Baltimore, MD - February 02, 2018: In the latest podcast of Roughly Speaking, Dan Rodricks of The Baltimore Sun visits a beaver dam at Bee Tree Run, speaks with Mike Callahan, the founder of the Beaver Institute, Frances Backhouse, the Author of "Once they were hats: In search of the mighty beaver”, and Scott McGill, the founder & CEO of Ecotone.
Almost wiped out centuries ago by fur trappers, beavers have made a comeback in North America, including the Mid-Atlantic and the Chesapeake Region. While many see them as a nuisance -- slayers of trees, builders of dams that flood roads and farm land -- biologists and natural resource managers see good in the beaver comeback. Their dams create rich habitat for other mammals and fish while filtering sediment and damaging nutrients from waters that flow to the Chesapeake Bay.
"This is what Chesapeake Bay restoration, wildlife habitat, ecological diversity, and ecosystem services look like. It's free", says Scott McGill. "We need to allow these ecosystem engineers to do what they do." You can listen to this 42 minute podcast via The Baltimore Sun or on your preferred podcast App.
Please do share your thoughts about the role of Beavers in our ecosystem. If you need assistance with wetlands, streams, or beaver management on your property then do reach out to the restoration experts at Ecotone.
In reconstructing the stream, Ecotone shaped a winding path, brought in large rocks and set logs in the stream in key places, all to slow the water down as it carried through the farm. With a laugh, the Balls said during construction, they joked with friends and neighbors that they were building a “lazy river” as a new on-farm attraction.
“It was awesome to see them make it and how they put it in,” Darlene said. Along with the environmental repairs, Ralph said the fencing and crossings has helped him with rotational grazing. On their Locust Hill Farm, the Balls raise about 80 beef cattle and have a dairy herd of about 40 Holsteins. “I can rotate the cattle better,” Ralph said. “If I want to block them from different areas, I can do that better.”
The Balls partnered with the Harford County Soil Conservation District which secured a Maryland Department of Natural Resources grant and funding from USDA’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program for the project. The project, along with other best management practices they employ on their farm, garnered the Balls much recognition last year, receiving Cooperator of the Year honors at the district and state levels and also being selected by DNR as its 2016 Wildlife Farmer of the Year.
Several duck boxes were installed along the new stream path and in the restored wetlands and trees were planted throughout the fenced area. Ralph said ducks have come back to the area and as the trees grow, he said more wildlife species will find the area.
Bill Tharpe, Harford County SCD manager said while the area provides some habitat now, the wildlife benefit will increase over time.
“The vegetation is going to provide insect habitat which is going to work it’s way up the food chain,” Tharpe said. “The majority of these benefits is still yet to come.” Restoration projects like the Ball’s show one half of the tricky balance farmers have to keep in managing wildlife on their farms.
Whether it’s deer on Delmarva, or bears in Western Maryland, farmers region-wide have nuisance issues with wildlife to contend with while trying to promote habitat for species that are being pushed out. “Anything in balance is good, I think.” Darlene said. “You need a certain amount of everything but when it gets to be too many of one or another it gets to be a nuisance.”
On Locust Hill Farm, the Balls lost five calves to coyote attacks last year until Ralph brought in a trapper. Foxes scamper across wrapped hay bales leading to decay in the bales. Ralph said an avid hunting program — and traffic whizzing by on MD Route 155 — has helped keep deer in check on their farms but they have seen neighbors’ crops decimated. Black headed vultures are also a continual threat to new calves and as a protected species, it leaves the Balls and farmers like them with less options for control. “It’s sad. They’re worse than the coyotes now,” Darlene said.
