Free trees – fact sheets and planting guides

Citizens concerned with water quality, your drinking water, land use

and the environment are sharing trees.

Please donate to our  Healthy Streams Frederick County campaign!   Learn about the trees and what environmental conditions they like.

River Birch

River Birch

River Birch Fact Sheet and Planting Guide

Redosier Dogwood
Fact Sheet and Planting GuideRedosier Dogwood






Silky Dogwood

Silky Dogwood

Silky DogwoodSilky DogwoodSilky Dogwood Fact Sheet and Planting Guide

Eastern Red Bud

Eastern Redbud

Eastern Red Bud




Fact Sheet and Planting Guide




White Pine

White Pine 

Fact Sheet and Planting Guide


FNP: New Partners in County Stream Improvement

New partners in county stream improvement


New partners in county stream improvement

For The Frederick News-Post | Posted: Tuesday, August 27, 2013 2:00 am

John Smucker recently partnered with the Potomac Conservancy as part of a project to remove a fish barrier, an outmoded dam and control bank erosion in Tuscarora Creek. He planted 55 native hardwood trees along with cocoa matts. Brook Hill United Methodist Church helped complete the field and leg work.

Ray Locke, coordinator of the Friends of Frederick County Clean Streams Initiative, is seeking to use similar techniques to improve the health of other streams in Frederick County. Frederick County has 20 different watersheds of which 11 are in poor condition. He is looking for groups to Adopt-A-Grid and install erosion stabilizers to improve water quality.  Read the full story.

Email:  friends@friendsoffrederickcounty or to adopt a grid.

1/24/13 Frederick County has…”essentially violated the state’s new law aimed at limiting growth on septic systems…

State says three counties flouting septic growth law

Planning secretary says O’Malley administration “weighing options”

Tim Wheeler

7:00 AM EST, January 24, 2013

Three Maryland counties have essentially violated the state’s new law aimed at limiting growth on septic systems, a top O’Malley administration aide said Wednesday, adding that state officials are “weighing our options,” including possible legal action or withholding of funds.

Cecil, Frederick and Allegany counties did not follow the 2012 law in drawing up maps that were supposed to restrict where large housing subdivisions on septic may be built, Planning Secretary Richard E. Hall told lawmakers in Annapolis.

Hall, briefing members of the House and Senate environmental committees, said that Cecil and Frederick in particular appear to have tried to essentially “negate” the law by leaving as much forest and farm land open to septic-based housing development as possible – including some properties already preserved.

“So they basically have not only ignored the law, they’ve thumbed their nose at the state,” observed Sen. Paul Pinsky, a Prince George’s County Democrat.

Hall said Allegany officials have deviated from the law in a more limited fashion in one area of the county.

Dru Schmidt-Perkins, executive director of the land preservation group 1000 Friends of Maryland, said she’s also worried about Charles County, where she said county officials have been considering a septic growth map suggested by developers. The county has yet to adopt anything for submittal to the state, though.

The planning secretary said that only 11 of Maryland’s 23 counties have adopted maps provided for in the law that spell out where septic-based development can and can’t occur. State planners are “fine” with most of those, Hall said, concluding they’re basically in line with the law’s aim of curbing rural sprawl and limiting nutrient pollution from septics.

But the rest of the state’s counties have not submitted any growth maps for state review, Hall said, and many of those appear to be waiting to see what happens to those counties that essentially ignored the law – or to see if lawmakers amend or repeal the controversial law.

Under the “Sustainable Growth & Agricultural Preservation Act” passed last year, Maryland’s 23 counties and its municipalities are supposed to map where they plan to grow, carving their territory up into four “tiers” that increasingly limit residential development on septic systems. The maps were due by the end of the year, if the counties want to continue permitting any large-scale housing projects using septics.

Hall noted that the bill the administration introduced would have had his department approve or reject the counties’ maps, but lawmakers worried about local prerogatives to control land use stripped out the state’s ability to veto plans or order changes. Instead, the law provides that the department may force a county to have a public hearing on its septic growth plan if state planners believe it doesn’t comply with the law.

