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May 12
2015

Husband-and-wife scientists take on black muck clogging Chesapeake Bay

Posted by Caroline in Untagged 

 May 11 at 3:47 PM


Imagine a vast septic tank that was continuously filled for 200 years without ever being cleaned out. This tank contains an enormous volume of smelly, black gunk — up to 12 feet deep in some spots — that harbors harmful bacteria and suffocates most life-forms.

Welcome to the creeks of Chesapeake Bay.

Decades of work by organizations such as the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and by government agencies have dramatically reduced the amount of pollution entering the bay through its tributaries. But the Chesapeake is still clogged with millions of tons of slimy black muck — full of harmful ammonia and phosphates — that foils attempts to restore water quality and diversity of life.

A husband-and-wife science team is trying to find a way to destroy the muck, and their hoped-for solution lies at the bottom of a septic tank.

Diana Muller, director of scientific monitoring at the South River Federation in Edgewater, Md., and Andrew Muller, a professor of oceanography at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, are exploring whether a sort of dietary supplement for septic systems can digest black muck from the creeks that feed the Chesapeake.

They are using a formula similar to that of Rid-X, a blend of bacteria and enzymes that digests the sludge that builds up in septic systems over time. The bacteria include two types of microbes, nitrosomonas and nitrobacter. Nitrosomonas oxidizes otherwise harmful ammonia (plentiful in the Chesapeake’s black muck) into nitrites; then the nitrobacter converts those nitrites into nitrates, which aquatic grasses and other plants can use for growth.

“Two hundred years of clear-cutting,” Andrew Muller said, explaining the origins of the black muck. “When you clear-cut all those trees and there’s nothing holding that soil, now you have huge storms that come through over time. That sediment gets mobilized and literally cuts deep inside streams as that material moves through. . . . These creeks have got anywhere between five to 12 feet thick of this muck. This is not normal for these environments.”

The black muck fuels algae blooms that result in a largely dead ecosystem. Instead of a clean, sandy bottom with aquatic grasses, invertebrates, fish and oysters, an infected creek becomes a wasteland of mud, stench, ammonia and a few species of anaerobic bacteria.

The bay’s smaller, tidal tributaries have been overlooked in bay cleanup efforts, Diana Muller said.

“It’s always been about the James River, the Rappahannock, the major tributaries, but these smaller ones have been completely ignored and not researched at all,” she said. “If we were to take a sample, [the black muck] would look like just this black, gelatinous, mayonnaisey, high-in-hydrogen-sulfide ooze. . . . The idea is that the good bacteria, nitrobacter and nitrosomonas, eat and literally digest all the organic matter in your septic system. So if we treat this like a septic system, it should digest the organic material. So you can see, that is exactly what it is starting to do.”

The black muck does indeed appear to be disappearing from two of three 40-gallon tanks of water and mud in a lab at the Naval Academy. Tank 1 serves as a control against which the others can be compared. Tank 2 has tubes that provide aeration through the bottom of the mud. Tank 3 is receiving both aeration and large amounts of helpful bacteria.

Preliminary data gathered daily by Midshipman Annie Folkie of Charlottesville, Va., indicate that by at least one measure, the combination of aeration and bacteria is working. Four months into the study, Tank 3 has less than half of the harmful phosphates per liter than the control tank has. Tank 2 isn’t far behind Tank 3.

A sniff from each tank tells a promising story. Mud from the control tank has an unpleasant stench. No odor was detectable from the tank that received bacteria and aeration.

In a time of stagnant government grants, tackling the entire bay’s muck problem is arguably too daunting for any organization. But the South River Federation’s mission is so geographically limited — the watershed of the South River, which flows into the bay south of Annapolis — that an intensive project focused on one small branch, Church Creek, makes sense. (The federation has six employees, hundreds of volunteers and an annual budget of $1 million.)

Black muck is one of many things afflicting the Chesapeake, said Tom Horton, a professor of environmental studies at Salisbury University.

“If you were to list your bay problems, [the black muck] certainly wouldn’t make the top three, but that’s because the top three are enormous,” Horton said. “But yeah, it’s significant. For a few reasons. One, a lot of these little [tributaries] have been ignored. And two, you have a lot of people there. If you can bring the crab harvest back there, then it makes a huge difference for people living around the bay. There really isn’t one magic bullet or even five magic bullets. This seems like a smart thing to try.”