Article by Sean Clougherty, The Delmarva Farmer. To read the article please visit the American Farm Publications' website at http://bit.ly/2snrSFA
ECOLOGICAL RESTORATION ENHANCES WATER QUALITY IN CHESAPEAKE BAY - Sustainable Stream Restoration Techniques Improve Habitat and Reduce Restoration Costs In Baltimore County
As part of their sustainable approach to restoration, the Ecotone’s team constrained itself to using natural materials obtained on-site and minimized the use of imported materials. This helped substantially curtail transportation costs while increasing the project’s sustainability through native species and legacy sediment gravel. Ecotone utilized a state-of-the-art gravel screener to sift riffle material and used sod, which the company prepped and planted in an adjacent field a year before the start of the project, rather than coir matting that typically is imported from outside the United States.
"By implementing our “less is more” approach to stream restoration we reduced project costs, minimized our carbon footprint, and kept heavy equipment off local roadways," said Scott McGill, founder and CEO of Ecotone. "We think this project could serve as a model for sustainable ecological restoration. Not only did we complete the project at half the cost of traditional engineering approaches, but we helped improve the water quality in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.”
“The stream has been running clearer than at any time in recent memory and the aquatic life has increased noticeably,” said Henry Pitts, Property Manager of First Mine Run. “I would highly recommend ecological restoration to other landowners as it will enhance property values, decrease flooding and storm damage, provide increased wildlife habitat and insure horticultural diversity for many years to come.”
To learn more, download the Press release.
Article by Jane Bellmyer, Cecil Whig. To read the article please visit the CecilDaily website at http://bit.ly/2BkvET6
ECOTONE NAMED IN THE INC. 5000 LIST OF AMERICA’S FASTEST GROWING PRIVATE COMPANIES - Ranked #15 AMONG TOP ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES COMPANIES
We are excited and humbled to be recognized for our growth by the Inc. Magazine”, said Scott McGill, Ecotone’s Founder and CEO. “The Inc. 5000 award validates our efforts to partner with local government, nonprofit organizations, and private entities to facilitate sustainable ecological restoration in the Chesapeake Bay”. Our growing team is committed to solving complex environmental challenges and continue to be the model for sustainable and innovative restoration throughout the United States”.
The companies in the Inc. 5000 list have generated $206 Billion in aggregate revenue and in the past three years created 619,500 jobs. To support the national economy, in 2017, Ecotone generated over 10 Million in revenue and added over 30 new jobs to the ecological restoration industry.
Founded in 1998, Ecotone is a Harford County based ecological restoration company that designs and builds sustainable ecosystems to reduce erosion of stream banks, manage stormwater, conserve and restore wetlands, and restore forests. Ecotone provides full-delivery ecosystem restoration, mitigation, design, construction, and consulting solutions throughout the United States. With over 19 years of experience, Ecotone has restored over 1,200 acres of land and over 130,000 linear feet of stream using sustainable restoration techniques.
To learn more, please download the Press Release
SUSTAINABLE ECOLOGICAL RESTORATION COMES TO VIRGINIA - ECOTONE RESPONDS TO MARKET DEMAND BY OPENING NEW OFFICE IN CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA
To learn more, download the Press Release.
"When it rains, like Thursday, all the stormwater from Howard Park, Baltimore Pike, goes into the storm drains and into Plumtree Run," Kline said. "Throughout the years, it has eroded the banks and the banks aren't slowing down the water and filtering the water before it goes into the Bay."
When the project is completed, the banks and plantings along the banks will help absorb and filter those chemicals that come off the impervious surfaces in town, Kline said.
The town received a $411,495 grant from DNR through the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund to do the work. Ecotone, Inc., of Forest Hill, is the contractor. The town paid $89,980 for the design of the project, piggybacking on a contract with Harford County Public Schools, Kline said.
Kline said the town was fortunate to get the grant, as only $20 million in grant money was available with $70 million in requests submitted for trust fund grants. "We're very fortunate we got this first one. We're very, very, very happy," he said. This project will help the town treat about 12 acres of its impervious surfaces, helping it meet an expected mandate from the state that the towntreat 20 percent of its impervious surfaces in the next five years.
For Bel Air, with 800 acres of impervious surface, that's 160 acres to treat to prevent nutrients and other pollutants from getting into local streams and, eventually, into the bay. Plumtree Run's restoration began on the other side of Baltimore Pike several years ago, with the daylighting of the stream between Thomas and George streets.
