Stormwater Committee Meeting
March 9, 2009

Members Attending:
Ed Murtagh (Chair)
Ann Hoffnar
Kit Gage
Jenny Reed
Heather Phipps (by phone)
Diane Cameron

Melinda Villanueva, Columbia Union College
Fergal Murphy, friend/neighbor of Diane’s who is interested in rain garden installation and community education about stormwater
Elaine Lamirande, NNWB and the Woodmoor Green Team

The Two Grants
Most of the meeting was devoted to the two rain garden grants and their implementation.

Ed pointed out that there are several steps that cannot be overlooked, including getting a signed homeowners agreement on file for every raingarden we include. Kit has developed a check list which can be used by all those overseeing particular projects to make sure we haven’t forgotten anything. For example, all properties need a perc test, before and after photos, the homeowner’s neighborhood association.

We are getting a really big response, which is what we want but gives us a lot to do. And we have to move quickly. There are several raingardens already promised and the homeowners have been waiting through the winter. Those need to be built as soon as possible. Ed wants to get at least some gardens installed this Spring.

Things are happening in Takoma Park. Kit is talking to community associations, she and others are doing site assessments and we have a big community meeting at the Community Center coming up later this month.

Holly sent an email prior to the meetings saying that she has about 10 FECA residents interested in rain gardens this year. She and Kristen will be going out to do site assessments this weekend or next. She has not moved forward on a FECA green team yet.

Heather’s civic association is interested. They are planning a kick-off meeting for the association Green Team soon. They may also have a community meeting about rainscapes. Heather wants to include the garden club they are trying to form, which is probably a very good idea.

Long range, we want this demonstration to promote jobs for garden designers and installers–to develop a market for designing and building raingardens and other LID methods. We want to get nurseries to grow more natives. It is hard to find the natives we need for present raingardens and if the interest grows many more plants will be needed. To be effective in creating green collar jobs, this effort will need to spread beyond the Sligo Creek watershed. First step though is the successful implementation of this effort.

Columbia Union College
Melinda talked about the stormwater problems at the College, which is in Takoma Park. She walked through the campus with Jenny and Kit today. There are major runoff problems at the school which the City of Takoma Park would like to see corrected. Melinda teaches a class in environmental science and would like to have the students do research about stormwater right on their own campus. Working toward solving these stormwater problems would be a major big deal for Takoma Park and the school. The work required will be significant, beyond the simple rain gardens we are installing. We are excited about Melinda’s ideas and ready to help.

Valerie Ervin to Speak to Friends
Valerie Ervin, member of the County Council and also of the Board of the Chesapeake Bay Trust, will be our guest on March 16th for a program meeting. Ed has several areas of interest to our committee which he intends to approach with her. Ed, Jenny, Diane and Kit are hoping to schedule a conference call with Valerie’s assistant Ben Stutz before the event to brief him before the program meeting. Valerie is interested in working with FOSC on community gardens.

February 24th RainScapes Implementation Meeting
Ed reported on this meeting. Ann English was introduced. She will be handling the RainScapes Rebates Program. Pam will focus on the targeted neighborhoods. DEP will be supporting us with maintenance needs on RainScapes projects on public property. The Rebate Program has been updated with the documentation process changed for rain gardens. Now you will be able to submit a simplified rain garden application for pre-approval. Other changes have been made as well. Signage was discussed and DEP is working on a Homeowner’s Manual.

minutes by Ed Murtagh and Ann Hoffnar