captain Emmett Duke!
*Thank you for your support at the 2/19 Cecil County public hearing on SB 236!*
On 2/19 SRA staff, board members, members, and friends represented the Sassafras River at the Cecil County Council public hearing on the Sustainable Growth and Agricultural Preservation Act, or SB 236. Sassafras Riverkeeper® Emmett Duke, SRA Board President Ken Shumaker, and the Honorable Wayne Gilchrest gave statements at the hearing. SRA Agricultural Outreach Coordinator Josh Thompson also gave a rebuttal to a statement made earlier in the evening regarding septic systems. Two of the transcripts can be read here:
To comply with SB 236, Cecil County submitted a "tier map" to the state in December 2012. The Maryland Department of Planning responded with comments explaining how the map does not comply with the law or Cecil County's Comprehensive Plan. You can view the comments here.
Thank you to everyone who attended the hearing, spoke at the hearing, and/or submitted comments to the Council letting them know you support a revised map that will protect open space and agriculture along the Sassafras and the water quality of the tributaries and river itself!
We will continue to update you on this issue as it progresses- check back soon for updates!
SRA on YouTube
Hot off the press! Chesapeake Bay Crab Challenge children's book featuring the Sassafras RIVERKEEPER!
Stop by Sassafras River Association's office to pick up a copy of the newly published Chesapeake Bay Crab Challenge, an illustrated children's book featuring the Sassafras Riverkeeper! The $10 book describes a boy's journey searching for his lost pet crab throughout the Chesapeake Bay region, including Chesapeake Beach, Chestertown, Chesapeake City, and even on the Sassafras RIVERKEEPER boat on the Sassafras River.
Stop by the office 9am-5pm to get your copy! The SRA office is located at 7479 Augustine Herman Highway, Georgetown, MD
Breaking Ground on the Crawford Farm Vertical Flow Treatment Wetland
On October 3, 2012 SRA broke ground on the vertical flow treatment wetland on the Crawford Farm in Cecil County. This innovative wetland is located downstream from a concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) and is designed to capture sediment and remove nutrients before directing the flow back to the natural stream.
The practice will be the first of its kind to capture and treat both surface
stormwater from the CAFO and groundwater from surrounding crop
fields. It is our firm belief that this innovative practice will, through
rigorous monitoring, be proven effective and then replicated across the
Chesapeake Bay region in an effort to meet Bay Program water quality
goals. The project is made possible through funding from the National
Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Chesapeake Bay Trust and 2013
Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund.
Traditional septic systems do not remove nitrogen and deliver about 30 pounds of nitrogen per year to groundwater - new systems can cut nitrogen loads in half. Residents of Cecil County are currently eligible to receive funding for septic system upgrades to a nitrogen removing system. Anyone interested in upgrading their septic may be eligible to apply, and funding is available to those with failing systems both in and out of the critical area (land within 1,000 feet of tidal waters), as well non-failing systems within the critical area.
The Bay Restoration Fund provides money to counties to help Marylanders install nitrogen removing systems, and these funds are generated through local flush taxes. Without this funding, installation of a nitrogen removing system would typically cost a homeowner approximately $15,000. The Bay Restoration Fund is on going. Contact Cecil County's Department of Health to inquire about upgrading your septic system, and to apply for funding.
To view some frequently asked questions about the Bay Restoration Fund and septic upgrades, click here.
To print an application form, click here.
Cecil County: Frederick von Staden, Acting Director of Environmental Health 410-996-5160 or email@example.com
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