Kline said he drove by that section of the stream Thursday while it rained to make sure it was working properly.
"It used to flood a lot at George Street. Now you can't really see the water. It's going through real slow, through the natural environment of plants and grasses," he said. "It's doing exactly what it's supposed to be doing, going through a filtering system, which prevents erosion."
Article by Erika Butler, The Aegis. To learn more, please visit Baltimore Sun at http://bsun.md/2t619IL
Laura Gardner, an engineer with CWP, said slowing down the stormwater will eliminate erosion and enhance the park. That will be accomplished with step pools in the stream and retention areas. “We’re going to capture the sediment coming off the ball fields ... which should help contain some of the runoff and make a nice feature for the park,” Gardner said of the planned bioswale.
Jon Stewart, restoration designer for Ecotone, said the park would remain open throughout construction because the bulk of the work would occur away from the playground equipment and the popular areas along the stream. However, visitors need to stay clear of the construction areas.
Commissioner Augie Pierson asked if it would be possible to erect signage in the park to explain the project. He reasoned that could help the public understand what is happening and why.
Dave Warnick, the town commissioner overseeing the project, said that, when completed, visitors will notice that the area in between the picnic pavilion and the basketball courts is drier, the banks of the stream are stabilized and there are more places for children to play along and explore the stream. An added bonus is the project could save the Rising Sun Little League some money. “The retention area will allow us to capture some of the soil from the Little League field and put it back,” Warnick said, adding that the special material added to the infield costs the league about $1,000 a ton.
Stewart said when trees are cut down the wood will not leave the park. “Any tree we remove will get used in construction,” he said.
Wood-based riprap and other water diversion methods is what would become of the lumber.
Rising Sun has received almost $783,000 in grants for the project. The bulk of that came from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and its Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund.
“DNR wants to spend their money where the kids have access and can interact with the environment,” said Bryan Seipp, CWP watershed manager. The day he gave the state agency a tour of the proposed project there were children playing in the stream, which he views as the proof of the project’s validity.
Warnick said that activity was key. “We know kids play in that stream,” Warnick said. “That’s why we put a splash zone in the design.”
Article by Jane Bellmyer, The Cecil Whig. To learn more, please visit The Cecil Whip newspaper at http://bit.ly/2rDCmex
Ecotone concurs with GreenGive's approach at fostering collaboration to help organizations share resources and ideas, learn new approaches, engage others in their causes and coordinate actions across sectors to achieve high impact. Ecotone has donated $500 to support the water-focused, environmental non-profits that are part of the GreenGive initiative. These non-profits include the Annapolis Green, Back Creek Conservancy, Friends of Anne Arundel County, Our Creeks and Conservancy, St. Luke’s Restoration of Nature Project, Spa Creek Conservancy, Scenic Rivers Land Trust, Severn River Association, South River Federation, Watershed Stewards Academy and the West/Rhode Riverkeeper.
“We are challenging our supporters to recognize that the more we work together and the more we give, the more we will accomplish,” Suzanne Kilby Etgen, executive director of the Anne Arundel Watershed Stewards Academy, and a lead coordinator of GreenGive said. “Real change requires a true collective effort. We want our community members to become fully engaged in the great programs underway in Anne Arundel County to restore local waterways, ensure clean water, protect trails and lands, and establish Anne Arundel County as an exemplary urban watershed. We will be encouraging constituents to broaden their interests and become more engaged in all of our work.”
“We support the efforts of non-profits to restore ecological functions in Anne Arundel County and within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed,” said Scott McGill, CEO of Ecotone, Inc. “These grassroots efforts will help create awareness, raise funds and engage the community. To support GreenGive’s noble efforts, Ecotone has donated $500 to the environmental non-profits in Anne Arundel County.”
To learn more and donate to the GreenGive initiative, please visit http://bit.ly/2ryhwS
Many sites within the town were developed prior to the consideration of stormwater runoff and its effects on water quality. A project description document indicated that impervious cover from these sites, including buildings, parking lots and driveways, transport a variety of contaminants that may degrade water quality. Over time, the volume of water that has run off has created areas of severe sediment erosion.
