Patience and Persistence Can Help Improve Watersheds
Working through the process of a watershed improvement project can require patience and persistence.
More than a year ago, I received an email from a Severna Park neighbor asking if my experience as a member of the Watershed Stewards Academy would help him solve an erosion problem at his community beach. I quickly responded that I would be glad to help in any way possible.
Within a week of our initial contact, I visited the beach during a steady rainfall and took several pictures showing the soil erosion being caused by stormwater runoff. After we reviewed the photos and visited the site, we determined that the majority of the runoff was coming from an old storm drain outlet pipe that emptied on the property about 50 feet from the water’s edge and from stormwater that flowed across the site.
My neighbor notified the county Department of Public Works about the issue with the storm drain outlet pipe. A representative from the county inspected the situation and said the problem would soon be remedied. In a few weeks a crew arrived at the site and made repairs to outlet which stopped the soil from eroding near the pipe.
We then turned our attention to dealing with the soil erosion caused by the stormwater flowing across the property and soon discovered that this situation would require more time and effort.
Matt Ciminelli, of Ciminelli's Landscaping, visited the site with us and devised a plan to deal with the soil erosion that occurred when it rained. Within a month, Ciminelli was able to provide us with a viable solution to the erosion problem.
As a new watershed steward, I felt particularly proud that this whole situation was going to be resolved in less than six months. I was wrong. I would soon learn that even when trying to help improve the environment, patience and persistence would be needed to see the process through to completion.
While the price estimate for correcting the erosion was not a large sum of money, it was beyond the means of this small community. We soon discovered that the amount of money needed for the work could be obtained through a grant from the Chesapeake Bay Trust.
Several weeks later, we met with two representatives from the Chesapeake Bay Trust at the site. They listened intently as we described the problem and the proposed solution that had been offered. At the end of our discussion, we were encouraged to apply for a grant to fund the work.
Unfortunately, the first grant application was turned down, but we were advised to re-submit another application for review. The second application was approved and a grant was secured that would cover the cost of the landscaping needed to alleviate the stormwater runoff problem.
The process of submitting the original grant application and subsequently re-submitting a second grant application did not happen overnight. We learned that grants such as the one we were seeking are only awarded a couple of times each year and it took nearly a year for this process to be completed.
In the end, by being patient and persistent, my neighbor was able achieve his goal to correct the soil erosion problem at his community beach.