Bacteria concentration
Oysters help

Both types of bacterium that the Mullers are using are found in the bay but not normally at the high concentrations used in products such as Rid-X. They have not been genetically engineered; in other words, no corporation has an exclusive claim on their use or manufacture.

One scientist who is not involved in the project wonders how the method could be applied on a wider scale, given that the Chesapeake watershedincludes more than 150 major rivers and creeks, plus thousands of smaller tributaries. Its more than 11,000 miles of shoreline are a much more complicated system than those three experimental tanks.

“On the implementation side, how do you apply this product, and how much would it cost?” asked Jeffrey Cornwell, a research professor at the University of Maryland’s Center for Environmental Science.

“Aeration on such large scales can be quite difficult and expensive,” Cornwell said. “These experiments are fundamentally interesting and at a very early stage; a better assessment of the approach can be made after the work is published and consideration of costs and benefits are made.”

Diana Muller envisions a system of reusable flexible tubes that provide extra oxygen to the bacteria while they eat the black muck. Solar-powered generators would provide the needed electricity.

“It will be literally a half-mile of giant tubing laid six to 12 inches beneath the sediment,” she said. She estimated it would cost about $200,000 to clean up a half-mile of Church Creek. This compares favorably with the millions of dollars that it would cost to dredge out and remove the muck.

“The traditional approach would be dredging,” Horton said. “That’s hard, because where do you put [the muck]? How do you contain it? How much do you disrupt the bank [of the creek]? The idea of treating the problem in place is the way to go, if it can be done. Dredging has a lot of problems — permits required. I think it’s well-nigh impossible.

“You can quick-start — supercharge — the biological cycling by oxygenating the sediment. That’s a lot cheaper.”

If a bio-remediation project such as this worked, the dead zones in tidal creek areas might shrink. “You might see the return of some of your fish populations,” Andrew Muller said. “It also means you could start putting back those oyster populations.”

Oyster restoration has been a high-profile goal for improving the health of the Chesapeake. One oyster typically cleans seven to 10 gallons of water per day and converts excess nutrients into food for other species. But oysters are not the first step. The bivalves live on oxygenated water, which requires stream bottoms with the right balance of microbes and aquatic plants.

“That’s another part of the key to this,” Andrew Muller said. “Right now in many locations [the habitat is] just not healthy enough for oysters to get ahead of the curve. . . . They’re not really getting ahead to the point where they’re able to efficiently filter to make a huge difference. . . . This has huge implications for oyster restoration, blue crab populations, anything that seems either fixed or slow-moving.”

Dealing with the black muck is necessary to allow oysters to thrive.

“To actually improve the Chesapeake Bay in terms of restoration, what we need to do is remediate the tidal and the non-tidal areas to a point where we can reintroduce species like oysters,” Andrew Muller said. “We can’t do it backwards. We can’t put in oysters without cleaning the environment to a point where they can actually survive and thrive.”

“This is probably the only way you’re going to deal with this stuff,” Horton said, “short of waiting 300 years or so. I think they should probably go with it.”

 

Landers is a freelance writer in Charlottesville.

 See the full article at the Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/husband-and-wife-scientists-take-on-black-muck-clogging-chesapeake-bay/2015/05/11/abc97194-e784-11e4-aae1-d642717d8afa_story.html

Apr 23
2015

Article: South River still ailing but some trends pointing up

Posted by Caroline in Riverkeeper , Federation Event



The South River Federation's 2014 Report Card strikes a familiar chord.

For the most part, the river flunked.

Of the 12 parameters tested at 21 spots in the tidal part of the river (from water clarity to underwater grasses), most earned an E.

"Don't be depressed, this is actually a good thing," Riverkeeper Diana Muller said Tuesday.

There were high spots - nitrogen pollution got an A, bacteria readings a B, she said. Also, all but one of the categories are improving over last year and previous measures.

Other results from the river's 'report card' include:

•Underwater grasses were more resilient and expanding — though far from historic levels.

•Water clarity improved following a trend from 2004.

•Aquatic organisms were recovering. Atlantic Ribbed Mussels were found in Selby Bay for the first time in years. Yellow perch were spawning. Small creature and river otter populations were on the rise.

•Bacteria counts were down.

The positive nitrogen and bacteria news was due, in large part, to relatively normal rainfall in 2014. Less of those pollutants were flushed into waterways.

