MEETINGS ARE SUBJECT TO LIBRARY CLOSURE, CURRENTLY THROUGH APRIL.
STATEMENT FROM MONTGOMERY COUNTY PARKS
Due to ongoing health and safety concerns for the COVID-19 virus, effective March 19, 2020, Montgomery Parks is cancelling all public and private events and closing all park facilities to the public through April 30. We apologize for the inconvenience but the safety of our customers, the public, and staff are our number one priority.
This closure applies to all entities operating on parkland and to all of our volunteer cleanups taking place in March and April. We are working closely with state and county health officials to coordinate next steps and will share the latest developments on our website at https://www.montgomeryparks.org/covid-19/.
We always appreciate help keeping the parks and streams clean. While group cleanup projects are currently suspended anyone visiting a park who wants to help out by doing some individual cleanup work by picking up trash while they are there is welcome to do so. Any trash collected should be placed in the appropriate cans in the park or taken with them for disposal and everyone should maintain appropriate social distancing techniques. We can supply bags and gloves for these individual cleanups.
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!
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.
July 1, 2018: An enthusiastic team of five volunteers led by board member Maurie Kathan removed 9 bags of trash and 8 of recyclables from the stream and banks of the NW Branch behind the Metro station. Many thanks to those who braved the very warm morning to improve the health and beauty of the Northwest Branch!
Chris Lewis, Professional Horticulturist and manager of the garden shop at Behnkes, showed pictures and discussed the attributes of plants that do well in soggy sites.