2700 Trees Form a Wetland Buffer at Port Tobacco River Park
Charles County residents helped plant trees along the Port Tobacco River as part of a month-long celebration of Earth Day. 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.
Hope you saw the excellent coverage of this event in the April 13 issue of the Maryland Independent!
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.
We appreciate the hard work of all our volunteers, including Cub Scout Troop 1788 Tigers, Boy Scout Troop 2421, North Point High School NOAA Ocean Guardian School Team, and La Plata High School Key Club. Special thanks to Charles County Parks and Maryland Forest Service for their guidance and assistance.
We went to check on the tree seedlings just before Memorial Day weekend and they are doing great! Many thanks to Charles County Parks for supporting this project, and to all the volunteers who came out to help.
Tree Planting at Ellerslie
Over 20 students and teachers from North Point High School participated in PTRC’s April 29 reforestation project at the historic Ellerslie property in Port Tobacco. Following guidance from Charles County Project Foresters, the students planted nearly 550 white pine trees, which will create forest buffers to protect the health of the Port Tobacco River and its watershed.
The Port Tobacco Watershed Restoration Action Strategy (WRAS), developed in 2007, sets out specific goals for protecting the river and its watersheds, including the Hoghole Run subwatershed where the Ellerslie property is located. The WRAS recommended forest preservation as the major protection strategy for Hoghole Run, using funds such as the Charles County Forestry Grant program, which funded this project. The North Point team made a significant contribution toward achieving the goals of the WRAS.
Originally patented in the 1660s, Ellerslie once belonged to Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer, a nationally prominent political figure who served as a member of the Continental Congress from 1778 to 1782 and signed the Constitution of the United States for Maryland in 1787. The current owners, Kevin and Denise Grote, thanked the students for their work, saying, “It is greatly appreciated and a step forward in maintaining an environmentally sensitive outlook at Ellerslie as we take this property into its 4th century.”
PTRC Volunteers Plant 10,000 Trees to Establish a Wetland Buffer
Forested buffers protect our watersheds by filtering pollutants, controlling erosion, and providing habitat for wildlife. PTRC volunteers have planted 10,000 tree seedlings along a stream that feeds the Port Tobacco River at the corner of Mitchell and Hawthorne Roads. The species planted are pin oaks, white pines, red maples and sycamores (pictured above). The volunteers included environmental students from Westlake, McDonough, and North Point High Schools, members of Boy Scout Troop 424 from Waldorf, and PTRC members. These trees will help protect the Port Tobacco River and the streams that feed it. The tree planting is the result of a grant to PTRC from an initiative by Governor O’Malley to encourage planting buffers along streams to filter pollution before it reaches waterways. For more information, click on the link below.
Charles County Forestry Grant Program
The Charles County Forestry Grant Program is a partnership between the Charles County government and the Chesapeake Bay Trust (CBT) to fund forestry projects in Charles County. The goal of this program is to implement cost-effective reforestation projects in the county to increase tree canopy and as a result create forest habitat and improve water quality in the county’s local watersheds and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay.
Projects on individual private, commercial private, community-owned, school site, and nonprofit property that are not forested are eligible for funding. Projects on federal and state land are not eligible. Landowners must agree to maintain and protect the new trees, and land under a long-term agreement, such as a conservation easement, is preferred. The land must be at least 0.5 acres.
Among those eligible to apply are nonprofit organizations, community associations, and faith-based organizations. Eligible organizations can plant the trees for individuals who own qualifying properties within Charles County.
PTRC is willing to assist in applying for a joint grant with anyone in the Port Tobacco River Watershed who agrees to the CBT conditions. Contact PTRC for more information.