The only primary factor that slipped from 2013 was dissolved oxygen, only 50 percent of the samples taken in the river met the criteria set for the amount of oxygen in the water that lets fish and other creatures breathe. Last year, 60 percent met the standard.

Freshwater stream readings fared better, with 80 percent passing the 5mg per liter standard (water with less than 5mg of oxygen is unhealthy for living creatures).

By establishing data in the river's tributaries, Muller hopes to be able to indicate improvements in river health following the Federation's restoration program, particularly in Church and Broad creeks, the two most polluted in the watershed.

The organization, with money it raised from members and grants from federal, state, local and private sources, has installed $12 million in restoration work in Church Creek since 2004, most finished last year. Another $1 million of work will be completed in 2016.

In Broad Creek, about $8.5 million in projects are in the pipeline, $500,000 in projects were done last year. By mid-2016 about another $4 million worth of restoration projects will be done.

South River Federation is not acting alone. The State Highway Administration is set to begin a major restoration off Truman Parkway where both its park-and-ride lot and the Motor Vehicle Administration parking lots straddle Broad Creek.

Kirk Mantay, the federation's director of watershed restoration, said the Church Creek project might help jump start a recovery for the river.

"But we know for certain the creek is such a driver of poor river health that mathematically and statistically recovery of the river would be impossible without addressing Church Creek," he said.

Read the full report:

http://www.southriverfederation.net/index.php/our-programs/water-quality/asc

Apr 21
2015

State of the South River: Data Trending in the Right Direction

Posted by Sarah in Riverkeeper , Federation Event

State of the South River: Data Trending in the Right Direction

Annapolis, MDThe South River Federation will release their 2015 State of the South River Report Card on Tuesday, April 21, 2015 at Historic London Town and Gardens.

“While I cannot leak the specifics of the report card before it is publically presented, I will say that the data showed improvement for at least two of the parameters” Diana Muller, Director of Scientific Monitoring and RIVKERKEEPER® said.

Started in 2007, the report gives an A to E grade on 9 parameters, including water clarity, dissolved oxygen, and bacteria counts, from 22 tidal monitoring sites around the South River. For the first time, this year’s report card will also include data from 21 freshwater sites from feeder streams into the River.

“We are excited that with generous support from our donors and volunteers that we are able to double the amount of scientific monitoring for the South River and its watershed,” said Kate Fritz, the new Executive Director of the South River Federation. “Up till now, the data could only give us one half of the picture” Muller explained, “to get a more accurate picture of the health of the South River, we had to collect data from the freshwater streams that feed into the creeks of the River.”

                The Federation also uses the data collected for Operation Clearwater, a water quality monitoring program that provides communities with weekly summertime updates of the microbial water quality for beaches and waterfront recreational areas.

                “Our goal is to provide timely public health information to participating communities, and help to identify times when it may be inadvisable to swim” Fritz said. Currently, after any rainfall event, all Anne Arundel County beaches are under a no swimming and no direct water contact advisory for at least 48 hours due to predicted high bacteria levels.

                The Federation is the only non-profit whose water quality data is accepted by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Chesapeake Bay Program.

                Tuesday’s presentation will review the 2014 data collected and provide an overall grade for the entire river as well as for individual creeks.  In addition, Muller will provide analysis on the long-term trends the river is showing towards improvement.  

 

What:  Formal Presentation of the 2015 State of the South River Report Card

Who:     The meeting is open to all members and concerned citizens.  

When:   6:00 pm Appetizers and drinks  

             6:30 pm Presentation of the Report Card.

Where: Historic London Town and Gardens

             839 Londontown Road, Edgewater, MD 21037.  

RSVP:   please contact Sarah Boynton at 410-224-3802 or Sarah@southriverfederation.net.

 

For additional information on the Report Card, please contact:

        Diana Muller, Director of Scientific Monitoring and South RIVKERKEEPER®

        410-224-3802

        RiverkeeperDiana@southriverfederation.net

 

South River Federation, Inc. is a dedicated group of more than 2000 followers whose mission is to preserve, protect, restore, and celebrate the South River.  We do this through:

 

·         Large-scale restoration work

·         Monitoring and assessment

·         Advocacy and outreach

·         Community education and engagement

 

Apr 14
2015

Project Clean Stream 2015

Posted by Caroline in Pollution , Federation Event , Clean Up , Church Creek

With one small step for the South River and one giant leap for the Chesapeake Bay, Project Clean Stream 2015 was a great success! It was wonderful to see so many people willing to spend their Saturday morning picking up trash out of a stream. Almost 40 dedicated volunteers showed up to help, including families, retirees and several Gen Y volunteers. Together, they managed to pull over one ton of trash out of the ravine.

