Last Monday evening, the Watershed Stewards Academy sponsored a tour in Severna Park to provide information about the efforts of three local stewards to reduce stormwater runoff pollution in the Severn and Magothy river watersheds. Attendees included Anne Arundel County Councilman Dick Ladd, members of the Watershed Stewards Academy board of directors, and several area watershed stewards.
The tour stops featured a degraded stormwater outlet near Barrensdale Road, the rain gardens in my front yard on Lower Magothy Beach Road in Stewart’s Landing, Ann Jackson’s rain garden project on Park Drive in Olde Severna Park, and Rusty Gowland’s work in his neighborhood of Linstead.
The site on Barrensdale Drive, off of Old County Road, is a severely degraded outfall from a stormwater management pond. Stormwater has eroded a deep channel through the wooded area adjacent to the pond in which pollutant and silt laden water is eventually transported to Dividing Creek in the Magothy River watershed. A system of pools, arranged much like stair steps, is planned to help correct this situation and prevent further erosion.
After viewing the Barrensdale Drive outlet, the tour stopped at my house where I gave a brief presentation to the group describing my experience with installing the two rain gardens in my front yard. I pointed out that each rain garden captures rain water from the roofs on the front of my house which allows the water to percolate into the soil instead of running off the yard and into a nearby storm drain that empties into the Magothy River.
I also told the group that, in addition to reducing my lawn area, I had changed my fertilizing practice and was now only feeding my lawn once a year in the early fall instead of four times during the growing season as I had done for a number of years.
The next stop on the tour was the system of rain gardens and stormwater conveyances along Park Drive that are the efforts of watershed steward and Olde Severna Park resident Ann Jackson. Several years ago Jackson saw the need to reduce the amount of polluted stormwater that rushed down Park Drive and into Sullivan’s Cove during rainstorms.
By securing grant money, Jackson was able to have the gardens and conveyances designed by a landscape designer and the site work done by a landscaper. Volunteers from the Olde Severna Park Improvement Association helped with planting the sites.
At the final stop on the tour, Linstead resident and watershed steward candidate Rusty Gowland informed the group about possible solutions to reduce stormwater runoff in the neighborhood.
He identified several community property sites at street intersections that could be retrofitted with rain gardens to collect runoff thereby reducing water pollution in the Severn River. Rusty believes that with further involvement by local watershed stewards, the stormwater issues in Linstead could be successfully addressed.