The state planning department has written Cecil and Frederick saying its maps do not conform to the law’s requirements.  Cecil already has called a public hearing Feb. 19 on the state’s criticism.

“We hope they will change their maps, but there’s nothing in the legislation that requires them to,” he said. “To be blunt, they can ignore us.”

While his department is limited by the law to commenting on local septic plans, Hall said it’s possible that counties may still face lawsuits from residents who believe they or their property may be hurt by having septic-supported development nearby.

Administration officials also are considering what options the state may have to respond to a local government they believe is flouting the law, Hall said. Nothing’s been decided, he said, but noted that there’d been discussion of state agencies joining with the attorney general in a lawsuit, or withhholding some funds from counties deemed out of compliance.

Hall said he’s worried that if Cecil and Frederick don’t respond to the state’s criticism of their septic growth plans, it may encourage other counties to ignore the law unless there are some consequences.

Some lawmakers indicated they feared the state had already overstepped its authority in trying to influence local land use decisions.  House Republicans have introduced a bill to repeal the law.

Del. Cathy Vitale, an Anne Arundel County Republican, questioned why Hall’s department had blocked a planned development in her county that had been approved by local officials.

Hall said his staff objected because the project in question called for extending public sewer service into an area of the county not designated for such development in Arundel’s long-range growth plan.  If the county amended its growth plan to include the development, he said state planners would go along.

Del. Charles J. Otto, a Republican representing Somerset and Worcester counties, expressed his disdain for the law and recited constituents’ complaints that it is unconstitutional because it limits their ability to develop their land. He also questioned how the restrictions on septic growth would help the Chesapeake Bay.

Hall replied that the legislation was reviewed for constitutionality before it was introduced. He recited statistics on the law’s environmental effects, including keeping 1.1 milllion pounds of nitrogen out of the bay and its tributaries, and preserving 100,000 acres of forest and farmland that planners believe would otherwise be developed.

But he noted that there’s still plenty of land available for development under the development, up to twice as much as planners project would be needed over the next 25 years to accommodate an additional 450,000 households.

Earlier in his briefing, Hall sought to dispel more of what he called “misinformation” about the law, saying counties in Maryland with strict limits on building homes in agricultural areas have higher farmland values than do neighboring counties with relatively looser development rules.

“When I go out and about,” Hall said, “I’ve had some people tell me — some local elected officials, believe it or not, and professionals in the field — tell me, ‘This will actualy help us achieve our goals .. this helps lock down, solidify many existing policies that we’ve had at the local level.’”

For the most part, he concluded, “We think that this (law) is very consistent with what local governments already have in place.”


Copyright © 2013, The Baltimore Sun

Governor O’Malley asks Commissioner Young to support clean water efforts

pg 1 LTR OMALLEY TO YOUNG WIP_01-03-13_1pg 2 LTR OMALLEY TO YOUNG WIP_01-03-13_1


monitoring stream pollution...there's an app for that!

monitoring stream pollution…there’s an app for that!
































New construction site sediment pollution regulations in effect

FoFC received this notice from Community & Environmental Defense Services:

Construction site sediment pollution regulations 

Protect All Exposed Soils 7 Days After Clearance

Among the most important new requirements is that all exposed construction site soils must be protected from erosive forces within seven days of initial clearance.  For most of a site, this means all disturbed areas must be covered with a layer of mulch (straw, etc.) sufficiently thick to obscure underlying soils.  An equally important new requirement is that 95% vegetative (grass) cover must be achieved. 

Silt Fence & Settling Ponds Can’t Protect The Bay; Only Thick Mulch & Grass

In the past most sites might have a sparse cover of grass and mulch resulting in vast quantities of eroded soil flowing into nearby waters.  It takes thick mulch and 95% cover to prevent pollution of nearby waters.  Perimeter measures like black silt fence and settling ponds simply can’t retain enough mud pollution on-site.  In fact, whenever you see exposed soil on a construction site, you can assume pollution will occur come the next storm.  In other words: Exposed Soil = Pollution.  Please report it at the Watershed Advocates Construction ES=P Database and/or to your local enforcement agency.