Sebra said the town wanted to do its part beyond future development and redevelopment to serve as an example of what a locality can do to protect and enhance water quality. Project expenses totaled approximately $374,000, however there is no cost to the town, said Sebra. “By stopping the erosion problem…we can reduce pollution into the Rappahannock and the Chesapeake Bay,” said Richard Moncure of Friends of the Rappahannock.
A formal plan began in 2013 to begin the process of improving Kilmarnock’s stormwater runoff at two prioritized sites. The first location, the Sal’s site, is in a wooded area between 466 and 488 North Main Street. James Beane and Richard Russell own the property. The runoff from some 11.57 acres of land flows through this one location. The second site is adjacent to Lancaster Middle School at 85 School Street. The property is owned by the Town of Kilmarnock and Northern Neck LLC and runoff from 17 acres flows through this location. Both sites are within the Eastern Branch of the Corrotoman River Watershed.
“The head cuts in Kilmarnock were created by many years of runoff from impervious surfaces in and around the town and were continually getting bigger as more erosion occurred,” said nonpoint source specialist Sam Johnson of the Northern Neck Soil and Water Conservation District.
This project will reduce sediment and nutrient pollution by stabilizing and reshaping nearly 1,000 linear feet of headwater stream reaches, which is expected to cause reductions of 812 tons per year of sediment, 706 pounds per year of total nitrogen and 280 pounds per year of phosphorus.
The project also will improve groundwater and surface water hydrology by slowing down water runoff, increasing infiltration and creating wetlands. It will reduce risks to infrastructure and safety by stabilizing channels and reducing stormwater runoff velocity and improve physical habitat for a headwater biotic community. This project will preserve existing native vegetation and provide transferable materials for other regional restoration efforts and provide educational lessons by conducting events for various groups and students.
The contractor on the project, Ecotone Inc., indicated that there are 500 tons of boulder type rocks and 250 tons of smaller rip rap between the two sites. “This size project is significant and we have not seen a practice of such scope in the area before. We applaud the town for making such an effort to protect water quality,” said Johnson.
Sebra said the project has been an educational experience for local sixth-grade classes. Their environmental science lesson included hands on experience with erosion and how stormwater can contribute pollutants into the water. This shows how a locality can step in and help protect water quality, said Sebra.
“Kilmarnock is embracing and showcasing that they are a premiere river town,” said Moncure.
Organizations that have supported and have been a part of this project are the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Ecosystem Services, Ecotone Inc., Virginia Department of Environmental Equality, Friends of the Rappahannock, Center for Watershed Protection, the Northern Neck Soil and Water Conservation District, Friends of Lancaster, Northern Neck Planning District Commission, Virginia Department of Transportation and Lancaster County.
Article by Madison White Franks , Rappahannock Record. To learn more, please visit http://bit.ly/2tNrehl
Ecotone provides Financial Support TO educational outreach program
Matthew Pine, CTE supervisor for Washington County Public Schools, and Ginger Noble, Washington County Soil Conservation District/Maryland Department of Agriculture, presented the awards for the overall first-, second- and third-place teams. The Boonsboro Maple Tappers placed first in the competition and also took top honors in soils. The team will participate in the Maryland State Envirothon on Thursday, June 15, and Friday, June 16, at Camp Pecometh in Queen Anne’s County, Md. There, they will compete for the chance to go to the NCF Envirothon in July at Mt. Saint Mary’s University in Frederick County, Md.
