Sustainable Frederick County
Winter 2020
An aerial view of the Point of Rocks stream restoration project.
The Benefits of Stream Restoration
Restoring our water resources is necessary for the Chesapeake Bay's recovery and for improved stream and river health in Frederick County. A stream restoration project is designed to improve unstable stream channels that have lost the ability to provide erosion control, habitat, flood management and pollution contro l.  

The Point of Rocks community was impacted by the flood waters of the Potomac River in 1996 when two “100-year floods” flooded several homes.  Since then the area has seen ever-increasing precipitation event frequencies and intensities. In 2013, the County was notified by residents of drainage issues and increased flooding in the area. The County conducted a drainage study of the watershed. The study determined that increased stormwater runoff has caused large amounts of erosion along streambanks affecting both private and County-owned properties. Prior to the restoration project at Point of Rocks, the vertical stream banks were over 20 feet high and provided a significant amount of sediment into the stream channel. Large trees had been undermined, and in some cases had fallen, causing additional harm to neighboring trees. The increased flows and erosion were threatening community infrastructure.  

Restoration projects begin with a Watershed Assessment that analyzes existing conditions, identifies priority areas for restoration, prioritizes restoration projects to address target pollutants, develops cost estimates for implementation, proposes a schedule for implementation, discusses education and outreach opportunities, and establishes a process for monitoring and measuring project success. Utilizing project details and overall project constructability, these sites are ranked and prioritized to achieve cost-effective water quality improvements. Visual assessments of these projects assist field crews to document the severity of stream bank erosion, lack of instream habitat for aquatic organisms, how often a stream can access its floodplain, and the absence or degradation of riparian buffers. 

Sometimes, mature trees are lost during restoration. In some instances this is because tree roots are severely undermined by the stream. Exposed tree roots can eventually cause trees to die or be vulnerable to high winds and fall into the streams. This can block water flow or create potentially unsafe situations by falling uncontrolled onto a nearby trail or neighboring private structure. Streams with vertical banks are restored through grading back to an angle that allows vegetation to grow and the stream to have access again to its floodplain. This helps the water in the stream to spread out and slow down during storm events. Laying back banks can result in existing loss of trees, however, the project team evaluates tree health versus the risks of not performing the work, and minimizes any impacts. We focus heavily on ecosystem restoration as well as pollutant removal in our projects. We monitor the trees after construction and consider a number of other healthy stream indicators to ensure overall project success.

S tream restoration focuses on the entire stream corridor and provides stream bed modifications through instream structures as well as reducing severe stream bank erosion by realigning the stream where necessary.  Phase II of the stream restoration will remove an old embankment on the stream, restore the stream channel, add some additional water quality treatment, and add in a second footbridge. Along the stream corridor, spring seeps and wetland habitats are protected and enhanced to provide additional improvements in a balanced ecosystem. Existing infrastructure such as sewer lines and pedestrian bridges are also factored into the project design to ensure the protection of these assets. Bank stabilization is achieved by the installation of large imbricated rock, riprap and through revegetation methods. Other instream techniques are implemented such as j-hooks, cross vanes, step pools, and riffle grade controls. These elements are installed to help re-establish habitat for aquatic organisms and to improve the stream’s ability to access its floodplain. Step pools, as seen in the recen t Phase 1 completion of the Point of Rocks stream restoration, work by gradually lowering the elevation of the streambed in steep valleys to reduce flow velocities and prevent severe stream bank erosion.  
Frederick County Sustainability Commission Seeks Applications for 2020 Sustainability Awards
The Frederick County Sustainability Commission
The Frederick County Sustainability Commission (FCSC) is accepting applications for its 2020 Sustainability Awards . Awards are based on leadership, innovation, and success in sustainability.

Awards are available to Individuals (non-students), Students/Student Groups, Nonprofits, and Commercial Enterprises. Self-applications or nominations of others are also accepted.

Applications are due February 13, 2020 . Contact: Dawn Ashbacher or call 301-600-6864.
OSER Project Updates
Work projects at the University of Maryland Extension Services Office included a dry stream bed (top photo) and a filterra system (bottom photo).
December 29, 2019 was the expiration date of Frederick County's National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System Permit ( MS4) which was ended in full compliance.

OSER sent eight studies and reports to the Maryland Department of the Environment to finish our compliance for the year. The County also completed a number of new watershed restoration projects that included small-scale stormwater projects at the University of Maryland Extension Services site, pond retrofits at Dudrow, Transit B, Roundtree, Adamstown Park and Highway Operations, a stream restoration in Point of Rocks (pictured above in banner) and the Little Hunting Creek Restoration.  
Many thanks to staff, consultants, citizens and our elected officials for creating an outstanding stormwater program in Frederick County and completing this effort. Our permit is administratively extended until the next one is issued, and we are keeping up with the level of effort needed to meet goals for the Chesapeake Bay and local waterways as outlined in our Restoration Plan.
Creek ReLeaf Reforestation Update
Frederick County’s Creek ReLeaf Reforestation Program is having a very successful second round of implementation. We will be planting 182 acres of trees on private property in the spring of 2020. 

