Volunteer Appreciation Event June 26, 2015
GVC celebrated its appreciation of its Volunteer Leaders at its annual Volunteer Appreciation Event, held at Gunpowder Falls State Park-Hammerman area on June 26, 2015. Volunteers and GVC board and staff enjoyed a gorgeous evening on the water in kayaks and canoes after feasting together on a variety of picnic foods and grilled burgers and hotdogs. The celebration included raffle prizes for our stream, tree planting, Clear Creeks, Jennifer Branch, and trail maintenance volunteer leaders as small tokens of appreciation for their outstanding leadership for 700 volunteers contributing 2,250 volunteer hours, and for their committment to the GVC and our environment! Thank you GVC/Clear Creeks Project Volunteer Leaders!!
Click HERE to see photos from the Event.
Green Thumbs for Clear Creeks!
Free Community Garden Tour on June 28 to Showcase Bay-Wise Practices
Clear Creeks Project Bay-Wise Steward Sue Kane has been cultivating a green thumb since the age of six, when she first earned a nickel for tending the family garden. As her skill improved, so did her wage, and she was eventually raised to ten cents.
“I’ve been gardening ever since,” said the life-long practitioner.
Now semi-retired, Kane has been putting her love of gardening to work for cleaner community waterways and a healthier Chesapeake Bay. She will be one of the volunteer Bay-Wise Stewards on hand to help their fellow Middle River residents learn to do the same at the Clear Creeks Project Community Garden Tour on Sunday, June 28 from 2:00-4:00 pm.
The free tour will include four stops in Middle River and feature various types of bay-friendly gardens, including residential bayscape, edible bayscape, and rain gardens, as well as a community bayscape in Miramar Landing that helps filter and absorb storm water from over two acres of open space.
Pretty and practical, “conservation gardens” like these are specifically designed to help control storm water runoff and support healthy landscapes. They are planted with flowers and shrubs native to the region. Native plants tend to require less watering and fertilizing while providing much needed food and shelter to local birds, bees and butterflies.
In addition to visiting each garden, tour attendees will receive simple tips and advice about bay-friendly lawn and garden practices and learn about having their properties Bay-Wise certified through the Baltimore County Master Gardener’s free Maryland Bay-Wise Yardstick program.
Helping residents to get their properties Bay-Wise certified has been a central goal of the Clear Creeks Project, which is a community based initiative that seeks to address residents’ desire for improved water clarity in the creeks and rivers of the Bird River, Middle River and Tidal Gunpowder watersheds.
To become Bay-Wise certified, a homeowner fills out a yard certification application with a possible 82 points. Points are awarded for an array of bay-friendly lawn and gardening practices, like installing a bird bath, applying mulch, or planting a conservation garden. A landscape needs 36 points to be certified Bay-Wise, and the process can prove educational.
“On the face of it, the Bay-Wise certification document can look complicated,” says Leslie Erickson, the Bay-Wise Committee Chair for the Baltimore County Master Gardeners, “but what people find is that it’s easy and fun.”
After having her property Bay-Wise certified last fall, Sue Kane decided to enroll in training to become a Baltimore County Master Gardener, (application process now underway for Fall of 2015), and to volunteer as a Clear Creeks Project Bay-Wise Steward.
“For me, having grandkids is part of it. I want to be able to help save what we have. People say, ‘I’m only one person.’ But you take that one and this one, and now you’ve got two. Everything we do can make a difference,” Kane said.
If you would like to tour Bay-friendly gardens and /or learn about steps you can take in your own backyard to make a difference in the health of the Bay, register for the Clear Creeks Garden Tour with Project Steward Dan Doerfer at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Project website at www.clearcreeks.org. And if you would like information about becoming a Baltimore County Master Gardener (BCMG), contact BCMG Coordinator Anna Glenn at email@example.com.
Clear Creeks: Our Water, Our Heritage, Our Pride is funded through grants from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Chesapeake Bay Trust, Baltimore County Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability, Baltimore Gas and Electric, and Gunpowder Valley Conservancy.
GVC Spring 2015 Newsletter
Bird River Volunteers Victory
Bird River volunteers recently won an astounding nine-fold improvement in the quality of construction site mud pollution control in their watershed. Now they’re going after the next major sources of Bird River pollution. To learn more, including how you can become one of these highly-effective volunteers or do the same in your watershed, join us on Wednesday, January 21st, 7:00 PM at the Perry Hall Library, 9685 Honeygo Boulevard, Perry Hall, MD 21128. For further detail see the article posted at cedsnews.com or contact Janet Terry at 410-335-8915 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also learn more about the Clear Creeks Project and its current events at the project display table manned by Peg Perry, Clear Creeks Project Manager. You may also contact Peg at email@example.com.