Sites Present Before March Must Have 95% Grass Cover By April 15th

Of course grass will not begin growing until March with another two- to four-weeks needed to achieve 95% cover.  If a site was cleared prior to March, yet by April 15th you see something less than 95% grass cover then you are also witnessing a violation of one of our most important aquatic resource protection laws.  Again, please report it promptly!  This is the best way to ensure this new law is fully enforced and the Bay and her tributaries are fully protected.

Detailed Guidance

For further detail see Exposed Soil = Pollution: How You Can Save 100 Feet of Chesapeake Bay Tributaries in an Hour by Halting Construction Site Mud Pollution



EIP report: Frederick County discharges 111,158 pounds of nitrogen/year over permitted level

Last week the Environmental Integrity Project released its report The Clean Water Act and the Chesapeake: Enforcement’s Critical Role in Restoring the Bay (December 2012)  Appendix A in that report shows the Ballenger McKinney Waste Water Treatment Plant discharging  111,158 pounds of nitrogen each year over the permitted level.  It is the worst offender in the entire Chesapeake Bay watershed.

“Far too much nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment pollution choke the Chesapeake Bay, making it impossible to sustain a healthy watershed.TItle page EIP report To restore the Bay and protect aquatic life, users will have to meet a pollution diet – a diet that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has already set by establishing “Total Maximum Daily Loads” (TMDLs) to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus loadings to the Bay by 25% by 2025, and sediment loadings by 20%.1 Measured in pounds, that means decreasing the nitrogen that flows to the Bay by more than fifty million pounds a year; phosphorous by more than three million pounds; and sediment by more than one and a quarter billion pounds.”

Appendix A EIP report

Lancaster Mayor speaks out: County leaders are using the Susquehanna issue to divert attention from their responsibility to protect the Chesapeake

The Young Board of County Commissioners gave $25K of taxpayer money to support the Funk and Bolton lawsuit, a suit that essentially says the pollution in the Chesapeake Bay is the fault of the Conowingo Dam, and not our problem to fix at all!

Conowingo Dam is not the problem

County leaders are using the Susquehanna issue to divert attention from their responsibility to protect the Chesapeake

By J. Richard Gray

6:00 AM EST, December 17, 2012

The Susquehanna River and its big dams have been in the news lately. A handful of Maryland county officials would like you to believe the dams are the primary ill of the Chesapeake Bay.

They claim that because sediment reservoirs behind the Conowingo Dam are at capacity, instead of trapping pollutants during storms, the dam now allows two pollutants — phosphorus and sediment — to flow downstream at alarming rates. They argue that years of restoration progress have been erased and that current bay restoration efforts do not address these issues. And finally, these local leaders contend that Maryland’s investments in restoring the bay would be “futile” and all of the efforts to help our local waters should now come to a standstill.

Well, as chair of the Local Government Advisory Committee (LGAC) for the Chesapeake Executive Council, which includes the state governors, Environmental Protection Agency administrator and other senior officials who guide the cleanup effort, I write today with good news — every bit of scientific information available says they are wrong on all counts.

First, they claim 80 percent of the pollution to the bay comes from the Susquehanna River. This figure is not in any of the scientific information I’ve seen, and no expert I’ve contacted knows where the number comes from.

Second, the nutrients and sediment passing through the Susquehanna’s dams, under all conditions, are indeed accounted for in the state-of-the art tools the bay restoration scientists use.

Third, while storms do increase the freshwater and pollutants flowing through the dam, they by no means erase the progress we have made. For example, the large grass bed on the Susquehanna Flats, located right where that river meets the bay, withstood the flow of fresh water and sediment downstream during last fall’s storms precisely because we put time and effort into restoring it to health.

And finally, whatever pollutants get past the dam primarily affect the northernmost tidal waters of the bay and its rivers.

So let’s talk about things that are true.

