Learn about Invasive Plants at Port Tobacco River Park

Marc Imlay

PTRC members are invited to join local native plant expert Mark Imlay on Saturday, July 14, at 9:30 a.m., for a walk at Port Tobacco River Park, 7685 Chapel Point Rd, Port Tobacco MD 20677. Mark will help us to identify invasive plants in the park and discuss strategies for their control. We will stay on the trails, but dress to protect yourself from poison ivy and insects, and don’t forget to bring drinking water.

Next Shoreline Cleanup Is Sunday, July 8

Volunteer at shoreline cleanup

Join us Sunday, July 8, at Chapel Point State Park, 8160 Pisces Rd., Port Tobacco MD 20677, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. for our next shoreline cleanup. Meet us at the parking lot for the boat launch area, where we will provide bags, gloves, water, and snacks. Come out to enjoy the park and help make our river more beautiful.

Join Us Thursday, May 17, for Two Exciting Speakers

Ryan Abrahamson of Terrain360 will tell us how he is creating a 360 degree visual guide of the Port Tobacco River using surface-level image mapping. The project is funded through the Charles County Department of Recreation, Parks, and Tourism.

John Snow, Charles County’s Chief of Parks and Grounds, will update us on how the County is working to improve access roads, parking areas, and waterfront recreation areas at Chapel Point State Park through the Chapel Point State Park Strategic Management Partnership Plan with Maryland DNR.

The program is free and open to the public and will take place at the Historic Port Tobacco Courthouse, 8430 Commerce Street, Port Tobacco, MD 20677, from 6:30 to 9:00 pm. Complimentary beer, wine, soft drinks, and light refreshments will be served.

Is There a Solution for Failing Septic Systems in the Port Tobacco Watershed?

Join us Thursday, March 15, for a public program on funding sources such as the Bay Restoration Fund that may be available to address failing septic systems in the Port Tobacco River watershed. The program will feature speakers from the Charles County Office of Planning and Growth Management, the Town of La Plata, the Maryland Department of the Environment, and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

The U.S. Geological Survey and the Port Tobacco River Conservancy conducted surface and groundwater studies several years ago, http://porttobaccoriver.org/about-the-port-tobacco-river/surface-and-ground-water-study/ Sampling and analysis of soil sediment cores, groundwater, pore water and surface water showed how septic contaminants in groundwater could move through soil layers, discharge to intermittent streams in ravines, and be transported to the Port Tobacco River. These contaminants included enterococci bacteria, nitrates, ammonium and organic wastewater compounds. Soil conditions in many areas are such that septic pumping and nitrogen removal retrofits are not long-term solutions. Many of these communities are not near sewer mains, so homeowners in those communities cannot take advantage of current programs to connect individual homes to existing sewers.

The program will take place on Thursday, March 15, from 6:30 to 9:00 pm at the Historic Port Tobacco Courthouse, 8430 Commerce St, Port Tobacco MD 20677. The program is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.

PTRC Supports Legislation to Restrict the Sale of Foam Food Packaging

Trash at Chapel Point State Park

Every year, the Port Tobacco River Conservancy hosts a Potomac River Cleanup at Chapel Point State Park. This year’s cleanup is Saturday, April 14, and is a great opportunity for volunteers to make a difference in the community. Every year, foam packaging makes up a substantial portion of the trash we collect.

Expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam food packaging is a major component of the litter recovered during stream cleanups throughout Maryland’s waterways. Unlike other forms of packaging, EPS foam is impossible to fully clean up once it is thrown away. It is a petroleum-based product that does not biodegrade. Instead, it crumbles and breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces each time it is touched or disturbed. Once in the water, it will absorb 10 times more pesticides, fertilizers and chemicals than other kinds of plastic, increasing toxin exposure to fish and other aquatic animals, and potentially making its way into the food chain. It is not capable of being recycled in an environmentally effective or economically feasible manner.

PTRC supports a bill that has been introduced in the Maryland General Assembly to restrict the sale and use of EPS foam packaging in Maryland. Beginning January 1, 2019, HB 538 and SB 651 would prohibit food service businesses and institutions from serving food in EPS foam packaging (cups, plates, clamshells). The bill would also prohibit the retail sale of these products in the state. Grace periods for using up existing stock and state outreach programs would help businesses through the transition.

A 2017 study of retailers of varying sizes in Washington, D.C., after similar legislation was passed in 2016, found that retailers were able to offer other types of packaging at a comparable price, and did not experience ill effects due to the legislation.

Now is the time to encourage our legislators to reduce trash and litter pollution in our neighborhood streets, communities, and waterways, including the many Charles County streams, creeks, and rivers that flow to the Chesapeake Bay. Click here for contact information for Charles County Delegates Sally Y. Jameson, Edith Patterson, Susie Proctor, and C.T. Wilson. Click here for contact information for Senator Thomas “Mac” Middleton.

Don’t Miss Painter and Local Historian Don Zimmer on Thursday, January 18

Local historian and painter Don Zimmer returns to present his latest research, “Three Stories from the Port Tobacco River in the Mid-18th Century: Trade, the quest for religious freedom, and the slave trade.” Don will display four new paintings inspired by his research. Don’s presentation last year was standing room only! Complimentary beer, wine, soft drinks and light refreshments will be served. The program is free and open to the public.
Thursday, January 18, 6:30  to 9:00 p.m.
Historic Port Tobacco Courthouse
8430 Commerce St
Port Tobacco MD 20677

Meet La Plata Mayor Jeannine E. James

La Plata Mayor Jeannine E. James

Thursday, November 16, 2017
6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Historic Port Tobacco Courthouse, 8430 Commerce Street, Port Tobacco

Please join us as we welcome La Plata Mayor Jeannine E. James. Ms. James will discuss the Town’s efforts to protect water quality and improve public spaces in the Port Tobacco Watershed. A brief question and answer session will follow.

The event will be free and open to the public. Complimentary snacks, soft drinks, beer, and wine will be served.

For more information contact ptrc@porttobaccoriver.org or call (301) 934-2025.