 Project Clean Stream is an annual cleanup event hosted by the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay for the past 12 years. This event brings together thousands of volunteers and spans the entire Chesapeake Bay watershed from New York all the way down to Southern Virginia.

Our stream cleanup site runs behind Bywater Mutual Homes in Annapolis off Forest Drive and flows into Church Creek, the most impaired waterway on the South River.  Over 50% of the creek’s 1,300 acre drainage basin consists of man-made hard surfaces (i.e. parking lots and roof tops). Dead zones- areas of water with no oxygen- are regularly recorded in the summer months and dangerously high bacteria levels have been recorded after major storm events.

The cleanup was a necessary step to prepare the site for the installation of a stream restoration project. The South River Federation is currently making its way through the last phases of the permitting process and hopes to complete the project before the end of 2016. 

The Federation will be restoring the floodplain by adding sand and gravel step pools throughout the length of the project to slow and cool down the water before it enters Church Creek.  The pools will help to trap and absorb the harmful sediments, excess nutrients, and toxics that currently are plaguing the creek.

In 2008, the South River Federation launched the Church Creek Initiative (CCI) to holistically address the poor water quality consistently found in the Creek.  The project for this feeder stream is one of 18 projects in the CCI including living shorelines, wetland plantings, tree buffers, rain gardens and biorention areas that the Federation has either already installed or is currently implementing around the Church Creek basin.

While not scientific, the volunteers found one dead frog and one live frog in the stream, which may very well be a good snapshot summary of the stream’s current health. For the true science, you should attend the release of the State of the South River Report Card on April 21st at 6pm at Historic London Town & Gardens in Edgewater, MD.

Thanks to the hard work of dedicated volunteers and donations from Environmental Quality Resources, CVS, The Home Depot, and Ledo’s Pizza, we are one step closer to healing Church Creek and the South River. A special thank you goes to the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay for the gloves and materials in addition to organizing this event on a Bay-wide basis.

Apr 01
2015

New Invasive Species Takes Over the South River

Posted by Caroline in Untagged 

Edgewater, MD

April 1, 2015

 

Yesterday marks the 13th sighting of the newest invasive species to call the South River its new home: the Jedi of the Sea, the narwhal.

These unicorns of the ocean are toothed whales with a large “tusk” that normally live in the Arctic waters around Greenland, Russia, and Canada. The frigid Maryland winter and frozen South River created the ideal narwhal habitat and could be the reason for the migration. Narwhals primarily consume squid, fish, and shrimp, but narwhals are gobbling up the cancerous catfish found in the headwaters of the South River. These inventors of the shish kabob travel in pods ranging in size from 10-100 individuals and communicate with one another using squeals and clicks. Several narwhals have been spotted in hot pursuit of boats, possibly mistaking the engine noises for other narwhal friends.

The Federation worked with the US Fish and Wildlife Service to create this educational video about the negative impacts from the invasion of narwhals. Scientists are rushing to develop an approach to control the alien invaders and are hoping to employ new research about the common genetic link between all invasive species. Kate Fritz, Executive Director of the South River Federation, remarked, “We urge anyone who spots a narwhal to report the sighting to our office. Although we are pleased to see we have reached a point at which we can sustain large mammals, we don’t know the impacts on the South River ecosystem.”

                Despite the fact that there are fears of this invasive species out-competing native fish, crabs, oysters, and waterfowl as well as changing natural food webs and decreasing biodiversity, narwhals could have a positive impact on the South River. Joe Smith, an Edgewater Beach resident, saw a narwhal using its horn to spear trash. “The sea rhino filled up his horn with trash from the river and then deposited it on the shoreline. I’ve filled up three bags worth of trash just today!”

Only one question remains: will the invasive narwhal actually help restore the South River? Only time will tell.

 

 

Happy April Fool’s Day!

Mar 24
2015

South River Farm Park welcomes spring, visitors

Posted by Caroline in Untagged 

Despite a chilly breeze coming off the river on Sunday, more than 100 people took advantage of an open house at South River Farm Park to take in the variety of outdoor options the Edgewater park has to offer.