The recent introduction of pollution limits in the effort to clean up the Chesapeake Bay recognized that we could no longer point our fingers at someone else. We all have to do more to protect our local streams and, by doing so, help the Chesapeake Bay. Many Pennsylvania and Maryland localities are already investing wisely in projects to restore their own local waters and send cleaner water downstream.

In Lancaster, Pa., even before the clean water blueprint was established, we changed our thinking and began to put projects in place to stop polluted runoff before it reaches local waters. We are continuing to invest our money in sewage treatment and stormwater infrastructure, using green technologies and following our comprehensive green infrastructure plan.

Meeting our local goals will be costly in the short term, but recent studies done in and on our city actually show a cost savings in the long run. In other words, if we postpone what has to be done, future generations will bear an even greater financial burden. So we are building Lancaster into a more appealing, livable community right now, with more trees and gardens and healthier waters, all of which give us a better chance of attracting new residents and economic growth.

So, why, LGAC members wonder, would any county or city spend its citizens’ dollars on lawyers to fight against clean water rather than using that money to improve its communities and its local streams?

Maryland’s local officials should recognize that their counties and towns have the most vital interest in the bay. If they give up their efforts, many in Pennsylvania, Virginia and other states will use that as an excuse to do nothing. Rather than pulling back or arguing, I would expect Maryland localities to fully appreciate the value of clean local waters and set the example for all of those upstream.

There is so much financial assistance available, so many creative “green” engineering firms at work and so many solid, new ways to manage polluted runoff that we are dumbfounded by the resistance from these local leaders toward cleaner local waters for their communities and the bay.

To the extent the Conowingo Dam is an issue, let’s get the right people to the table to talk constructively about the facts and solve the problem. The timing is perfect, because the license for that dam is up for renewal.

Enough of creating diversions and pointing fingers to distract from the work that is so sorely needed. It’s time to recognize that we are all in this together. It’s time — past time, in fact — to get busy on the work we were entrusted to do as our communities’ leaders.

J. Richard “Rick” Gray is Mayor of Lancaster, Pa. and the chairman of the Local Government Advisory Committee, an independent group of elected local leaders from Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and the District of Columbia that advises the Bay Program’s Chesapeake Executive Council. This article is distributed by Bay Journal News Service.


Copyright © 2012, The Baltimore Sun

Fair share for clean water


monitoring stream pollution…there’s an app for that!

Fair share for clean water


Fair share for clean water

Originally published October 14, 2012

An editorial by The Frederick News-Post (“Cost of the bay,” Sept. 7) raised a good point regarding the need for all neighboring states to share the responsibility of controlling pollutants entering the Chesapeake Bay. The Pew Environment Group agrees that the region, as a whole, has contributed to the bay’s degradation and should participate in its restoration. However, sharing the responsibility of the cleanup effort should apply not only to state and local governments. Major private-sector polluters — including industrial agriculture operations around Maryland — must do their part as well.Federal agency studies, state water quality assessments, and reports of pollution incidents all point to significant and growing threats to water resources from concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). According to the U.S. Geological Survey, livestock manure is the single largest source of nitrogen pollution in major rivers across the country. These operations are responsible for about 25 percent of the bay’s nutrient pollution, and each state in the region needs to ensure that industry shares in the cleanup.

Some states in the Chesapeake watershed are moving in the right direction. Maryland recently adopted a new rule to help mitigate nutrient-related pollution largely from its broiler chicken industry. Similarly, Delaware has been working toward improved management of the manure from its broiler farms. But if these efforts are not matched by states such as Pennsylvania, whose Susquehanna River accounts for 40 percent of the water flowing into the bay and where more than 130 million broilers generate almost 700,000 tons of manure annually, the Chesapeake will continue to suffer. CAFO pollution does not stop at state lines.

At the same time, national regulation of this industry lags. Permits under the federal Clean Water Act remain the single most important resource for regulating pollution from point sources such as water treatment plants and industrial operations, but they have not been used effectively with CAFOs. Many states don’t even know where all their CAFOs are, or whether they discharge manure into local waterways. A recent proposal by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to create a national database of CAFOs was withdrawn after strong opposition from the animal agriculture industry.

