Closure of the White Oak Library canceled our April, May, and June meetings. Closure of library public rooms will continue through the end of the year because they are needed for storage as libraries rearrange themselves to keep users properly distant from each other. We are considering Zoom meetings, having now participated in two of them hosted by Friends of Sligo Creek. If you missed the 6/23 program on vegetation management and the Weed Warrior Program, you are in luck! You can still see the slides used. Scroll down below under Recent Event.
For the latest from Montgomery Park on what's opening up a little, see the COVID-19 virus update page at the button below. The long and short of it is that activities such as group cleanups are still verboten, while tennis, boating and some other activities are now allowed.
Just remember to take a bag and gloves along with you when you go for a walk in the park, and you can be a much-appreciated one-person clean-up crew! Put the trash/recycling in the new cans that have sprouted up at trailheads, or take it home with you. And remember to keep that safe distance between you and the others out on the trails. This virus is revealing itself to be a real bear, even for the young. You really don't want to get it or give it to anyone else!
Ryan Colliton is the new program manager for the Vegetation Ecology and Management Program at Montgomery Parks. Corinne Stephens is the Weed Warrior Coordinator. They presented proposed updates to the Weed Warrior program and to the 2009 vegetation management plan for parks. The presentation slides can be downloaded from the button below. Big plans are in the works for a powerful Weed Warrior program once training can again take place!
Earlier plans: the 2009 Vegetation Management Plan ; The 2013 Natural Resources Management Plan. It describes all the major habitats in the county and lists links to all the management plans (for deer and streams, for example).
At our Feb. 4 meeting, Dr. Kathleen Michels described the toxic effects of microplastic pollution on aquatic life and seabirds. Dr. Michels stressed that plastic pollution includes the broken bits and dissolved toxins from artificial turf. She displayed samples of the rug of plastic grass and the pulverized used tire crumbs that most often serve as infill for cushioning and to hold the blades up. Soccer fields contain roughly 675,000 square yards, or 40,000 pounds, of carpet with 400,000 pounds of infill. By the time the turf is too worn to use, a lot of the "grass" blades and much of the infill has already left the field and entered our waterways. But disposal of the rest is a serious problem, since it is not currently recyclable in the U.S. Other microplastics are the result of the breakdown of larger plastic objects such as our ubiquitous plastic bags.
Unfortunately, none of the bills that would have reduced plastic pollution managed to pass the shortened session of the Maryland Legislature, even the balloon release ban, which had seemed very promising. However, a similar balloon release ban is still awaiting action in the Montgomery County Council. Please let your state and county legislators know you support reducing killer plastic pollution, and we'll try again next year.
Find your legislators at MDelect.net. Use your right to be heard!
The absurdity of wasting scarce education money on these fields has been captured by the comic strip Big Nate. In case you missed it, here's the URL. https://www.gocomics.com/bignate/2020/05/08.
Rolls of syn turf taken from a Bethesda E.S. awaiting disposal...somewhere. Photo by Amanda Farber.
Chuck Kines, Montgomery County Parks Planner/Coordinator, updated us on the thinking behind the update of the Wheaton Park Master Plan. Although a regional park, Wheaton must also function as a local park, as it lies in a densely populated area. His slide presentation, downloadable below, included maps and demographics. The Parks Department is in the early stages of planning and welcomes input from park users.
Our October 1 program featured Mr. Charles Kines, AICP, CPRP, Park Planning Coordinator, who explained the Montgomery County pilot program allowing mechanized bikes and scooters on paved park trails. If you missed the program, you can find information about it on the MoCo Parks website at: Montgomery County's pilot program to allow mechanized bikes and scooters on paved park trails. You can also find the slides from Mr. Kines' presentation linked below. (Photo by Laura Turbe of a scooter abandoned beside Pine Lake in Wheaton Regional Park.)
The NNWB August meeting included reports on the beltway-I-270 expansion plan and a proposal to build a new middle school in the NWB floodplain in Hyattsville, both using Public-Private Partnerships (P3). We also discussed the Montgomery Parks pilot project to allow certain mechanized bikes and scooters on paved park trails and NNWB plans and speakers for the fall.
FEATURED SPEAKER Tiffany Boone-Hines, a Montgomery Blair High School student, spoke about her participation in One Montgomery Green's Clean Headwaters Program and what she has learned about the impact of plastics waste in marine environments through her hands-on study of the Northwest Branch and its tributaries.
Overall, plastic micro- and macro-pollution in waterways is a huge problem, and the Northwest Branch has its share of plastic waste. The team, using a sieve to isolate particles which they then viewed under a microscope, found tiny bits of plastic foam and synthetic fibers. Rather than rely on recycling plastics, we must reduce our use in the first place. It appears that our removal of all those plastic bottles and cups from the NWB has been beneficial, however, as the amount of particles in the water was not overwhelming. The slides from Tiffany's presentation can be viewed below.
One Montgomery Green is a local nonprofit fostering partnerships to support environmental sustainability and promote the development of a green economy.
October 3, 2018: A crowd of more than 20 residents heard from Ryan Butler, Principal Natural Resources Specialist at Montgomery County Parks, about deer impacts on our parks and on people. He outlined current and ongoing deer population management projects near the Northwest Branch Stream Valley and said that Northwest Branch Stream Valley Unit #4 and Sligo Creek Stream Valley Unit #5 will soon be added to Park Police-based sharpshooting operations. He stressed that before a shot is fired, the sharpshooter must track where the bullet will land and ensure there is a backstop. Participants raised the question of birth control rather than culling. This is not deemed currently feasible for such a mobile and unconstrained population. Park police telephone numbers to keep handy:
Emergencies - 301-949-3010.
Non-emergencies, i.e., to report a wounded deer, 301-949-8010.