July 2020 Newsletter
The Gunpowder River is a treasure to us all. From brook trout to rockfish, the Gunpowder sustains a rich variety of wildlife as it flows from the hilly Piedmont of northern Baltimore County down to the sandy shores of the Chesapeake Bay. Home to Prettyboy and Loch Raven Reservoirs, the Gunpowder watershed also sustains us by supplying over 60% of the greater Baltimore area’s drinking water supply.

For 31 years, the Gunpowder Valley Conservancy (GVC) has preserved the character, history and environmental integrity in the Gunpowder watershed.  It is with a heavy heart that we decided to cancel our annual fall fundraiser due to COVID-19.

The outdoors has brought solace to many during the COVID-19 pandemic, whether it be a hike through the forest or a much-needed respite sitting along the river. It is crucial that we continue our work to preserve the Gunpowder’s natural beauty for future generations. That is why we are  excited to offer you this opportunity to sponsor our 2020 activities.

Stay tuned for next month's e-newsletter when we announce more details about our Explore the Gunpowder Watershed challenge! We envision this as a fun activity to encourage people to visit local parks and trails while also learning more about the Gunpowder's environment and history.
Best of all, your donation will go even farther this year! The CARES Act allows all taxpayers to deduct up to $300 in charitable gifts on their 2020 tax return if they are not itemizing deductions. Thank you in advance for supporting GVC, your local land trust and watershed organization!
Making a Deeper Impact on Stormwater Runoff at Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Despite the challenges of COVID-19, GVC has been able to continue with plans to treat more of the stormwater runoff on the Our Lady of Mount Carmel campus (OLMC) in Essex. This year, our impact is going deeper (literally) with the installation of two microbioretention practices (MBRs) in the back corner of the campus's parking lot!

MBRs can be described as "rain gardens on steroids"---they are engineered to treat larger volumes of runoff and help infiltrate stormwater through greater depths and layers of gravel in addition to the rain garden-like top layer of native plants. We look forward to sharing more photos next month of the completed practice.

Interested in seeing what a Bay-Wise church campus looks like? We'll be offering two free workshops at OLMC in August. Space is limited to 10 participants (including staff) so make sure to reserve your spot!

Importance of Pollinators
It's the time of year when many of our Bayscapes and rain gardens are buzzing with insect activity. We recently asked local pollinator scientist and educator, Jody Johnson, for her thoughts about the impact of pollinator decline :
"We will face much higher prices in food. Meat will be more costly because it is higher on the food chain. Pollinator decline will lead to a diminished choice of fruits and vegetables. Berries, nuts, coffee, and spices are examples of food staples that rely on pollinators. Humans would need to learn how to hand pollinate all insect-pollinated crops. This could cascade into larger humanitarian problems such as homelessness, hunger, and deforestation of woodlands."
Thankfully there are steps we can take to improve pollinator health in our communities. Visit the GVC's Native Plant page for plant suggestions and local resources for incorporating pollinator-friendly plants in your yard.

Update : If you haven't already heard, there are reports of Maryland residents receiving unsolicited seed packages from China. Please visit the Maryland Department of Agriculture's web page for more instructions. There are, among other factors, ecological implications of planting seeds from unknown origins.