Clean Water Communities Update: Pines on the Severn

Written by Cindy Hall and Noelle Chao, Class 10 Steward Candidates and Pines on the Severn residents, for their community newsletter.

Last fall, Pines on the Severn was selected by the Watershed Stewards Academy to participate in their Clean Water Communities Program.  In order to achieve this certification, we were asked to complete 5 benchmarks in 2018. Here’s how we’ve done:

1. Assessment of Community Property: COMPLETED!

The South River Federation and the Watershed Stewards Academy visited Pines in November 2017 and conducted a comprehensive assessment of community property spaces.  SRF and WSA delivered a report to Stewards in January 2018. You can find a copy of this report on the Pines Website. It provides a detailed roadmap for addressing different areas of concern in our community, and offers suggestions for the best path forward.

 Pines Stewards celebrate Cindy and Noelle completing the Master Watershed Steward Training Course!  Front Row: Cindy, Noelle, Michelle; Back Row: Ann, Ellen, Martin, Alice, Jim, Pat

Pines Stewards celebrate Cindy and Noelle completing the Master Watershed Steward Training Course!

Front Row: Cindy, Noelle, Michelle; Back Row: Ann, Ellen, Martin, Alice, Jim, Pat


2. Training of 2 Master Watershed Stewards: COMPLETED!

In October 2017, Cindy Hall and Noelle Chao began taking WSA’s annual Master Watershed Steward Certification Course.  Over a series of 11 sessions, Cindy and Noelle learned about rainscaping practices that reduce stormwater runoff and became familiar with the grants and permits necessary for getting big projects in the ground.  This November, they will officially graduate from the course and become certified Master Watershed Stewards for Pines on the Severn. If you have any concerns about drainage or runoff issues in Pines, please don’t hesitate to contact them.

3. Training of 10-15 Community Stewards: COMPLETED!  

Between December 2017 to February 2018, 15 Community Stewards completed a four-session training, during which they learned about best practices for reducing pollution sources and runoff in the Pines.  Community Stewards have worked hard to organize outreach events that have raised awareness about different actions that all of us can take to help keep Chase Creek and the Severn River clean. Our Community Stewards include Jim & Alice Corey, Dayna & Asha Myers, Jason & Laura Toraldo, Dan & Lauren Weirauch, and Pat Leffler, Michelle Montalbano, Ann O’Malley, Debby Roberts, Laurie Pasieka, Ellen Posten, and Martin Wittel.


4. 20% of Household Adopt Habits that Help: COMPLETED AND CONTINUING!

Since Spring, Pines Stewards have been asking residents to sign a pledge to adopt at least two of four “Habits that Help,” which will reduce pollution in our neighborhood.  The four habits we are asking Pines residents to consider adopting are

  • Caring for Septic Systems

  • Disposing of Pet Waste

  • Protecting Canopy Trees

  • Maintaining Leaves

By adopting two, three, or all four of these simple habits, we can GREATLY REDUCE the amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, and bacteria that enter the Chesapeake Bay.

Currently, over 20% of residents in Pines have signed the pledge.  Our team believes that we can do even better, and will continue to collect pledges through the rest of the calendar year.  If you would like to sign the pledge, please contact Ann O’Malley.

 April planting day at Lynne Seach’s home Front: Noelle and Cindy Back: Zoe Clarkwest, WSA’s Restoration Coordinator who designed the rainscaping projects in Pines, and Lynne Seach.

April planting day at Lynne Seach’s home
Front: Noelle and Cindy
Back: Zoe Clarkwest, WSA’s Restoration Coordinator who designed the rainscaping projects in Pines, and Lynne Seach.


5. 10 Rainscaping Projects Installed: 90% COMPLETE! Almost There!

In April 2018, Cindy, Noelle, and their classmates in the 2017-18 Master Watershed Steward Training Course installed two conservation landscapes at the home of Pines resident Lynne Seach.  In June 2018, rainscaping projects were installed at eight homes throughout the neighborhood. Practices included plantings on slopes and hillsides to address erosion concerns, installations of rain barrels to slow down the flow of runoff from downspouts, and landscaping with deep-rooted native plants which have the capacity to absorb a tremendous amount of stormwater.  This fall, installation of the final plantings will begin at the home of Tom and Debbie Carrico. Once the Carrico projects are in the ground, we will have completed all of WSA’s benchmarks, and officially be a Clean Water Community!