Thursday, April 9, 2009

Earth Day Marsh Planting April 22

Celebrate Earth Day and learn about living shorelines by planting marsh grasses at a living shoreline restoration site on Gum Point Road on April 22. The planting, as well as trash cleanup, is a joint venture among Worcester County Department of Natural Resources and the Coastal Bays Program in an effort to show what living shorelines can be.

Volunteers are needed to plant smooth cordgrass, saltmeadow cordgrass and switchgrass plugs and help with trash pick-up. Equipment will be provided, but volunteers should bring their own gloves and boots or waders.

The Earth Day planting and cleanup is part of a living shoreline restoration project at the Gum Point Road boat ramp. Living shorelines is a management option that provides erosion control benefits, while also enhancing the natural shoreline habitat. These shorelines are designed to allow for natural coastal processes to remain through the strategic placement of plants, stone, sand fill and nonstructural organic materials. The concept is to maintain and preserve marshes along the shoreline, yet protect against erosion. Marshes provide water quality benefits and provide habitat and food for a variety of birds, crabs and fishes that live in the coastal bays.

Restoration of 110 feet of shoreline is underway, funded by Worcester County’s Atlantic Coastal Bays Critical Area Mitigation fund and in-kind work provided by county staff. Last October Worcester County and Department of Natural Resources employees, Maryland Coastal Bays Program staff, and volunteers, moved rock and placed sand to replace rip rap at the boat ramp, which is heavily used by residents and visitors. Planting the area with marsh grasses was put off until spring when the grasses come out of dormancy to begin life anew.

The Coastal Bays Program recently awarded Worcester County a $1,200 implementation grant for an interpretative panel that will be placed at the site. The sign will be designed to inform and strengthen public understanding of the benefits and techniques used in living shorelines.

Date: April 22, rain or shine (in event of severe weather, will be postponed to April 23)
Time: 12 PM – 3 PM
Location: Gum Point Rd Boat Ramp; Gum Point Rd.
Directions: from Route 50 turn onto Route 589/Racetrack Rd; after about a mile turn right onto Gum Point Rd; the boat ramp is on the right, about a mile from the turn.
Contact: Katherine Munson, Worcester Co Dept of Comprehensive Planning, 410-632-5651 for more information.

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