ALJ Opinion and Order Received
Dear Clear Creeks Friends and Partners,
The Baltimore County administrative law judge has issued a ruling on the Outlet Mall project
at Nottingham Ridge. (see link to opinion and order below).
While he is not requiring compliance with 2007 ESD (Environmental Site Design) standards,
his is requiring the Outlet Mall developer to meet the 2000 Maryland Stormwater Design Manual
standards. Previous storm water plans for the site did not even meet the 2000 manual standards.
This means a 50% reduction in pollution loads compared to what was proposed.
Richard Klein from Community Environmental Defense Services stated in an email today that
"we get 70% of the nitrogen reduction that would have been achieved with full ESD compliance.
In other words, this is far more than a token effort".
This is a significant improvement over what was originally required of the developer and a victory
for White Marsh Run, Bird River and the Chesapeake Bay!
Clear Creeks Project- See Your Feets in Our Creeks!
Click HERE to see Opinion and Order
East County Times Story on Clear Creeks Tree Planting:
See Digital Edition online at
Clear Creeks Accomplishments 2013
Clear Creeks Community Leaders Recognized
Posted by Christine Potts , January 28, 2014 at 09:17 PM
Dan Doerfer, “Clear Creeks Community Leader of the Year,” believes that “Each of us has something to contribute that will make a lasting difference in the health of our rivers and the Chesapeake Bay.”
When it comes to restoring clear creeks, “All it takes is one person to act with commitment for others to see the benefit and follow suit,” says Clear Creeks Project Manager Peggy Perry.
Clear Creeks: Our Water, Our Heritage, Our Pride is the community-based, grant-funded initiative to help restore water clarity to the creeks and rivers of the Middle River and Tidal Gunpowder watersheds. As the Project embarks on a second year, seven Middle River residents were honored with Clear Creeks Community Leadership Awards for their outstanding efforts in helping to promote water restoration practices in the Project’s pilot neighborhoods of Bowley’s Quarters, Hawthorne and WilsonPoint.
WilsonPoint resident Dan Doerfer was named “Clear CreeksCommunity Leader of the Year.” Environmental chairperson for the Wilson Point Civic Improvement Association, Doerfer contributed countless hours of service to all aspects of the Clear Creeks Project during its first year. He planted trees, cleaned creeks, attended meetings, coordinated workshops, wrote newsletter articles, sent event invitations, and made recruitment calls. He even helped install the Project’s first rain barrel at his neighbor’s waterfront home on Middle River.
“I imagine a day when you might be able to see a crab or fish swimming by just three or four feet below the surface and how wonderful it would be for area creeks and rivers to be that clear again. That idea inspires and motivates me,” Doerfer says.
Also recognized were Bowley’s Quarters residents Rich Pitz, Allen Robertson and Janet Walper; Hawthorne resident Doug Tomecek; and WilsonPoint residents Bob Nevrly and Ernie Ritchey, who each received Clear Creeks Community Leadership Certificates for mobilizing their neighbors to attend various workshops and events.
Among their numerous efforts, Pitz organized a Clear Creeksrain barrel workshop at the Bowley’s Quarters Improvement Association; Robertson hosted a Clear Creeks edible landscape garden installation workshop at his home, prompting several neighbors to install gardens that help reduce storm water run-off on their own properties; and in her capacity as then president of the Bowley’s Quarters Community Association, Walper provided organizational assistance and community recruitment for the Project’s initial kickoff event at Marshy Point Nature Center in January of 2013.
A long-time organizer of annual Hawthorne waterway clean-ups, Tomecek officially adopted Cow Pen Creek as part of the Clear Creeks stream adoption program, recruiting some 200 volunteers for the 2013 spring and fall creek clean-ups. Nevrly and Ritchey hosted both a Clear Creeks rain garden installation workshop and a Bay Wise certification party in addition to becoming Clear Creeks Bay Wise Stewards, project ambassadors who educate their neighbors about Clear Creeksevents and bay-friendly gardening practices.
Perry says, “All of these incredible community and resident leaders have helped to motivate and serve as examples to others to do their part in reducing polluted runoff to local creeks and the Bay.”
With ongoing grant funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Chesapeake Bay Trust, Baltimore County Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability, and the Gunpowder Valley Conservancy, Clear Creeks: Our Water, Our Heritage, Our Pride will expand its efforts into more Middle River and Tidal Gunpowder neighborhoods for the 2014 calendar year, continuing to inform residents about steps they can take to reduce the amount of dirt and unwanted debris washing into local waterways.
For a full calendar of Clear Creeks events for 2014, visit the Project website at www.clearcreeks.org or contact Christine Potts at firstname.lastname@example.org.