Surrounded on three sides by water — Limestone Cove, Selby Bay and the South River — the county-owned park has hiking trails, a 300-yard sandy beach, two tidal ponds and more. It also is the site of a living shoreline installed in 1995 that has helped spawn the South River's largest area of underwater grasses.

Some chose to stroll along one path leading to the sandy beach area while others took a hike along the old farm road to a high knoll overlooking the South River at Mayo Point.

"The turnout was very gratifying," said Mike Lofton, the "Pied Piper" of public water access in Anne Arundel, which has more than 500 miles of shoreline.

He and other members of the Anne Arundel County Public Water Access Committee have for several years pushed county officials and other entities to provide more spots for the public to view and actively enjoy some of the water resources.

The county has committed to working toward having a public access point on both shores of the county's major rivers.

The South River Federation co-hosted the Sunday event after also working for years to get the county to open the park to visitors.

The pristine 170-acre wooded and meadowed peninsula on the South River is finally open on a regular, though limited, basis.

The park, formed over 30 years ago, will be open on non-holiday weekdays from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

South Riverkeeper Diana Muller delighted in showing off the soft shoreline the federation's John Flood and volunteers installed 20 years ago. It has helped stabilize what was an eroding shoreline and provided the habitat for the only patch of bay grasses regularly growing on the river.

Supporters hope to see the park open more often.

"The Department of Recreation and Parks operations make it difficult to use the property as a true park, but we hope to see some changes in the next couple of years to make that happen," Lofton said. "We will continue the crusade."

 

See the full article at http://www.capitalgazette.com/news/ph-ac-cn-farm-park-0323-20150322,0,1142552.story

Feb 23
2015

Guest column: Runoff fee at work across Maryland

Posted by Jennifer in Untagged 

By Kate Fritz and Michael Hollins
February 21, 2015

There is something extraordinary happening across Central Maryland, where local governments are working hard to reduce pollution and clean up their rivers, creeks and streams. The "rain tax" is working.

While opponents deride these stormwater management fee programs, local governments are putting projects in the ground that protect communities from flooding, keep pollution out of our waterways and repair out-of-date or failing drainage and sewer infrastructure.

Baltimore and Maryland's nine largest counties have federal Clean Water Act permits that require them to reduce pollution from stormwater. This is because water running off roofs, driveways, lawns and parking lots contains pollutants like motor oil, grease, lawn chemicals and pet waste. This polluted runoff enters small ditches and local waterways, making them and their parent rivers unsafe for swimming, threatening Maryland seafood and causing localized flooding and property damage.

Prince George's County has entered into a first-of-its-kind partnership with a private-sector company to design, install and maintain the county's upgraded stormwater management system. Besides bringing new jobs to Maryland, the company has also committed to using local small and minority-owned businesses for at least 35 percent of the total project.Of course, Maryland is not taxing the rain, but local governments are assessing fees on pavement and other hard surfaces. These fees enable local governments to finance and construct the repairs and restoration projects needed to stop this pollution before it causes harm to our waterways. This important work is being done by local design and construction firms, working with communities, places of worship and other partners to get projects in the ground in ways, and at a speed, that government could not achieve alone.

In Anne Arundel County, the utility fee is spawning project implementation by watershed groups like the South River Federation in partnership with private industry to design, construct and plant restoration projects at different scales. In 2015, the federation will be submitting proposals for upward of $400,000 in projects to be implemented in our communities. The sustained and predictable nature of this fee means the South River Federation and other nonprofits can do more work and engage the private sector in a more predictable way to make these local improvements with local dollars.

The fact is that community-scale watershed restoration is a new, frontier-setting field that is bringing new jobs to Maryland companies and new employees (and residents) to Maryland from other states. Engineers, horticulturalists, landscape architects and stream biologists are all working in aggressive teams to identify and install measures that reduce our impact on our local waterways.

This should be welcome news for an administration that lists jobs as a top priority and announced that "Maryland is open for business." It certainly doesn't jibe with political rhetoric to repeal the polluted runoff legislation. These are real projects and real jobs. Our economy needs more work, not more layoffs.

In the horticultural sector alone, the interest in growing and selling native plants for restoration projects has become a booming business in Maryland. The business is growing, in no small part from the projects funded by the polluted runoff fee. If Maryland is truly "open for business," then we must not close down this growing sector of our economy.

