In March of 2007 “blacktop” removal at the end of Lincoln Drive, just off Chinquapin Round Road, in the industrial area was completed. This location is about 50 feet from the origin of Spa Creek.
The fact that Spa Creek starts under the industrial park as a large stormwater outlet is mostly unknown.
This project is of interest and unique for many reasons. The idea started with Eastern Petroleum Corporation's CEO wanting to do something to clean up the stormwater coming off the company's parking lot. He is affiliated with South River Federation, who asked Spa Creek Conservancy (the watershed stewards) to partner with the Federation to obtain a grant from Chesapeake Bay Trust and bring the City in as a partner.
The grant request was approved. Eastern Petroleum made a substantial matching cash donation for all the plant materials. Alderwoman Classie Hoyle involved the adjoining Forest Villa community in the endeavor.
The property in question belongs to the adjoining business, DL Miller Backhoe Services, whose owner gave us permission to proceed.
The City provided in-kind Department of Neighborhood and Environmental Programs and Department of Public Works technical support and excavation crews and equipment. This partnership is part of the Mayor’s commitment to “leading by example” in keeping with Annapolis’ emphasis on being an environmental role model for small cities.
This project is a showcase for the businesses in the industrial park. The Conservancy is encouraging them to take similar actions to clean up their own properties. Dozens of troublesome sites were recently identified in the Spa Creek Headwaters Subwatershed Restoration Management Plan developed by the Center for Watershed Protection for the Conservancy.
The planting of the rain garden and dedication was part of a GreenScape event on April 21, 2007. In addition to providing an aesthetically pleasing street-end park garden for the neighborhood, the bioretention area will incorporate the existing three storm drains. The first inch plus of stormwater runoff, containing 70% of the pollutants, coming from the acre-plus of impervious surfaces (parking lots, roofs, etc.) will now be treated and filtered before entering the creek. The CWP predicts a reduction of at least 38% in undesirable phosphorous entering the creek after completion!
The rain garden was planted on April 21, 2007, by a group of volunteers from the Lincoln Drive neighborhood, the Spa Creek Conservancy, the South River Federation, and other community minded citizens from other parts of the city. The native plants bloomed and prospered all summer (thanks to volunteers who kept them watered).
Even more important, the rain garden filters stormwater runoff from the Chinquapin Industrial Park's many driveways, roof tops, parking lots and streets.
The water that flows into the rain garden makes its way to a large culvert which forms the origin of Spa Creek. Now that water is filtered and the creek will be off to a better, cleaner start. The Center for Watershed Protection predicts a reduction of at least 38% in undesirable phosphorous entering the creek because of the rain garden.
This project exemplifies the partnering of funding public trusts, local government, citizen volunteer environmental organizations, communities, and environmentally sensitive businesses -- all at no direct cost to the taxpayer. This model must be used many times over if we are to save and protect our precious watersheds, and the Bay.