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Help Our Cause

Your participation and generous contributions will enable us to improve the health of the Northwest Branch!  Membership levels:

Salamander Saver - $20

Wood Frog Friend (and joint)- $35

Brook Trout Backer - $50

Kingfisher Keeper - $100

Great Blue Heron Hero - $250

ALL donations are appreciated!

Pay with PayPal or a debit/credit card

Upcoming Events

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FALL 2019 Northwest Branch CLEANUPS

Thanks to all who helped at the 9/29 Lamberton Tributary (see pictures on the Events page), and the Burnt Mills cleanups on 10/5 and 10/26, and the 11/2 and 11/9 cleanups in Prince George's County!  Results and pictures are on the Events page.  The More Info button will get you there.  


FALL 2019 MEETING SCHEDULE

All meetings at White Oak Library, 11701 New Hampshire Ave., Silver Spring, 7:30 - 9:00 p.m.

  • Tuesday, December 3: MoCo Parks Dept. Chuck Kines returns to share information on the Wheaton Regional Park master plan.

Watch the salt! On your street and in your drinking water?

A long message about road salt

How soon after a snowstorm do we expect our local roads to be passable, and major roads to be at speed?  We're an impatient people, anxious to get on with our business, but at what cost to our plants, wildlife, and water?  

  

What's the problem?

As winter snow melts, stormwater carries accumulated salt into stormdrains and lakes, ponds, drinking water reservoirs and streams. Road salt and sand in our waterways: 

  • Threatens aquatic life sensitive to salt levels.
  • Infiltrates groundwater, which can then flow into surface water.
  • Leaches into the ground and changes the soil composition,      making it hard for plants to survive.
  • Damages vegetation and soils along the shoulders of roads, causing erosion.
  • Deteriorates paved surfaces, buildings and infrastructure. Rusts rebar, which expands, cracking the surrounding concrete.
  • Clogs stormwater catch basins and fills streambeds, causing the potential for flooding. 
  • Accumulates in drinking water reservoirs near highways      and salt storage areas. Sodium contributes to cardiovascular, kidney and liver diseases and is directly      linked to high blood pressure. Chloride can add a salty taste to water and corrode pipes. 


What can we do?


  • Clear walkways and other areas before the snow turns to ice and reduce the need for chemical deicers.
  • Track the weather and only apply deicers when a storm is imminent. If a winter storm does not occur, sweep and store it for later use.
  • Only use deicers in critical areas and apply the least  amount necessary to get the job done. A cupful should well cover the      sidewalk.
  • Store deicing materials in a dry, covered area to prevent runoff.
  • Reduce salt use by adding sand for traction, but take care to avoid clogging storm drains. 
  • If your source of drinking water is from your own private well, avoid applying salt near the well head.
  • Don’t use urea-based fertilizers as melting agents.  Runoff can increase nutrient pollution.
  •  Use calcium magnesium acetate instead of salt.  
  •  If you see piles of salt left from Montgomery County's salt trucks, CALL 311 and the county will come pick it up.
  • And finally, unless you're urgently needed at work (doctor, for instance), how about just enjoying the snow for a while before hitting the roads?  Then the road crews will have time to do a more careful, less salty, job.
  • Your thoughts and suggestions?

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Video

In just 7 minutes 4 seconds, here's the Northwest Branch and what we do.  Check it out.  Then join us.  The more people are engaged, the more we all can accomplish!  Special thanks to John Sullivan for creating this video! 

Fun in the Outdoors