Creek ReLeaf plantings are located throughout the County and cover both floodplain and upland areas protecting multiple streams as well as the Monocacy River and connecting forest islands to expand wildlife habitat. The aesthetics and environmental benefits from these efforts will be enjoyed for many generations to come. Weather dependent, the plantings will occur in March or April. For more information about the Creek ReLeaf Program, visit our website.
Want to Help to Develop Sustainable Practices Within the County? 
The Frederick County Sustainability Commission is seeking an individual who has a professional affiliation with, or expertise in, one or more of the following areas: agriculture/food security, sustainable land use and transportation, open space and land preservation, green building practices, air quality/climate, water quality, recycling/waste reduction, environmental justice, education, small and/or local business, green jobs/workforce training, human/environmental health, energy, community, grass roots environmental efforts, and finance and governance. For more information, click here .

The County Executive will be advertising for letters of interest in early February. If you are interested in this volunteer position or have questions, please email Dawn Ashbacher or call 301-600-6864.
OSER Updates
Chesapeake Conservation Corps Members Tyrah-Cobb Davis (top) and Megan Sinclair (bottom) presented their project posters at the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay’s 14th Annual Chesapeake Watershed Forum.
In November 2019, our Chesapeake Conservation Corps Members, Megan Sinclair and Tyrah Cobb-Davis, had the opportunity to attend and present posters at the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay’s 14 th Annual Chesapeake Watershed Forum.

During her time with OSER, Tyrah Cobb-Davis has had the opportunity to work with Solar United Neighbors to help promote a solar co-op in Frederick County . She had the opportunity to present a poster at the forum which explained what a solar co-op is, introduced Solar United Neighbors, and included some positive impacts that going solar will have on the environment. Some of these impacts include but are not limited to reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and improvements in air quality. 

Megan Sinclair presented a poster on Frederick County’s Brook Trout Stream Restoration Projects. OSER has partnered with other organizations with the aim to protect and restore brook trout populations and their habitat, by working to alleviate the stressors brook trout are facing in our streams. The main focus of the poster was to outline the main goals OSER wishes to accomplish with brook trout restoration projects. The poster included a brook trout restoration project, completed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife, which involved the removal of a dam on the Clifford Branch stream that is located just off of Hamburg Road, approximately 6 miles northwest of downtown Frederick, Maryland. The removal of the dam and restoration of the stream allowed Brook Trout the ability to migrate upstream opening up an additional 3 miles of stream habitat.  
Save the Date for the 9th Annual Green Homes Challenge Recognition Event and 2020 Sustainability Awards!
Ron and Marie Free are certified in the Power Saver, Green Leader and Renewable Star Challenges!
If you haven't certified in the Green Homes Challenge yet, it's not too late! Click  here   to get started!

Certified households will be recognized at the  9 th Annual Green Homes Challenge Recognition Event on  March 26, 2020.   Winners of the  2020 Frederick County Sustainability Awards  will also be presented their awards that evening. 

The Green Homes Challenge guides, rewards, and recognizes households for saving energy, adopting environmentally-friendly lifestyle practices, and using renewable energy. Since Frederick County launched its  Green Homes Challenge  in January 2011, more than 900 Frederick County households have met one or more of the three Green Homes Challenges:   Be a Power Saver, Be a Green Leader, or Be a Renewable Star .   Contact  Suzanne Cliber  if you need additional information.
Earth Day Celebrates 50 Years!
Earth Day was founded in 1970 by Gaylord Nelson , then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin.  By 1990, it was a global movement and today, Earth Day is recognized as the planet's largest civic event. The theme for Earth Day 2020, which is on April 22, 2020 i s climate action.

Here are some simple ways to celebrate Earth Day and our planet every day!
  • Use non-toxic cleaning products
  • Recycle!
  • Use cloth towels instead of paper towels.
  • Use reusable bottles for water.
  • Bring reusable bags when you go shopping.
  • Compost your kitchen scraps.
  • Use cold water to wash your clothes.
  • Take the Green Homes Challenge to learn more ways to Go Green!
Chesapeake Conservation Corps Program Applications Now Open
The Chesapeake Bay Trust is seeking applications for the Chesapeake Conservation Corps Program where young professionals can gain vital green jobs skills and build a network of connections in the environmental field.  The Office of Sustainability and Environmental Resources is proud to be a potential host site!   Corps Member applications are due on March 12, 2020. Click here for more information and to apply.
Where We Will Be!
Spring event season is starting soon! Visit the OSER Team at the following upcoming events!

Frederick Home Show
Frederick Fairgrounds
March 21, 2020 - 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
March 22, 2020 - 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Thurmont Green Fest
Thurmont Regional Library
April 4, 2020 - 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.