Thanks for helping us protect the Port Tobacco River in 2016

Pumpkinseed Sunfish

There is so much to share with you about the Port Tobacco River Conservancy as 2016 comes to a close. As you know, protecting and preserving our watershed continues to be our goal, along with providing educational and community outreach programs. Let us share with you some of this year’s highlights.

  • Construction is complete at the new Meditation Garden at Christ Church, Port Tobacco Parish. The garden is a cooperative effort between the church and PTRC that converted an unused courtyard on the church grounds into a rain garden open to the public.
  • PTRC partnered with the Charles County Department of Recreation, Parks, and Tourism, Conservancy for Charles County, high school students, and local scout troops to plant 2700 native trees in the new Port Tobacco River Park.
  • We engaged community members in seven shoreline cleanups this summer at Chapel Point State Park, collecting hundreds of bags of trash and recyclable materials. We also conducted fish-sampling surveys at the Park, where we netted this beautiful pumpkinseed sunfish.
  • We have been working with the Maryland Park Service and the Charles County Department of Recreation, Parks, and Tourism as they develop a strategic management partnership plan for a portion of Chapel Point State Park.
  • PTRC is the beneficiary organization for an Eagle Scout Candidate project of planting 225 bald cypress seedlings near the Historic Port Tobacco Courthouse and installing four wood duck nesting boxes in the nearby swamp.

Requirements at the state and local level for cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay leave many tasks still to be completed. We remain committed to working with the County to take advantage of these opportunities for achieving success.

We are again asking for your generous support as we continue to move forward with our mission. You can donate online using the PayPal button on the sidebar, or by mail to PO Box 104, Port Tobacco MD 20677-0104.

We extend our many thanks and best wishes for the New Year to you all.

Your Chance to Comment on the Future of Chapel Point State Park

Beach at Chapel Point SP

The Maryland Park Service and the Charles County Department of Recreation, Parks, and Tourism have been working together to develop a strategic management partnership plan for a portion of Chapel Point State Park. The draft plan is now available at http://dnr.maryland.gov/publiclands/Pages/southern/chapelpoint.aspx .

Highlights of the plan include:

  • Repairing and maintaining existing roads and the park entrance
  • Supporting historic uses of the park by waterfowl hunters and fishermen
  • Evaluating and improving bird habitat, forest habitat, and water quality
  • Assessing areas of shoreline erosion that may need protection
  • Working with the Piscataway tribe to build on their interest in and connection to Chapel Point
  • Integrating recreational and tourism activities with Port Tobacco Village and Port Tobacco River Park
  • Maintaining and promoting passive recreation activities such as biking, beach-combing, kayaking, and bird watching
  • Improving staff presence and discouraging unauthorized activities
  • Addressing issues with trash and illegal dumping

Don’t miss this opportunity to be part of the process for improving the habitat and recreational potential of this beautiful park. Take a look at the full plan and submit your comments to Park Manager Patrick Bright of the Maryland Park Service at pat.brightjr@maryland.gov until October 19, 2016.

Learn How Meadow Restoration Benefits Birds and Water Quality

Grassland Chester River
Grassland at Chester River

Wednesday, November 2, 7:00 to 9:00 pm

Historic Port Tobacco Courthouse

8430 Commerce Street, Port Tobacco, MD 20677

PTRC and the Southern Maryland Audubon Society present a talk by Dan Small, Field Ecologist at the Center of Environment and Society at Washington College, “Native Grassland Restoration, Management and Avian Studies at the Chester River Research Station.” Dan will inform us of his latest efforts in working with landowners to add habitat to their land that will be beneficial for grassland birds as well as helping to improve water quality.

The Center for Environment and Society is located on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Its land-based research arm, the Chester River Field Research Station, conducts    research on breeding bird response to a long term grassland restoration project and also operates a migration banding station. During the summer months, Dan can be found out in the native warm season grassland leading undergraduate interns through the fields studying breeding grassland birds. He is a NABC certified trainer and has been banding and birding for around 15 years.

The program is free and open to the public. Light refreshments and complimentary beer, wine, and soft drinks will be served.

Our next cleanup will be Saturday, August 20

July Cleanup Crew

July’s cleanup crew had plenty of work to do, and with so many people enjoying the park we expect the August cleanup to be just as big a job.

Join us from 9 to 11 am to have fun and to help make our river more beautiful. We will provide gloves, trash/recycle bags, drinking water and snacks. The park is located at 8160 Pisces Rd, Port Tobacco MD 20677.

Please protect yourself from poison ivy. Also, if you would like to avoid the worst of the potholes, park on the farm road and walk down to the beach.

Your Chance to Show Some Love for Chapel Point State Park

Beach at Chapel Point SP

Please Come to the Public Information Meeting on August 4

Chapel Point is one of the most beautiful parks in Charles County, and is the only public access point on the Port Tobacco River. PTRC will be attending this meeting to advocate for improvements to the facilities there to improve public access and enjoyment for everyone who loves to swim, fish, kayak, boat, or otherwise enjoy the park. This is your chance to let the State and the County know what improvements you would like to see.

