Our efforts are working! A recently completed study conducted on behalf of the Maryland Department of Environment (MDE) indicated significant and improving nutrient reductions in the three tributaries of the Corsica River. Both the long term (2006-2017) and short term (2012-2018) trends in total nitrogen are significant and downwards for all three. Long term trends in total phosphorus concentrations are significant and downwards for all three as well. However, only the Gravel Run tributary showed a significant short term difference in phosphorus. The statistical analysis was done by staff of the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin.
These results show an overall improvement beyond those obtained in a similar study performed six years ago with data MDE collected from 2006 to 2012. The results indicate that the many Best Management Practices (BMPs) that have been installed throughout the Corsica River Watershed during its ecosystem-wide restoration appear to be having significant and largely increasing effect. That restoration has been led by a team representing the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), MDE, Queen Anne’s County, the Town of Centreville, the County Soil Conservation District, the Corsica River Conservancy (CRC), and Shore Rivers along with other government and non-governmental organizations. The strategy and objectives of the Corsica Restoration have been continually implemented through this team since 2006 when Governor Erlich designated the Corsica as the State’s first “targeted” watershed restoration effort.
Frank DiGialleonardo, President of CRC, said that he believes these results serve to validate the stakeholder team approach that started with the Corsica Watershed Restoration Action Strategy (WRAS) and then was implemented by the restoration team over the last fifteen years. “For this type of diverse effort, we have been amazingly consistent and persistent over the long haul. Credit is due to the Town, County, farmers and homeowners who have implemented the BMPs.”
Carrie Decker with the Chesapeake and Coastal Service at Maryland’s DNR, whose office has overseen the project from the beginning, and has provided much of the funding along with MDE and Department of Agriculture, stated “the Corsica River restoration effort provides a model for how a community led initiative can partner with local and state government resources to bring about a coordinated and long-term outreach and restoration and preservation strategy that has been unified by an overarching plan that is science based”.
The MDE study results were all the more encouraging as they follow the recent ShoreRivers “Report Card” of 2018 water quality which gave the Corsica an improved grade despite the excessive rainfall of 2018 which led to an overall decline in the waters that they monitor.
More details on the Corsica Restoration can be found at corsicariverconservancy.org as well as dnr.maryland.gov.