GVC Fall 2014 Newsletter
Capturing Rain and Promoting Restoration:
Clear Creeks Rain Gardens Help Control Runoff
“The more I’m here, the more I want to make sure I’m green,” asserts Bob Nevrly as he surveys Stansbury Creek from the vantage point of his waterfront garden and sun swept pier. Nevrly purchased the Wilson Point property with Ernie Ritchey in 2004. Since then, the two have taken their premises from concrete-crazy to Bay-friendly with a shared eye for beauty and ecological commitment to clear creeks. “When you walk through the front door and see water out the window,” Ritchey explains, “you immediately relax.”
Workshop leader and Gunpowder Valley Conservancy’s rain garden expert, Jack Leonard explained how rain gardens are specifically designed to catch, absorb and filter storm water that flows off of hard, impervious surfaces like roofs, roads, sidewalks and driveways. At minimum, rain gardens are meant to catch the first inch of storm water run-off, which always contains the greatest concentration of pollutants.
And yet, not every yard is an optimal site for a rain garden. Size, design and placement of garden bed is specific to each property’s topography and soil infiltration, so yards must be assessed before any eventual planting takes place. For eligible Middle River and Tidal Gunpowder residents however, Clear Creeks fully covers assessment and design as well as80% of installation costs through funding provided by National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Chesapeake Bay Trust, Baltimore County Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability, and the Gunpowder Valley Conservancy.
Nevrly and Ritchey aren’t just happy with the rain garden results, “I love it!” Nevrly exclaims. They are also pleased with the degree of preservation awareness that Clear Creeks is bringing the community. As elementary educator Nevrly explains, “For me, it’s about education. We have a responsibility living on the water. I tell my students that we need to care for it because what we do affects other species.”
And the herons, ospreys, and eagles that the couple sees through their windows, the crabs they harvest off their pier, not to mention their chocolate labs, Boris and Natasha, who dive, dunk and swim the creek along with them—would all certainly agree.
For more information on rain gardens and other bay-friendly gardening practices, visit www.clearcreeks.org and/or contact Peggy Perry, Clear Creeks Project Manager of the Gunpowder Valley Conservancy at email@example.com.
Beauty and the Feast: Clear Creeks Project Brings Edible Landscapes to Middle River
The Gunpowder Valley Conservancy program aims to reduce stormwater runoff by planting gardens.
By Christine Potts, Assistant Project Manger of Clear Creeks: Our Water, Our Heritage, Our Pride (Gunpowder Valley Conservancy)
Posted by Marge Neal (Editor), July 2, 2013 at 08:00 am
With heartfelt purpose and civic determination, the lifelong Middle River resident is partnering with Clear Creeks: Our Water, Our Heritage, Our Pride, a citizen-based, grant-funded initiative that helps fulfill a community desire to restore the clarity of Middle River and Tidal Gunpowder waters.
In addition to getting his existing property certified “BayWise” through a Clear Creeks partnership with the Baltimore County Master Gardeners, Robertson became the first resident to apply for and receive a Clear Creeks edible landscape. On the day of the installation, he opened up his home for a hands-on workshop concerning the successful design and ecological benefits of edible landscapes.
Not just your garden variety vegetable patch, an edible landscape is a carefully designed bed of edible and ornamental flowering trees and native plants, all working together to increase rainwater absorption, attract bees and butterflies, and provide food for people and pollinators.
Clear Creeks Edible Landscape Specialist Patty Ceglia explained the theory to an assembly of neighbors and workshop participants.
"We use stormwater management to produce food," she said. "It’s productive, it’s ecological, it’s beneficial, and it’s easy to maintain."
The installation of an edible landscape is also dramatically reduced in price for residents of the Middle River and Tidal Gunpowder watersheds. Through grant funding from National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Chesapeake Bay Trust, Baltimore County Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability and the Gunpowder Valley Conservancy, Clear Creeks covers 80 percent of design, labor and material costs for eligible residents.
A semi-retired financial advisor, Robertson left Hawthorne for Bowleys Quarters in the late 1980s when he purchased a relative’s shore shack on Galloway Creek. Thus began an expansive renovation of house, grounds and pier that continues to this day with the addition of his Clear Creek’s cherry tree guild and blueberry garden.
After serving participants a homemade lunch of crab soup, iced tea, and sundaes with all the fixings, Robertson spoke of his community association’s partnership with Clear Creeks.
"We encourage members and citizens to participate," he said. "It’s a great deal for the community. They get a subsidized garden while minimizing runoff and protecting the Bay. That’s what we encourage—conservation of land and maintaining the rural character of the area."
Edible landscapes are a bountiful way for Robertson and his neighbors to practice preservation, according to Ceglia.
"I like working with homeowners to create change one house at a time,” she said. "Taking action, taking responsibility is just a lot of fun."
