Watershed Realities: Stormwater Kills Local Fish

Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake

Inside:

  • Watershed Realities
  • Toolkit Workshop Conference Call
  • Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin to be Honored
  • Tree Plantings
  • Covenantal Partners Program
  • Call for Public Advocates
  • Upcoming Events and Volunteer Opportunities

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(Photo by Peter Gianokos of Sligo Creek)

My neighborhood is named after its watershed, Sligo Creek Neighborhood, which lies between Sligo Creek and Long Branch Creek (in Takoma Park, MD), both of which flow into the Anacostia watershed, and ultimately into the Chesapeake Bay. Last spring we were hit with a deluge of heavy rain, which fell fast and furious in a short period of time. The next day my heart sank when this subject line popped into my inbox from Friends of Sligo Creek (FOSC): “Large Fish and Salamander Kill at Sligo Creek and Long Branch.”  A FOSC member drove down to Sligo and Long Branch to assess the situation where he met Chris Luckett, Fish Kill Section, Maryland Department of the Environment. He said that he saw a large number of dead fish on Long Branch and in one case a pool of a dozen dead fish was seen. He estimated that there were 50-60 dead fish. (Photo at left, credit: Peter Gianokos)

We later learned that this was largely due to the effect of such a heavy rain event “flushing” too much water too quickly, carrying with it toxins and nutrients that washed off of roofs, pavements, and lawns into the creek. In essence, the fish suffocated as a result. This sad story is just one local example of how stormwater runoff is becoming an increasing problem as a consequence of climate change since we are having more “extreme rain events”. Changes in rainfall patterns are occurring worldwide, where some areas are stricken with drought, while others are experiencing massive floods. Overall however, “regardless of shifts in total rain, more of it is coming in heavy downpours.” (Cornell University)

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Stormwater impacts the health of God’s Creation and the interconnected, interdependent web of life, in which we and all creatures, like fish, are inextricably linked. Climate change induced heavy rain events like this one, and more to come, make our efforts to control stormwater even more urgent and necessary to preserve the health of our waterways for not only the fish, but for our drinking water as well. Along with making clean energy choices and reducing our carbon footprint, our local neighborhoods and congregations can organize themselves around planting native trees, installing rain gardens, rain barrels, pervious driveways in order to capture as much rainfall where it falls. Take a look at our Toolkit for Watershed Stewards and our Menu for Action for ideas to help you get started. Collectively we can make a difference by helping preserve and protect the web life!

Kolya Braun-Greiner



Faithful_Stewards_Toolkit_image.jpgConference Call - Training on Publicizing your Congregation’s Watershed Project

Is your stormwater project ready to break ground? Are you thinking of having a blessing ceremony for the newly planted garden or trees and the volunteers that made that happen? IPC developed a “Toolkit for Faithful Stewards” to help you make the most of the outreach and community education portions of your projects. You can access our newly revised Toolkit on our Resource page, then just click on the top “ToolKit”. We have also set up a conference call for Friday, September 4th 10-11 AM  to go over the toolkit, how to use it, and answer questions. Please RSVP to let us know whether or not you can participate in the conference call. Pre-register on our website at: http://www.interfaithchesapeake.org/toolkit_wrkshop_conf_call

If you would like to participate in a call but this day and time is not convenient for you please emailKolya@interfaithchesapeake.org and we will set up one-on-one time with you. 


 Nina_Photo.jpgRabbi Nina Beth Cardin to be Honored

We are thrilled to announce that the Co-Chair of our Board, Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin, will be honored as a Watershed Champion by the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay at their annual Taste of the Chesapeake Gala. Every year the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay honors those who are making a difference in Chesapeake Bay restoration, and we are proud that they are recognizing one of our own this year. They are also recognizing Rev. Johnny Calhoun, African Methodist Episcopal pastor, for his work with “Black is the New Green.” He has been instrumental in the success of our RiverWise Congregations Program. We encourage your support of this event and support the great work that all of these organizations are doing.

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Come out and meet some of our staff and board members - please email us if you plan to come so we can make a point to meet you!. The event will be on Tuesday September 15th, 5:30 pm, and includes buffet dinner of local foods. Tickets are normally $100, but supporters of Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake can purchase tickets for $75 each. Call Mary-Angela at the Alliance at 443-949-0575 to receive the discounted rate. Event details can be found on their website


Tree Plantings 

One of the  best ways to help restore creation is to plant trees! We are currently enrolling faith communities for free tree plantings! Congregations of all faiths are needed to join in this united effort to heal Creation through tree plantings. Our Trees for Sacred Places Program provides everything your community needs for the tree planting, customized support, and an educational/spiritual workshop specific for your faith tradition. If you know of a religious-owned property (congregational grounds, retreat center, summer camp, retirement community, etc.) that has open spaces that can be converted from lawn to forest, contact Bonnie Sorak at bonnie@interfaithchesapeake.org or 410-609-6852. This program is available throughout the state of Maryland.  View and download the flyer here.  


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How to Move Your Green Ministry Forward to Action?

Are you starting from scratch, just getting things off the ground with your Creation Care ministry or perhaps your congregation has already been deeply engaged in a variety of environmental stewardship activities. Either case, you are wondering “What’s next?” and “How do we get there?”   

Examples of CPP generated plans/activities:  

  • Gwynn Oak United Methodist Church held a week of Vacation Bible School on “God and Nature”

  • St. Matthew Catholic Church is planning parish wide study action sessions on the Pope’s Encyclical “Our Common Home”

  • Amazing Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church is planning a campaign to educate the community to take action on reducing trash.