Team members spent many hours preparing for the event and are looking forward to representing Washington County at the state level of competition. Boonsboro Envirothon coaches Steve Garland, Rebecca Sager and Quinn Cashell are proud of their team’s performance at this year’s event. Team members are Hannah Whitmore, Jacob Zielinski, Zach Kotch, Brandon Cartee and Sara Bittinger. The Trailblazers 1 from Clear Spring High School placed second at the event. Team members are Sean Little, Ryan Weaver, Josh Davis, Taylor Thomas and Cole Breakall. The Pirates of Ozone from Boonsboro High School placed third at the event, thanks to team members Chris Li, Owen King, Dalton Crampton, Victoria Arnold and Grace Moore. The team also placed first in aquatics. Other winners included Hancock Team 1, which took first place in forestry and fifth issue; and Boonsboro team 6, first in wildlife.
The Washington County Envirothon is an educational outreach program of the Washington County Soil Conservation District, in cooperation with Washington County Public Schools. Staff from the Washington County Soil Conservation District, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, University of Maryland Cooperative Extension Service, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Maryland Agricultural Education Foundation and the Maryland Department of Agriculture provided resource professionals for training and testing of participants.
To learn more, please visit Hearal Mail Media at http://bit.ly/2sSXpMr
"The Center for Watershed Protection wants every community in our country to have clean water and healthy natural resources," said Hye Yeong Kwon, executive director of the Center for Watershed Protection. "In order to achieve that vision, nonprofit, private and government organizations must work together and demonstrate innovation, initiative and excellence. This award recognizes emerging leaders and visionaries from across the country who have used innovative practices to improve our water."
"We are thrilled and honored to receive this award from an organization so well respected and impactful as the Center for Watershed Protection," said Scott McGill, Founder and CEO of Ecotone. "We are proud of our employees and the important ecological restoration work that they are putting into practice into our local streams. We will continue to strive to be the model for sustainable and innovative restoration within the Chesapeake Bay watershed and the greater Mid-Atlantic region."
The Center for Watershed Protection Inc. is a nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering responsible land and water management through applied research, direct assistance to communities, award-winning training, and access to a network of experienced professionals. It was founded in 1992 and is headquartered in Howard County with several offices throughout the country.
To learn more, please visit http://bit.ly/2tv4YIp
This partnership with Ecotone, enacted through a Memorandum of Agreement, has allowed the HSCD to effortlessly explore new funding sources and cost-effectively execute agricultural Best Management Practices (BMPs) throughout Harford County. “Ecotone’s assistance with grant funding preparation and environmental [BMPs] design & construction has accelerated the restoration efforts to local tributaries leading to the Chesapeake Bay.” says Bill Tharpe, District Manager.
Because many of these projects are located on private property, Ecotone’s technical grant assistance has allowed access to innovative funding without requiring landowner expense. This cooperative agreement alleviates additional burden from HSCD, while continuing steady project implementation to improve water quality for the Chesapeake Bay.
“The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is fortunate that we are able to participate in a partnership with the local Soil Conservation District, a knowledgeable ecological consulting firm [Ecotone], and a landowner to achieve the mutual goal of restoring valuable natural resources and enhancing wildlife habitat,” says Kevin Smith, Deputy Director of Restoration, Finance, and Policy for the Chesapeake and Coastal Services unit at DNR. Since 2015, the HSCD has been awarded $6 million in funding from DNR and the Chesapeake Bay Trust to design and/or construct the restoration of approximately 21,000 linear feet of stream and 11 acres of wetland, to create shallow water wetland developments and to plant riparian forest buffers.
“Public-private partnerships are becoming an important venture for Soil Conservation Districts,” says Lee McDaniel, Past President of the National Association of Conservation Districts and Chairman of Harford Soil Conservation District Board. “The Harford SCD and Ecotone, Inc. have collaborated on 40+ restoration projects over the last decade to improve water quality within the local tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay.”
Innovatively pushing beyond BMPs, the Soil Conservation District has decided to include stream stabilization, wetland restoration, and shallow water wetland development throughout its restoration efforts. This comprehensive tactic not only reduces nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment entering the Chesapeake Bay, but also enhances agricultural productivity by decreasing erosion, minimizing fertilizer costs, and enriching soils.
“Because wetland resources are diminished or degraded in so many areas of our State, it is doubly important to demonstrate sound ecological restoration in a working farm environment.” continues Smith.