The Pew Environment Group believes that federal oversight of CAFO operations, done cooperatively with states under the Clean Water Act, is essential. In addition to protecting public health and the environment, such oversight would create a level playing field in which states with more stringent CAFO regulations wouldn’t be at a disadvantage economically or have to bear responsibility for cleaning up CAFO pollution from neighboring states.

Chesapeake Bay communities shouldn’t be left to pay the price for pollution from upstream states such as New York and Pennsylvania. But CAFOs around Maryland should be held accountable for bay pollution as well.

Karen Steuer directs the Pew Environment Group’s efforts to reform industrial animal agriculture.

Revisiting the county’s cost of bay cleanup: Frederick County Office of Sustainability and Environmental Resources takes a look

Originally published September 09, 2012

Would you rather have a clean Chesapeake Bay or a healthy economy? That question presents a false choice. The field of sustainability has a triple bottom line: environment, economy and society.In the Office of Sustainability and Environmental Resources for Frederick County government, we search for ways to give the public the environmental protection they deserve at the best possible price, often finding monetary savings.

This summer, the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) submitted its Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) to the Environmental Protection Agency for the Chesapeake Bay pollution diet. My office put together an economic policy analysis on the state’s WIP plans and targets for Frederick County. The dollars, frankly, look unsustainable. The analysis showed the cost of the state’s plan to be $1.89 billion in Frederick County alone, not including agriculture. We published this analysis in our July 16 “Chesapeake Bay TMDL Analysis for Frederick County, Maryland.”

Why are these numbers so high? Let me break down for you what MDE’s plan includes for Frederick County:


  • The addition of nitrogen-removing technology in 13,762 septic systems at a cost of about $12,000 apiece, based on costs from MDE’s Bay Restoration Fund Annual Reports. The cost of this item totals $165,144,000. There is no mechanism to pay for most of these except for the Bay Restoration Fund, which has paid for about 84 of these upgrades to date in the county. 
  • $219,658,338 for Wastewater Treatment Plant upgrades as reported by MDE in the Bay Restoration Fund Annual Reports, with updated costs based on staff reports. These upgrades are part of existing plans by the county and municipalities, and have been written into their permits. Some of the costs are to be borne by ratepayers, some taxpayers, and some other sources. 
  • Stormwater costs of $1.5 billion as calculated by multiplying the acres of practices in the scenario MDE built for Frederick County by the cost per practice per acre. Costs come from a study MDE commissioned explicitly for this purpose by King and Hagan of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. MDE notes that a different combination of practices meeting the same reductions for the stormwater sector could be calculated by the county, but we chose to use MDE’s assessment. Costs would be borne by taxpayers.I requested costs from the Maryland Department of Agriculture but have not seen any figures.

    Does the bay cleanup have to be this expensive? No. What would make it cheaper? Many, many things. Here are some ideas:


  • Some practices are really cost-efficient and some are duds. Instead of requiring prescriptive sector allocations, MDE could require the pollution reductions. Most stormwater retrofits cost several thousands of dollars for every pound of pollutant they remove, so it would be cheaper to meet the reductions for the stormwater sector by doing something else, like agricultural cover crops that also preserve valuable soil for farmers. 
  • Not applying fertilizer on your lawn? Free. By the way, do us all a favor and stop fertilizing your lawn. Then let me know that you did it so that we can take credit for it. In all honesty, an urban fertilizer elimination program should be implemented on a bay-wide scale to take advantage of efficiencies related to the size and administration of the program. 
  • Allow the market to establish the cheapest price to reduce pollution. That means expanding the sectors eligible for trading and the geographic area within a trading system. If septic systems can reduce only 5 pounds of nitrogen per year per $12,000 investment, that’s $2,400 per pound permanently reduced! Let other sectors pay for credits from, for example, a farmer’s wastewater treatment for large dairy operations. These kinds of credits are being generated in Lancaster, Pa., but the unintended consequences of MDE’s trading limits make such a solution in Maryland less attractive. By adding treatment to livestock operations, we could also protect drinking water supplies from the risk of manure spills. 
  • Look to the sky. A third of all of the nitrogen that goes to the bay comes from the air because of pollution from sources such as vehicles and power plants, yet agriculture and urban lands are expected to address it through practices on the ground. The problem should be addressed at the source. For example, MDE could analyze the cost-effectiveness of atmospheric reductions from Tier III air quality standards for vehicle fuel in the Clean Air Act. According to the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management, this standard would reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by about 25 percent from the existing fleet of gasoline-powered vehicles and pay for the anticipated 8 cents per gallon in monetized health benefits, such as reduced asthma deaths.You don’t have to choose between clean water and fiscal responsibility. I believe you can have both. And that’s the essence of sustainability.