The Covenantal Partners Program offers a facilitated process to assist your congregation to develop a response to the environmental challenges of our time. We are actively seeking groups in Baltimore (city or county) interested in learning more about the program. Click here for details and contact Bonnie Sorak at bonnie@interfaithchesapeake.org or 410-609-6852 if you have questions. Download flyer here 


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Maryland’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act - This act requires Maryland to cut economy-wide carbon pollution by 25% by 2020. The Maryland Climate Change Commission, made up of elected officials, heads of state agencies, and advocates, will release a key report this fall recommending next steps on climate action in Maryland. By speaking up now -- before the August 31st deadline for public input -- you can help influence the commission’s final report to the Governor and the General Assembly. Chesapeake Climate Action Network has set up a form to submit pre-scripted letters to the commission, which you can access here. Or you may wish to prepare your own letter, and submit to the Commission directly here climate.change@maryland.gov

Montgomery County, MD - Healthy Lawns Bill 52-14 currently limits the non-essential (cosmetic) application of toxic pesticides on lawns throughout Montgomery County. At the next Transportation and Environment hearing, the committee chair will seek to amend the bill by allowing parks, businesses, private residents and Homeowner Associations to continue using toxic lawn pesticides. Those who support Bill 52-14 unamended are encouraged to be present at the next T&E Committee hearing on Thursday, September 17th, 9:30 am, 3rd Floor Montgomery County Council Building, 100 Maryland Ave., Rockville, MD 20850. Or, click here to submit a letter to your representative regarding this matter.


Upcoming Events and Volunteer Opportunities

Here are some Upcoming Events, and chances for you to help us! Please consider attending an event on IPC’s behalf to staff a table for an hour or two to spread the message of faith and renewal. We will arrange to get you all the supplies you will need and train you about all the programs we have available. Please contact Bonnie Sorak at bonnie@interfaithchesapeake.org if you want to volunteer. Even if you can’t help out consider attending to show your support. (**Denotes your volunteer help is needed.)

Sept. 3rd & Sept. 10th Noon-1PM Greenfaith Webinar "Laudato Si' - Catholic and Multi-Faith Perspectives, A 2-part Webinar Series" Register for the webinar here.

**Sept. 12th 1-8PM  Sustainafest, Indian Creek Upper School, 1130 Anne Chambers Way, Crownsville, MD 21032  Event begins at 1:00; Films begin at 6:30 Click HERE for more information. 

**Sept. 12th 1PM-4PM  F.R.E.E. (Furnace Creek Restoration Environmental Expo) organized by one of our Riverwise Congregations, Faith Baptist Church of Glenn Burnie. Click HERE for more information.

Sept. 12th 5:30PM-7:30PM, Holy Trinity Catholic Church in DC is hosting “Climate SMART: Honoring Our Children's Future Through Faith, Art and Action.” Join artists and parishioners in discerning how Pope Francis' Encyclical might change your life. Click HERE for more information.

**Sept. 19th 10AM–4PM Montebello Lake Centennial Celebration, sponsored by the Baltimore City Department of Public Works. Celebrating clean water. Free activities for children and parking with shuttle service. Click HERE for more information.

Sept. 19th Jodi will be speaking at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, Derwood, MD

Sept. 20th Starts at 12PM - One of the CPP congregations, Amazing Grace Lutheran Church, is hosting "Port Street Celebration" - a community celebration with an eye on trash reduction, 2424 McElderry St, Baltimore, MD 21205.

Sept. 27th 10AM Christ the King Episcopal Church, 1930 Brookdale Road, Baltimore 21244; Sermon on climate justice. 

**Oct. 3rd 11AM-3PM Blue & Green Festival at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Eastport. More information HERE. Meet some of our RiverWise Congregation Watershed Stewards to learn what their congregations are doing about polluted stormwater.

Oct. 3rd 12PM-4PM Feast of St. Francis Family Fun Day and Blessing of Animals. St. Pius X Church, 6428 York Road, Baltimore, MD 21212. Visit Blue Water Baltimore's table display about their Blue Water Congregation project plans.

Oct. 3rd 9AM-Noon Friends of Herring Run Parks is hosting 4 clean up sites along the Herring Run Watershed in Baltimore. Click HERE for more information.


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Cisterns in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties

We are excited to partner with the Anacostia Riverkeeper on efforts to install stormwater management projects at faith-owned properties in Montgomery County and Prince George’s County. Cisterns are large rain barrels approximately 650 gallon capacity and can be installed at houses of worship to store and release rainfall for non-potable water uses and stormwater disposal. Cisterns can alleviate flooding problems as well as reduce your property’s contribution of polluted runoff.

The Anacostia Riverkeeper intends to secure the funding for these projects up front so that they are no cost to the congregation. If your congregation has a roof at least 500 square feet in size and the space to install a large cistern, please consider this wonderful opportunity for a free project on your grounds. To learn more or express your interest, please contact Jodi Rose at jodi@interfaithchesapeake.org or 410-609-6852


Can You Give Back to IPC?

  • Help with our Database

  • Become a member of our Speaker’s Bureau

  • Help with Administrative Tasks

  • Assist with Website updates

  • We’ll tailor something to suit your expertise!

If you have some time and would like to help us to spread our message more effectively please contact Bonnie Sorak at Bonnie@interfaithchesapeake.org.

 

 

ON AIR: IPC in the Media

Living Questions: Faith-Inspired Environmentalism. Listen HERE as IPC's Executive Director Jodi Rose, Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin and Emmalee June Aman discuss the role faith plays in motivating environmental activists and what religious scriptures and faith leaders say about humankind's responsibility in caring for Creation. The discussion was originally aired June 7, 2017 on WYPR 88.1FM.

On March 29, 2017, Jodi appeared on The Green & Sexy Radio ShowListen to the conversation HERE.