Click HERE to see the Beauty and the Feast site
Rain barrel beauty
Clear Creeks Project’s inaugural installation – and 59 more barrels to go!
By Christine Potts Gunpowder Valley Conservancy
Longtime resident of Wilson Point, Peggy Pierson recalls days in Middle River when clear creeks were as commonplace as home cooking.
“When I first moved here, I could stand at the edge of the seawall, look over and watch a crab slough: grab it, bring it in, and fry it up for my husband.”
Today’s Middle River and Tidal Gunpowder creeks may not enjoy that same degree of water clarity, but residents throughout the watershed are still firmly committed to the beauty of their communities and the pride of their heritage.
As Mrs. Pierson explains, “It’s heaven down here.”
And to keep it that way, residents are taking part in Clear Creeks: Our Water, Our Heritage, Our Pride, a citizen-based, grant-funded initiative that helps answer a community desire to restore the water quality of the Middle River and Tidal Gunpowder creeks and rivers that have brought such joy for so many years.
“A bride of 18,” Mrs. Pierson first moved to Wilson Point in 1949. Through the years, she raced and served on committees for sailboating: “I still sit on my deck and watch the sailboats race.” And right next door, where her in-laws once lived, is the home of her son Charles Sparwasser, who was in attendance at the installation of his mother’s rain barrel, the very first of the two-year project.
And what a rain barrel it is. Custom painted by artist Andrea Huppert Soukup, the design pays homage to Pierson’s fondness for blue herons:.“I watch blue herons walking up the pier every morning. I love them.”
Mrs. Pierson was likewise pleased with Soukup’s skillful rendering of colors, “Perfect,” Pierson exclaimed, “It matches perfectly.”
A Glen Arm resident, Soukup spent many happy hours as a girl out on the creeks in a Sunfish sailboat. She has fond memories of her grandfather’s Middleborough shore house where a favorite summer game was to swim underwater “with your eyes wide open and grab each other by the ankles.”
Although no single rain barrel can bring back the pristine underwater views that Pierson and Soukup remember, rain barrels play an integral role in controlling unfiltered stormwater runoff that causes stream erosion and water pollution.
Clear Creeks Project Manager Peggy Perry explains that in combination with watershed restoration efforts across the region, rain barrels make “a big impact.”
With grant-funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Chesapeake Bay Trust, Baltimore County Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability, and Gunpowder Valley Conservancy, the Clear Creeks Project seeks to install 60 rain barrels throughout the Middle River and Tidal Gunpowder watersheds.
Mrs. Pierson intends to use the rain barrel water she collects for her flowers. She summed up her newly installed barrel with a sparkle in her smile, “I’ll be the talk of the neighborhood.”
(Christine Potts is the assistant project manager, Clear Creeks: Our Water, Our Heritage, Our Pride, for the Gunpowder Valley Conservancy)
Rain Barrel Workshop coming up
A free Rain Barrel Workshop will be June 29 at the Bowleys Quarters Improvement Association.
For information on this and other Clear Creeks workshops as well as free services and cost-share opportunities on a variety of Bay-friendly gardening practices, visit the website atwww.clearcreeks.org and/or contact Peggy Perry of the Gunpowder Valley Conservancy firstname.lastname@example.org.
Clear Creeks Project gets its feet wet with kickoff event
By Anna Renault The Avenue Staff | Posted: Tuesday, March 5, 2013 11:57 am
Gunpowder Valley Conservancy’s Clear Creeks Project, a two-year project to improve the quality of water in the Middle River Watershed, was kicked off Saturday by a gathering at the Marshy Point Nature Center.
An enthusiastic audience of local residents gathered for the event, which included workshops and brief introductions to Bay-Wise Landscapes, Bayscape Gardens/Buffers, Adopt-A-Creek/Stream Watch, Rain Gardens, Rain Barrels, Native Plants, Edible Gardens, and Composting.
These introductory workshops gave participants an idea of what to expect at more in-depth workshops which area scheduled over coming months.
Using grant funds from the Baltimore County Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability, the Chesapeake Bay Trust and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the project is responding to the Middle River Small Watershed Action Plan that was produced in 2011/2012 – that plan gave the Middle River Watershed a D-minus report card grade for water quality.
Storm drain identification, tree plantings and many shoreline clean-ups as well as other activities will be included in the project.
The Clear Creeks Project formed several committees following January’s initial meeting at Wilson Point Volunteer Fire Hall.
The project will begin its focus in Hawthorne, Wilson Point and Bowleys Quarters before expanding to the entire Middle River watershed later this summer.
All 15 sub-watersheds are included in the grant proposal.
Some cost sharing is also included in providing assistance with rain gardens, edible gardens, and rain barrels.
Free yard assessments are expected to be offered by a certified landscaper and Master Gardener.
Click HERE to see photos of the Kickoff Event.