The Maryland Park Service and the Charles County Department of Recreation, Parks, and Tourism will hold a public meeting to discuss a strategic management partnership plan for Chapel Point State Park on Thursday, Aug. 4 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the County Commissioners’ Meeting Room at the Charles County Government Building (200 Baltimore Street, La Plata). Citizens wishing to make oral or written comments are encouraged to attend the meeting. Chapel Point State Park is located off of Chapel Point Road in Port Tobacco.

A partnership with the Maryland Park Service and the Charles County Department of Recreation, Parks, and Tourism is being proposed to enhance services for increased visitation and interest in the park’s existing and potential amenities. State and county staff will provide background information about the park along with general goals for the partnership at the public meeting.

The public is asked to identify specific management objectives, operational measures, and infrastructure improvements that would enhance the park. Following the open house, a strategic management partnership plan will be developed to facilitate the proposed partnership using public input.

For additional information, contact Mary Owens, Maryland Park Service at 410-260-8161 or Mary.Owens@maryland.gov or Greg Kernan, Charles County Department of Recreation, Parks, and Tourism at 301- 932-3472 KernanG@charlescountymd.gov. Citizens with special needs, contact the Maryland Relay Service at 711, or Relay Service TDD: 800-735-2258.

Learn What St. Mary’s College Students’ Analysis Tells Us About Port Tobacco Bird Populations

St. Mary's College report cover page

Join us Thursday, June 2, as researchers from St. Mary’s College of Maryland, the state’s public honors college, present the results of their Analysis of the Port Tobacco Christmas Bird Count.Thirty years of data have been analyzed to inform the relationship between open space, population, density and bird populations. Come and learn about our bird populations throughout the years and get a greater understanding of how important bird counts are.

The event is free and open to the public. We will offer complimentary beer, wine, soft drinks, and snacks. Hope to see you Thursday, June 2, at 7:00 pm at the Holiday Inn Express, 6860 Crain Hwy in La Plata.

 

Drinks, Snacks, and Fish Migration on April 7

Fish Ladder in Port Tobacco Creek
Fish Ladder in Port Tobacco Creek

Did you know there is a fish ladder in the Port Tobacco Creek at Route 6? A fish ladder is a structure that allows migratory fish, such as yellow perch and river herring, to bypass a barrier and migrate upstream to their spawning habitat.

Join us on Thursday, April 7, at 7:00 pm, as Jim Thompson, Fish Passage Coordinator for MD DNR, talks about the importance of fish passage and dam removal in Maryland for restoring migratory fish populations. Jim promises to “blow your mind” with information on how dam removals may be one of the best tools to restore the Chesapeake Bay.

The fish ladder itself is maintained by the State Highway Administration, and Bill Buettner of SHA’s Environmental Programs Division will tell us about SHA’s efforts to locate sites to mitigate impacts to wetlands, streams, forest and wildlife habitat.

The event is free and open to the public. We will offer complimentary beer, wine, soft drinks and snacks. Hope to see you at 7:00 on April 7 at the Holiday Inn Express, 6860 Crain Hwy in La Plata.

A Public Tree Planting Project – Port Tobacco River Park

Preserve Plant Play

 

Residents are invited to help plant trees along the Port Tobacco River as part of a month-long celebration of Earth Day. Grab the kids and join us for a few fun-filled hours of improving our local environment!
The Conservancy for Charles County and the Port Tobacco River Conservancy have partnered with Charles County Government to develop a natural tree buffer area to help protect the important wetlands that surround the Port Tobacco River. With the assistance of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Charles County recently acquired 149 acres of undeveloped land along the headwaters of this historic river. Initial plans call to convert the existing agricultural fields into natural forest buffer areas in an effort to create watershed protection and natural wildlife habitat. This public tree planting event is the first step towards that goal. In time, the Port Tobacco River Park will offer public access to hiking trails and outstanding wildlife viewing opportunities.
Four separate event dates are available:
• Saturday, April 2 9:00 a.m. – Noon
• Sunday, April 3 Noon – 3:00 p.m.
• Saturday, April 9 9:00 a.m. – Noon.
• Sunday, April 10 Noon – 3:00 p.m.
Due to parking limitations, preregistration is required. To sign-up, please call the Charles County Parks Division Office @ 301-932-3470 or register online using Volunteer Spot. Go to http://vols.pt/nZdkcc
Port Tobacco River Park is located on Chapel Point Road in Port Tobacco, Maryland (approximately 1 mile from Rte. 6). With the exception of special events, this park is currently not open for public access.

Join Us April 16 for the 28th Annual Potomac River Cleanup

Trash Free Potomac Network - Connecting for a Trash Free Watershed - Event - Port Tobacco River Cleanup at Chapel Point State Park 2015

Cleanup Is from 9 am to noon

The Port Tobacco River Conservancy is teaming up with the Alice Ferguson Foundation for the 28th Annual Potomac River Cleanup on Saturday, April 16, 2016.

We will be at Chapel Point State Park, 8160 Pisces Rd, Port Tobacco MD 20677. We will supply bags, gloves, drinking water and snacks.

Please come join us to have fun and to help make our river more beautiful.

For more information please visit http://trashnetwork.fergusonfoundation.org/event/3077/show, or contact Julie at jsimpson@porttobaccoriver.org or Krupa at krupa@porttobaccoriver.org