The opening days of Maryland's General Assembly session brought an optimistic tone of bipartisanship and cooperation. All Marylanders enjoy the ecological, economic and recreation benefits that the Chesapeake Bay and our local waters provide, and we should all have a role in protecting this valuable resource. Let's drop the rain tax rhetoric and let these programs do what they do best: Spur jobs that reduce pollution.


Kate Fritz is the executive director of the South River Federation. Michael Hollins is the owner of the Envirens Inc. consulting firm and Sylva Native Nursery, both based in Baltimore County.

Copyright © 2015, Capital Gazette

 

- See the full article at: http://www.capitalgazette.com/opinion/columns/ph-ac-ce-guest-column-south-river-20150221,0,4868087.story 

Jan 23
2015

Building business through restoration

Posted by Jennifer in Untagged 

By Kirk Mantay, Published in The Maryland Natural Resource Winter 2015

M aryland’s Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund works to accelerate Bay restoration by focusing limited financial resources on the most effective non-point source pollution control projects. Dollars for the Trust Fund are generated through Maryland’s motor fuel and rental car taxes. 

To date, through the Trust Fund, the State has invested roughly $6 million in improving water quality in the South River — $3.3 million of which has gone directly to reducing non-point source pollution in the Church Creek watershed. Such projects are wise investments for Maryland’s taxpayers, creating local jobs through State funding while improving our waterways. But how did this marriage get started and what do private sector businesses have to say about it?

Click here to read the article: http://dnr2.maryland.gov/Documents/natural_resource_magazine/2015/Winter/srf.pdf

Dec 31
2014

Happy Holidays from the South River Federation Team

Posted by Sarah in Untagged 

It's the final countdown!  Yes, I quoted the song title by the band Europe.  With less than 12 hours to go before the end of the year, I wanted to take the time and say thank you to each and everyone of our members, donors, volunteers, board, committees, staff, who have made this past year such a success. 
As I reflect on 2014, I realize that this year brought a lot of leadership change to the Federation.  We welcomed Kate Fritz, as our new Executive Director, we thanked four Board members for more than 30 years of collective dedication to the South River, and welcomed on four new, energetic Board members.
 
In 2014, we accomplished some amazing things, including,
  • Completing five major restoration projects in the Church Creek sub-watershed alone.
  • Planting over 11,000 native trees and shrubs.
  • Engaging over 800 volunteers watershed wide.
  • Publishing the 8th Annual South River Report Card.
We continue to maintain this success and  momentum because of your support. We have approximately $3.2 million of restoration projects ready to go in the ground in 2015, and we need your support more than ever.
 
Today I ask you to consider renewing your support and join me as a member of the South River Federation. Your gift yields a 20:1 return on investment on local, state, federal, and private grant money that goes directly into scientific monitoring and restoration projects in the South River watershed.
 
From the South River Federation, we wish you a prosperous and healthy new year.  I look forward to seeing each of you in 2015!
Sep 29
2014

AARP Rescues a Rain Garden

Posted by Jennifer in Untagged 

Did you know there is a big rain garden at the Annapolis-Eastport Library?  If you didn’t, we can’t blame you.  The garden was incredibly overgrown and a bit off the beaten path.  Once we learned about the garden and found out about how badly the garden needed maintained, we knew we had to act!

Last year, a volunteer group from the National Aquarium in Baltimore came down for a day and started to clear out invasive plants.  But there was plenty more work to be done!  Thanks to a hard working crew from AARP, we were able make the rain garden look much more like, well, a garden.

Volunteers started by clearing out invasive brush from the rock-lined swale and trimming back the aggressive blackberry.  After a significant amount of brush was cleared, volunteers mulched the berm, parts of the garden, and a path around the garden.  To help keep down the invasive herbaceous layer, AARP volunteers planted dozens of native flowers, shrubs, and trees.  Over time, as the trees and shrubs grow larger, they will crowd out the invasive plants making it more and more difficult for them to grow.  Our hope is that we can create a beautiful native shrub garden over time.

The rain garden will continue to need weeding over time so if you live in the area and are interested in adopting this project, please contact Jennifer at jennifer@southriverfederation.net.  We cannot thank AARP enough for their help and for continuing to volunteer with us every year on September 11th!  Thank you!

 

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