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Project Clean Stream April 14, 2012
We had a beautiful day with 87 total volunteers at the four sites. We collected approximately 75 bags of trash and a number of interesting “finds.” Those included a tractor tire, three auto tires (one with rim intact), half of a canoe, a bar sink, a tomato cage, and a considerable amount of building/landscaping material such as 6x6 landscaping timbers, sheets of landscaping fabric, and large sheet rock pieces. Our Symphony Village site was poorly attended, but an inspection of the site found it to be in pristine condition without essentially any trash to be collected. The residents there are doing a great job of policing their community throughout the year and we may consider not including them as a PCS site next year.
The rain garden program continues to be a key component of our efforts. To date CRC has sponsored the installation of over 350 residential rain gardens. Over seventy of these have been installed in Symphony Village and thirty in Northbrook. Rain gardens are key to our efforts to restore the watershed for two reasons. First, rain gardens capture runoff and reduce pollution flowing into the Corsica River. And perhaps equally important rain gardens are a key part of our education and outreach program in that they involve watershed residents in restoration efforts and develop a sense of stewardship.
CRC has been growing oysters under the state Maryland Grows Oysters (MGO) program since 2009. These have been deposited annually on the Possum Point bar. In 2011, 40 properties owners on the Corsica hosted 221 oyster cages filled with shells that had been seeded with oyster spat at the University of Maryland Horn Point Laboratory in Cambridge.
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has documented that at one time the Corsica had numerous and extensive oyster bars. Current restoration efforts have focused on two historic bars, Possum Point and Emory Wharf. Over 30 million oyster spat were deposited on these bars by the Oyster Recovery Partnership (ORP) in 2005, 2006 and 2008. The Corsica River Conservancy (CRC) has been growing oysters under the state Maryland Grows Oysters (MGO) program since 2009. These have been deposited annually on the Possum Point bar. In 2011, 40 properties owners on the Corsica hosted 221 oyster cages filled with shells that had been seeded with oyster spat at the University of Maryland Horn Point Laboratory in Cambridge. There are also extensive oyster bars that have existed as sanctuaries at the mouth of the Corsica in the Middle Chester for many years. By all known accounts, oysters have grown successfully throughout these locations. For example, data obtained from UMD show oyster density greater than 5 oysters per square meter on 62% of the Possum Point bar with 70% shell coverage.
Oysters are an important component of restoration because of their water filtering capacity. A single adult oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water in a day. Because of the Corsica’s depth and physical characteristics, small improvements water clarity can lead to larger increases in habitat restoration and overall water quality. This effect was dramatically illustrated by the sudden emergence of Dark False Mussels in the Corsica in 2004. These filter feeders had a profound effect of increasing water clarity to as much as four feet. The effect on underwater grasses was immediate and extensive as it reemerged in volume throughout the River. Unfortunately, this event was short lived with previous conditions returning in 2005 and the large number of mussels disappearing. But this event does provide a strong, tangible indication of how dramatically filter feeders can clarify the Corsica and how immediate an effect that clarification can have on the overall health of the River and its water quality.
Because of its size and the ecosystem wide improvements /investments, the Corsica, may represent the best watershed to demonstrate the beneficial effects of oyster sanctuaries in restoring tributaries. Moreover, the world class monitoring system that has been implemented in the watershed through the restoration project can provide a comprehensive data set of reference points to empirically assess the extent of improvements that are achieved.
Corsica River Watershed Awareness Day
The sixth annual Corsica Watershed Awareness Day was held Saturday, September 17, 2011 from noon to 4 p.m. at Bloomfield Farm on Route 213, just north of Centreville. It was attended by about 1100 people. This event gave people of all ages an opportunity to reconnect with the river that makes the area a special place to live or visit. This free event combined family fun with engaging environmental education. The “fun” part included tours of the historic farmhouse, a variety of tasty food offerings, hayrides, pony rides, petting zoo, pond fishing, face painting, pumpkin painting, and creative craft activities for children. Lively musical entertainment was offered throughout the day by Chester River Runoff, a dynamic local bluegrass group that mixes originalChesapeakesongs with unique takes on traditional favorites.
Education & Outreach
One way to encourage participation and instill a sense of stewardship is through education. When it comes to ensuring the long term health of the Corsica River who better to have as stewards than our young people? Presently we conduct several programs aimed at students from 4th grade through high school. We continue to expand our education and public information activities. If you think you might be interested in working with young people, please contact CRC at email@example.com or call 410-758-6563.
Below are photo galleries from some of our activities with young people
Each spring CRC participates in Bay Days, a three day program at Kennard Elementary designed to teach students about the Chesapeake Bay primarily through hands-on activities.
Corsica River Poster Contest
CRC sponsored a poster contest for middle school students. The theme was the importance of the Corsica River to the community and the ways in which members of the community can help to restore and preserve the River and its Watershed. Three area schools participated, Kennard Elementary, Church Hill Elementary, and Sudlersville Middle School. There were over 250 entries and thirty nine winning posters. The winning posters were exhibited at the Queen Anne’s County Centre of the Arts where a reception was held. The wining posters were also later displayed as a group at Corsica Awareness Day.
Kennard Recycle Sculpture Contest
CRC participated in a contest at Kennard Elementary sponsored by the Town of Centreville where students were challenged to construct sculptures from recycle materials. This contest elicited broad and enthusiastic student participation. The winning sculptures were exhibited at several venues in Queen Anne’s County
Natural shoreline restoration (living shoreline) is another activity in which CRC participates. One of the principal advantages of a living shoreline over other restoration methods (e.g., bulkheads or riprap) is that in addition to preventing erosion it also provides habitat for aquatic animals.
In June 2010 a group of volunteers led by the MD Dept. of Natural Resources (DNR) and the CRC planted three varieties of marsh grass to establish a 650 ft. living shoreline at the mouth of the Corsica River. Among the volunteers were 15 scouts from Boy Scout Troop 190 in Easton. In July, 695 ft. of living shoreline was established at Windy Hill Farm in Centreville. Windy Hill Farm is the home of Matt Miller, who is now a member of the CRC board of directors. In place of the original bulkhead three timboros, or circular sandbars, were erected to form small lagoons, grasses (spartina alterniflora, spartina patens and pacinum virgatum) were planted along the shore, and submerged aquatic vegetation (redhead grass ) was planted under water. Gunston Day School which has 1300 feet of shoreline on the Corsica River plans to install 550 ft. of living shoreline Below are photo galleries showing some of this work.