The Harford Soil Conservation District has experienced emblazoned success for the agricultural community of Harford County, specifically implementing alternative BMPs to improve nutrient and sediment load reductions. With new funding opportunities on the horizon, the HSCD is asking all Harford County landowners seeking information or assistance with any and all agricultural management needs to contact the HSCD to discuss options and schedule a cost-free consultation on your property.
For more information, please contact: Leslie Zink, Harford Soil Conservation District, (410) 838 -6181, email@example.com; or Jessica Cherewich, Ecotone, Inc., (410) 420-2600, firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more, please visit The Dagger at http://bit.ly/2ujfrXt
Article by By Bill Tharpe and Jackie Koehn. To learn more, please visit National Association of Conservation Districts at https://t.co/2FPImnxTpe
Harford County, MD - Decades of prior agricultural practices and livestock presence had left farmland within the Deer Creek Watershed inundated and unproductive, reducing the land to cattle grazing pasture. In 2013, Maryland’s new nutrient management laws threatened profitable use of a particular Deer Creek Watershed farm, causing the landowner to contact the Harford Soil Conservation District (HSCD) in search of a solution. Through their local partnership, the HSCD and Ecotone, Inc., were able to propose an 18-acre wetland restoration project, implementing 3 shallow water wetland developments, simultaneously creating 3.5 acres of viable waterfowl hunting habitat.
An estimated 300 feet of a stream that is buried under Plumtree Park in Bel Air will soon see "daylight" again. The portion of the stream was buried under Plumtree Park in the 1950s, when the areas around it were developed, according to the news release from Ecotone Inc., which is working on the project.
The stream runs through a concrete culvert pipe between Thomas and George Street and is not a habitat for any fish, amphibians or reptiles. But a project about to begin will "daylight" the stream, according to the release from Ecotone, the restoration firm that is parterning with the Harford Soil Conversation District and the Town of Bel Air for the project. The stream often overflows into neighboring properties, according to the release.
With the daylighting, which the company called "true stream restoration," the culvert pipe will be replaced and a meandering stream, with riffles, pools and native trees and shrubs, will be recreated. Although it will appear to be an ordinary stream, there will be a bioengineered streambank, complete with Ecotone-designed rock, natural fiber matting and live branches, to make sure the stream "remains in a natural state indefinitely."
The benefits of the daylighting include improved water quality, restoration of a wildlife habitat and reduced flooding, according to the release. Once the stream is restored, the town of Bel Air will plant 80 trees and shrubs on the banks to create a "forested stream corridor," according to the release. This particular project is four years in the making among the three agencies and is part of the town's overall renovation of Plumtree Park. Funding for this portion is through a National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grant to improve water quality in the Chesapeake Bay, according to the release.
The daylighting entails excavating the existing drain pipe, which carries stormwater from an inlet at Thomas Street, according to Bel Air Public Works Director Randy Robertson. Through this project, which he wrote in an e-mail will cost $157,000, drainage will be improved at the park and adjacent properties. The funding comes from a Department of Natural Resources grant, he added. In addition to that project, Robertson also wrote that the town will replace the existing pipe culvert under George Street with a new, larger one. The 24-inch pipes there now cannot carry the amount of water flow from "significant rain events" and cause the water to back up into the park, according to Robertson. This $333,000 project is funded by money from the Community Development Block Grant program and the Department of Natural Resources Parks and Playgrounds grant, Robertson wrote.
Once the project starts, which is expected by the end of June, George Street at the culvert will be closed for approximately 90 days to through traffic, although local residents will have access, according to Robertson. Construction on both projects is expected to begin within the next several weeks, he added.
To learn more, please visit: http://bsun.md/2s8XnBp
2120 High Point Rd, Forest Hill MD 21050
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Any trademark, company, product and service names used in this website are for informational purposes only. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
© COPYRIGHT 2017. Ecotone, Inc. ®. All Rights Reserved.
Any trademark, company, product and service names used in this website are for informational purposes only. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.