What We're Up To in 2020
Issues that we are working on:
Although COVID-19 has prevented us from holding meetings, DCPG Board and Members continue our water monitoring efforts in the county. We have also continued following the progress of the County Comprehensive Plan, Cambridge and Dorchester County Council meetings, "get out the vote" efforts, clean energy, recycling, and other environmental issues important to Dorchester County. We are looking forward to the time when we can all safely return to our normal activities.
NPDES permits on waterways in our County.
Valley Protein is expanding their chicken rendering facility in Dorchester County. Currently there is a request to MDE from Valley Protein that would include increasing the withdrawal of groundwater from the underlying aquifers and the discharge of wastewater to the already impaired Transquaking River. DCPG volunteers have spent hundreds of hours gathering information, sifting through legal documents and permits to better understand the issue. The withdrawl permit has been approved by MDE.
In fall 2018, DCPG and the Mid-Shore League of Women Voters presented a Forum on the Transquaking River to engage the community and discuss water quality issues facing the small watershed. DCPG also joined with Chesapeake Bay Trust, ShoreRivers, and the Mid-shore League of Women Voters in sending a letter to the Secretary of MDE expressing our concerns and requesting information. In April, MDE sent their response.
We are still awaiting the pubic hearing notice for the discharge permit and will continue to pursue this issue.
Follow the link for more information and to read our letter to MDE and their response.
Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP).
DCPG is supporting efforts to update the 15 year old Plan, promoting collaboration and public involvement between the National Park Service, The US Fish & Wildlife Service, the Harriet Tubman National Monument and National Historic Park, Dorchester County Council, local agricultural community, Dorchester community residents, and Refuge managers.
The current CCP is available by following this link.
Dorchester County Comprehensive Plan.
The Comprehensive Plan update will effect and direct future growth in our county including everything from residential development, to utility improvements, to major land use decisions with potential ecological consequences. We are following this issue closely and plan to be a part of the discussions to ensure good stewardship of our land and water resources. Accordig to the County's timeline, they should be presenting a draft plan to the community soon.
More information is posted on the County's website:
We are working with ShoreRivers to provide our monitoring data on bacteria levels to the Swim Guide. We have increased the sampling frequency of our Sailwinds Park Beach monitoring and adding other locations for the swimming season. We are also working with local officials to post signs at beaches if bacteria levels are found to be unsafe.
DCPG is working with the County on educational materials and signs for the local recycling facilities to educate citizenry on what can be recycled and where to recycle.
Project Clean Stream
Every April we join with the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay for Project Clean Stream. Groups throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed come together to clean up creaks, rivers, and waterways. In 2018 we were joined by volunteers from the Cambridge Hyatt to clean up Woods Road, north of Rt 50 in Cambridge. The ditch along Woods Road flows into the Choptank near the Hyatt. We gathered 55 bags of trash, most of which was recyclable bottles & cans. Thanks to everyone who participated!
Other stuff we're proud of:
Stormwater Education Station
DCPG partnered with Dorchester Tourism, the Nanticoke Watershed Aliance, Environmental Concern, and The City of Cambridge to build a stormwater educaiton station at the Visitor's Center at Sailwinds Park. The station, a small wooden frame structure, has permiable pavers for a floor, downspouuts connected to rain barrels, a green roof, and a rain garden. Educational signs give homeowners examples of what they can do around their homes to reduce stormwater runoff to protect local tributaries and the Chesapeake Bay from the pollutants carried by stormwater.
My Back Yard to Our Bay
DCPG partnered with League of Women Voters of the Maryland Mid-Shore, University of Maryland Extension Master Gardener Program and Sea Grant Extension Program to produce this useful publication.
The publication features issues concerning how we, as homeowners and citizens in the watershed are impacting the bay, and what we can do to help make a difference in improving water quality with our choices. It includes topics and concerns specific to the Eastern Shore, like shoreline erosion and sea level rise, and info on local resources, websites, and phone numbers.
It is important that this information is as up to date as possible and we hope to publish a new edition or addendum in the near future.