(ANNAPOLIS, MD)—The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) with the help of partners and volunteers will plant 1,200 trees and shrubs on Oct. 6 along a tributary to Little Pipe Creek that is part of the Monocacy River Watershed.
This conservation project at the Trout family farm near the Carroll and Frederick County borders is one of several projects CBF is coordinating to reduce agricultural runoff into the rivers and streams that flow into the Chesapeake Bay.
"This project will improve water quality and herd health by fencing the cattle out of the stream," said Rob Schnabel, Maryland Restoration Biologist for CBF. "The newly planted trees will function as a sponge to reduce downstream flooding while also filtering any sediment pollution coming off the corn fields during rain events. Hopefully more farmers will follow Mr. Travis Trout's example by doing conservation on their farms. Farm stewardship is key to improving water quality in local streams, the Monocacy River, and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay."
Once completed, the project will add 9 acres of streamside, or "riparian," forest buffers toward Carroll County's efforts to reduce nutrient loads entering the Bay watershed as part of the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint. On Aug. 28, the agricultural community in Carroll County led by the Maryland Department of Agriculture agreed to increase the number of riparian forest buffers in the county by 350 acres to meet the Blueprint's 2025 goals.
Streamside forest buffers on farm land and pasture help reduce stream bank erosion and prevent fertilizer, manure, and pesticides from being washed away when it rains. The trees, shrubs, and their roots act as a filter to prevent the sources of nitrogen and other pollutants from flowing into rivers and streams. The trees also shade the streams to help keep water temperatures cool. Cooler water can hold more oxygen for fish species such as trout.
CBF is partnering with the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) and it's Maryland Agricultural Cost Share Program to help pay for the fencing and a stabilized stream crossing for the cattle.
The Monocacy River Watershed is one of the areas in Maryland where forested stream buffers are most needed to reduce runoff from fields. Streamside forest buffers with cattle exclusion fencing have been shown to be the most cost-effective agricultural conservation practice for water quality. The buffers can reduce nitrogen runoff by 128 pounds per acre and phosphorous by 36 pounds per acre, according to MDA documents.
Besides paying for the trees and some of the fencing, CBF provides an additional $1,000 for every acre of new forest buffer to help pay for other conservation practices on the farm. These funds compensate farmers for taking land that is not very productive and putting it into conservation. These types of projects are a win for the farmer, water quality, and the community as a whole.
The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) is seeking local volunteers to help plant the trees and shrubs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Oct. 6 at the farm in Keymar. Volunteers interested in helping can contact David Tana at [email protected] for more information. Students who volunteer can earn up to 6 service hours, including travel time. All ages are welcome to participate. Register here!
CBF is partnering with The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, WGL Energy, Sterling Planet, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Carroll County Soil Conservation District, and the Monocacy and Catoctin Watershed Alliance to complete the project.