    Shannon Moore is manager of Frederick County’s Office of Sustainability and Environmental Resources.

Bay cleanup worth it: letter from Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Executive Director for Maryland

Originally published September 16, 2012

The Frederick News-Post stated in a reasonable editorial (“Cost of the bay,” Sept. 7) that farmers and developers need to hear stronger and more compelling economic arguments for saving the Chesapeake Bay.

Clean water is a common good, so any economic argument should consider benefits to farmers and builders, but also to the whole community. Here are a few of those arguments.

First, the effort to reduce water pollution in the 64,000-square-mile Chesapeake Bay watershed benefits not just the main part of the bay, but all tributary creeks and rivers, including those in Frederick County, which are badly polluted. The Lower Monocacy River watershed, for instance, contains some of the most polluted waters in the multi-state region. This problem will continue to get worse as the county continues its dramatic growth. Without changes from developers, for instance, Frederick County is expected to discharge more nitrogen pollution into its local water from new homes on septics than any county in the state over the next 25 years. This is a local problem, requiring a local solution. If the county opts out of this effort, it not only hurts those downstream, but also threatens the safety of local drinking water, the health of children and the county’s economic vitality.

Second, history tells us the actual cost of this cleanup will be much lower than the perceived cost. In fact, the cost will be highest if we do nothing or wait for it to be cheaper. Technologies for cleaning our water are like any other; they will get cheaper as we scale up their use. That will be as true with septic or stormwater systems as it was with computers and televisions.

Investing in smart pollution reduction now will yield windfalls later. For example, installing stormwater pollution control technologies alone will produce 36,000 full-time jobs over the next five years in Maryland, according to the Economic Policy Institute. Montgomery County already is adding 3,300 jobs for that type of work. That’s a compelling economic argument to the unemployed construction worker.

Third, while Maryland has been a leader in reducing pollution, other states are now stepping up precisely because of the new, tougher plan for reducing pollution.

  • Here’s a sample of what Pennsylvania has achieved in the past two years, taken from a recent Chesapeake Bay Journal account of the state’s record in meeting its short-term cleanup commitments:
  • For wastewater, the state met its nitrogen reduction goal, and exceeded its phosphorus goal. It actually achieved its 2025 reduction goal for phosphorus reductions from wastewater.
  • For urban/suburban lands, it slightly exceeded its goal of connecting 7,353 septic systems to sewer systems.
  • For agriculture, it more than doubled its goal of planting 19,059 acres of forest buffers.

Do we really expect Pennsylvania will continue its efforts if Maryland or other states step to the sidelines? All states agreed to specific pollution limits for the region, and have crafted their own blueprints for reaching those goals, precisely because there is a renewed sense of urgency and unity, but also because of real accountability.

Let’s continue to lead, not break ranks. Watershed-wide, we are more than halfway to our goals of reducing pollution. If we can finish the job, the entire region stands to gain economically. One dollar of water and sewer infrastructure investment, for instance, increases private output (gross domestic product) in the long term by $6.35, according to a 2008 report by the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

Finally, are we saying clean water has value measured only in dollars and cents? Tell that to a fly fisherman on a peaceful bend of a babbling creek as the mist rises one spring morning. Are we not stewards of the earth for future generations?

Let’s all of us continue to discuss and debate this subject of clean water. I believe the more we know, the more we’ll agree the effort is worthwhile.


– Alison Prost is Maryland executive director of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.