EARTH DAY CLEANUPS ON THE NORTHWEST BRANCH APRIL 21, 2018

Burnt Mills site

12 volunteers plus leader Larry Hush collected 4 bags of recyclables, 6 of trash,

one truck tire tread, a large metal sign, and part of a fishing rod.  Big thanks to all who participated!  See the photo gallery below.

W. Hyattsville Metro Site

12 volunteers, 34 bags of trash, 42 of recycling, 2 bikes, 2 bike tires, 2 car tires, 1 fire hose,

an air mattress in a  tree and a stereo.   The team also found a shopping cart in the bank but could not get it out.  And leader Maurie Kathan pulled 3 bags of invasive garlic mustard.   Not a bad morning's work!  Thanks to all involved!

For more information on RainScapes

--what they are, why convert a portion of your yard, and what financial assistance is available, go to the Montgomery County RainScapes website linked here.

NNWB testimony for bills in the 2018 Maryland General Assembly

Several bills relevant to our work are in the 2018 General Assembly.  By a vote of the board, we are testifying for two: A ban on use and sale of expanded polystyrene (foam) food service products, and ban on use of state funds for synthetic playground and athletic field surfaces.

Recent Event: "Sense of Wonder" virtual bird walk, Feb. 7, 2018

A group of over 20 participants were treated to a sight-sound match of birds and their songs, along with interesting information about the birds' habits and talents.  Many of these birds are ones we can expect to see on our outdoor bird walk April 7, 9 a.m., Burnt Mills dam.

Recent Event: Rethink your Yard with Rainscapes, Mar. 7, 2018

Ann English, Rainscapes Planner for Montgomery County spoke to our group of about how to turn yards into sponges to reduce polluted runoff into our streams, and how to tap into the county's program of rebates that help offset some of the cost.

Recent Event: Exploring the African American legacy in the NWB, Mar. 17, 2018

A group of 13 explored the Underground Railroad within a remaining patch of woods along the NWB, concluding with a visit to the Sandy Spring African American Slave Museum and Art Gallery.

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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