Posts Tagged 'restoration'



Volunteers clean up Fort McHenry Wetland

Together, what can 83 volunteers accomplish on a Saturday morning?

In just four hours on Saturday, September 24, these volunteers, along with the Aquarium Conservation Team (ACT!), removed 23,839 pieces of debris from the Fort McHenry Wetland in support of National Public Lands Day and the International Coastal Cleanup.

“Before I went through this experience, I never knew there was so much trash out there,” was one volunteer’s response to the overwhelming sight of the Patapsco River shoreline.

Fort McHenry Before Cleanup

Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine is a well-visited piece of history for both Baltimore residents and out-of-town visitors. The Fort McHenry Wetland, located adjacent to the Fort, can be seen from the popular walking path. As one of the very few living shorelines in Baltimore City, the 8-acre Fort McHenry Wetland is well functioning, doing exactly what it’s meant to do: remove excess nutrients from the water; provide habitat for local wildlife; and filter the marine debris that is carried in from the tide. Since 1998, ACT! has hosted multiple community-supported debris cleanups here.

Fort McHenry After Cleanup

Volunteers have dedicated 250 hours to remove the urban debris (aka trash) and maintain the butterfly and rain gardens located on the site. Partners for this event included the Steinweg Baltimore, Maryland Port Administration, REI, Royal Bank of Canada, Constellation Energy, Maryland Environmental Trust, Toyota, and the National Park Service. To participate in a future Fort McHenry Field Day or another ACT! event, sign up to receive the Aquarium’s Conservation e-newsletter, and we’ll let you know about upcoming conservation events.

Education in action: Planting trees at Nassawango Creek Preserve

This spring, the Aquarium’s Conservation Team headed out to the Eastern Shore of Maryland to continue work at The Nature Conservancy’s Nassawango Creek Preserve in Wicomico and Worchester counties.

Nassawango Creek Preserve encompasses more than 10,000 acres of bald cypress swamps and upland forests. Over the past three years, we have worked with local community members and area middle school students to plant native Atlantic white cedars.

A group of 120 students from Stephen Decatur Middle School and Berlin Intermediate School participated in this year’s event. With their help, the team planted a total of 895 trees! The planting took place in a 20-acre plot that once served as part of a Loblolly Pine plantation, which was cleared five years ago with a controlled burn to make room for native freshwater wetland species.

Atlantic white cedars were once common along the East Coast in freshwater wetlands, but have been over-harvested and are now rare due to the value of the waterproof lumber they provide.

The middle school students began working with Atlantic white cedar trees in the fall of 2010. With the help of Aquarium staff, they transplanted the Atlantic white cedar saplings to larger pots, and cared for them in wet frame ponds on their school grounds over the winter. Planting the trees at the Nassawango Creek Preserve was the students’ final step in completing their project! Many of the students had grown attached to their Atlantic white cedars and took great pride in being involved in the rebuilding of a forest with native trees.

 

Continue reading ‘Education in action: Planting trees at Nassawango Creek Preserve’

Restoring valuable habitats

Thanks to the support of our hard-working volunteers, 2009 has been incredibly productive for the National Aquarium’s Conservation Team.  Throughout the year, 4 large-scale planting events translated into 10 critical acres restored – that’s 144,000 plants that will provide valuable habitat and help to slow shoreline erosion! 

Our restoration projects took us to many beautiful areas throughout the Chesapeake Bay.  The planting season kicked off just outside of Cambridge, on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.  In May, fifty-two volunteers and 90 students joined us on Barren Island to plant 3 acres of restored offshore habitat, created from repurposed dredge material.  The marsh grasses we provided are a huge part of the recipe that turns dredge material into viable wetland habitat, making it possible to rebuild islands that have dramatically eroded over the last century. 

Poplar Island is a similar restoration project off of Tilghman Island MD, in the central region of the Bay.  Dredge material is again being used to rebuild the severely eroded Island to its original 1000 acres.  The Aquarium Conservation Team, along with 268 volunteers and students, planted 3 acres of wetland grasses on the island in June.  As more dredge material is brought in and settles into plant-able areas, the National Aquarium will continue to return to the island to be a part of the restoration process.  The next Poplar Island planting project is expected to take place in the summer of 2011. 

Click here to learn more about Poplar Island and the beneficial use of dredge material.

Continue reading ‘Restoring valuable habitats’

Gardening to protect our waterways: you can help!

Did you know that planting a tree or two can help save our local waterways? The National Aquarium partners with the Naval Support Facility Indian Head and the Charles Country Master Gardeners on restoration events that are rebuilding coastal habitats of the Potomac River. The next events are being held October 21-25,  and we need your help!

The goal if this project is to create a riparian buffer along the riverside. A riparian buffer is a natural biofilter that protects our waterways and prevents excess runoff from the surface pollution. In other words, planting a trees, grasses, and shrubs can be a big help in keeping our waters cleaner, and giving more animals a place to live. Ripairan buffers have played a significant role in soil conservation, improved water quality, healthy aquatic systems, and offer habitats for diverse wildlife .

Volunteers over 18 years of age and that are US citizens (due to base restrictions), are asked to join us for one or more field days from 9am-4pm on October 21-25, 2008. We can all actively do little things to help preserve our environment, no green thumb required! Click here to learn more about the event. To volunteer contact Charmaine Dahlenburg at conserve@aqua.org or 410-659-4274 by October 15.


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