In this edition of the Sassafras River News:
It was beginning to seem like spring had arrived on the Sassafras until the seasonal snow storm on March 6. The flakes were large and fluffy for a while, but the ground was warm enough for the snow to disappear by the next day. The Riverkeeper boat is scheduled for launching on Friday, March 23, and water quality sampling will begin on the Sassafras River on Wednesday, April 4th. Join me in hoping that it will be a much warmer day than the one pictured here! And I'll see you on the river!
-Capt. Emmett Duke, Sassafras Riverkeeper
Our long-awaited Swantown Creek Project is working! At a meeting of Shorewood Estates homeowners a few years ago, your Riverkeeper learned of a 4100' ravine where an enormous amount of sediment had eroded into Swantown Creek over many years. Our Restoration Specialist Josh Thompson worked with the landowner, an engineering firm, the MD Department of Natural Resources, and state and local agencies who approved the permits. Now, working with the contractor, Josh is overseeing the project.
After the 4 inch "gully washer" on Sunday, Feb. 11, Emmett and Josh took a look at the partially finished work to check for damage. Only about 125' of work had been completed, and we're happy to report that the project survived unscathed. In fact, this small segment of restored ravine prevented over 20 tons of sediment from reaching Swantown Creek.
The Importance of Trees
The importance of trees in our environment would be hard to overestimate. To help our understanding, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation has issued “Top Ten Facts about Forests in Maryland”. In the interest of brevity, here are a few of our favorites:
- Trees supply oxygen, purify air and water, reduce flooding, recharge groundwater, cool the air and surface waters, provide recreation, and increase property values (some paraphrased).
- A single acre of forest absorbs six tons of carbon dioxide and emits four tons of oxygen - enough oxygen for 18 people to breathe in a year.
- Ten mature trees help filter excess nutrients and other pollution from about 37,100 gallons of rainwater.
- Maryland lost at least 17,000 acres of forests in the past nine years to subdivisions, shopping centers, and other development.
- Maryland has a “no net loss” forest policy, which means the state should either not lose ANY forest, or the same amount of lost trees should be replanted. That isn’t happening. The current Forest Conservation Act has unintended loopholes for the people who are willing to take advantage of loopholes.
ShoreRivers has actively supported legislation to close the loopholes by more clearly defining the original intent of the Forest Conservation Act.
Help Wanted - Project Clean Stream
ShoreRivers is participating in Project Clean Stream again this year! Organized by the Alliance for the Bay, Project Clean Stream is an annual cleanup effort held all over the Chesapeake every Spring. We will have multiple shoreline cleanups throughout the Sassafras River watershed taking place on April 7th and 14th.
All volunteers are welcome, and ShoreRivers will provide all necessary supplies. Visit the Project Clean Stream website here to register for our Sassafras River events. If you’re not in the Sassafras area and would still like to participate, look for another cleanup near you! There will be over 80 cleanups taking place throughout the Bay watershed in April, with many more planned throughout the spring.
If you have any questions about the event or want to organize a shoreline cleanup of your own this year, please contact Laura Wood at firstname.lastname@example.org or 410-810-7556.