On June 14, 2008, the Conservancy joined with Heritage Baptist Church, 1740 Forest Drive, to plant shrubs and other plants in seven rain gardens on church property. The church to filter storm water runoff coming from Forest Drive and the church's parking lot, near the Creek’s origin. More than 50 volunteers -- Conservancy members and Church members -- worked together to plant over 1300 shrubs in one morning. Trees will be planted in the fall.
This major initiative, representing over $100,000 in materials and labor on church property, is being funded by a grant awarded to the Conservancy by the Chesapeake Bay Trust. Heritage Baptist Church is a big piece of property.
The rain gardens—also called bio-retention areas—planters and trees will help to slow and cool the flow of water into the creek, filter its contaminants by infiltration into the soil and generally improve the Creek’s health at its headwaters. Working with the Conservancy in this stewardship initiative gives church members the opportunity to learn about storm water issues and to participate in a very direct, hands-on manner.
As the project began, Rev. Henry Green of Heritage Baptist said, “We are thrilled to join with the Spa Creek Conservancy on this project. Stewardship of the Earth is one of our most sacred missions. This effort allows us to make a positive difference in our own back yard, literally, while teaching our youngest members the importance of environmental work.”
“The Conservancy is pleased to have an enthusiastic partner in the Church,” said Mel Wilkins, Conservancy Project Manager. “This parcel of land is quite big and using it to infiltrate and treat storm water runoff before it ever reaches the Creek is a big step forward in moving toward our goal of having a swimable, fishable Spa Creek.”
While the initiative at the Church represents the bulk of the $159,900 Targeted Watershed Initiative Grant awarded to the Conservancy by the Chesapeake Bay Trust, “the license plate people,” and its funding partners, the grant also will include other initiatives in the Spa Creek watershed including reforestation of woodlands at the Weems - Whalen Athletic Park complex, water quality monitoring, and public awareness, and the “Spa Creek Steward” recognition program.
The Conservancy is bringing in the Center for Watershed Protection to guide the development of a business incentive program to encourage businesses in the watershed to implement storm water mitigation practices on their properties. The grant will be used to implement several critical programs supporting the SCC mission of preservation, restoration, mitigation, and education as the stewards of Spa Creek. The Chesapeake Bay Trust provides grant funding for on-the-ground Chesapeake Bay restoration projects throughout Maryland, reaching thousands of students, organizations and community leaders