Cove Point Natural Heritage Trust

COVE POINT NATURAL HERITAGE TRUST

The mission of the Cove Point Natural Heritage Trust is to preserve and protect ecologically sensitive sites at Cove Point and vicinity through land conservation, scientific research, and environmental education.

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Cove Point Natural Heritage Trust
11785 Clifton Drive
P.O. Box 336
Lusby, MD 20657
410.394.1300

 

ABOUT HELLEN CREEK FOREST & WILDLIFE PRESERVE

Located on the upper reaches of Hellen Creek in Lusby, the Hellen Creek Preserve covers some fifty acres of marshes, forests, streams, and slopes. Together with the adjacent TNC Hemlock Preserve over 120 acres of the watershed are under permanent easement. As executive director Cove Point Natural Heritage Trust, the owner of the Hellen Creek Preserve I work on the property and monitor it.

Part of this is the fun job of wandering through the woods checking for wildflowers and signs of animals. Other parts (cutting down blow downs blocking trails and driveways) aren’t as enjoyable. But I get to spend a lot of time outside and enjoy the benefits.

Several years of habitat restoration and invasive removal work are starting to pay off. The deer exclosure plot planted along the streamside is showing progress this year. Several of the white turtleheads are healthy and the other wetland shrubs and wildflowers are also doing well. We added additional turtlehead in 2011 along with elderberry and spicebush both here and at the old home site. Application of a deer repellant have been successful so far.

The hemlocks on the property are not doing as well. During early rain and wind events several of the older trees have toppled. Damage done by the wooly adelgid continues unabated. We did have a visit from the employees of the Maryland Department of Agriculture and the Department of Natural Resources to assess the situation. In short many of the mature trees are in heavy cone production mode. This is a strategy often employed at the later stages of a tree’s lifespan. This encourages the production of young trees and we have been advised to take advantage of this phenomenon. First we need to protect young trees from deer deprivation and competition from other seedlings. One deer exclusion plot has already been established and other woody plants pulled from the plot. Second would be injection of existing trees to protect the seed source. Third would be monitoring of the treated trees and treatment of emerging stock. If during this period a disease resistant strain is developed, the Trust is agreeable to using this tool.

During the summer of 2009 we replaced several rails and posts on the stairs leading to Hellen Creek. Several locust trees cut on the property provided us with three new posts. Three more were provided from the property of long time volunteer Mel Longfield. A surprise greeted us when we began working on the posts, the rails made a strange buzzing noise when we rapped on them. Carpenter bees had invaded several of the post drilling their perfect holes in all but two of the rails. The holey ones have been replaced and stained. Hopefully these new rails won’t be as tasty as the last ones.

We continue to await word whether TNC’s Hemlock Preserve will be signed over to our Trust. TNC, Calvert County, and State of Maryland have been working on this for nearly eight years now. The biggest issue for the Trust is the difficulty in running efficient control programs for deer populations, invasive plants, and the health of our hemlocks when all of these issues have a refuge on an adjacent parcel. The process of transfer is almost complete, but survey disputes still haunt the prospects.

Our educational efforts in the past several years have focused on outreach efforts to aid Calvert County’s Green School Program. Programming and grant money have aided several schools the past three years. In 2010 we funded two major projects in St. Mary’s County. The Dee of St. Mary’s was in dire need of repairs and funding to complete the work on her hull. The Trust donated $15,000 to this effort to keep this wonderfully effective form of environmental education afloat. The Dee should be back in the water this fall. An additional $5,000 went to the St. Mary’s River Watershed Alliance to complete printing of their new green homeowners guide From My Backyard to the Bay. The Trust is in its third year of sponsoring an intern for Calvert County government to work on a GIS program to aid in managing the resources of the county in an environmentally sensitive way. And we are funding a second year of quarterly sub watershed monitoring.

For more information or to arrange for a visit to the Preserve, please call me at 410-394-1300.

Bob Boxwell, Executive Director

Our Board of Trustees consists of the following:
Ewing Miller, Chairman of the Board Emeritus
Washington, DC
  Robert J. Boxwell, Business Manager
Solomons, MD
 
Michael Rudy, President
Solomons, MD
  Becky Hunter
Park Hall, MD
 
Paul Dickson, Treasurer
Piney Point, MD
  Karen Meadow, Secretary
Baltimore, MD
 
Michael E. Gardner, Vice President
Lusby, MD
  Mildred Kriemelmeyer
Waldorf, MD
 
Lila West
Lusby, MD
     



Trust Signs MOU with St. Mary’s College for Ruth Mathes Scholarship Fund

Trust Signs MOU with St. Mary’s College for Ruth Mathes Scholarship Fund

Dr. Tanner, Dr. Silva, Trust President Mike Rudy, SMC President Joseph Urgo , Bob Boxwell (staff)

Cove Point Natural Heritage Trust (CPNHT) is a non-profit trust in Calvert County, made up of the Sierra Club, the Maryland Conservation Council, and the Dominion Cove Point LNG (one of the nation's largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants). CPNHT's mission is to preserve and protect ecologically sensitive sites in Southern Maryland through land conservation and acquisition, research, and environmental education. The annual gift is part of a larger plan to give research education funds to area educational organizations that include the College of Southern Maryland, the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, and Morgan State University.

The St. Mary's portion could go to a biology student or a chemistry student working on an estuarine study of the St. Mary's River, or a study of area birds or aquatic animals, for example. "The intent is to create a partnership, a synergy, between our trust's efforts and the preservation of the future of our shorelines, our land, and seas," said Rudy. "We want to honor our founder Ruth Mathes by assisting academically outstanding students.

"We are very excited to be teaming with St. Mary's College to kick off our scholarship program. We feel that this is the beginning of a long and fruitful partnership to preserve and protect ecologically sensitive sites in Southern Maryland."

Trust Support Calvert County Watershed Management

Trust Support Calvert County Watershed Management

 Commissioners Clark & Weems, Bob Boxwell (staff), Commissioner Shaw, President Mike Rudy, Commissioners Nutter & Slaughenhoupt

The Calvert County Commissioners were happy to accept some checks from an organization supporting efforts to help clean up the watershed. Representatives from the Cove Point Natural Heritage Trust presented the checks—for $10,000 and $5,000—to the commissioners at their Tuesday, June 21 meeting. The larger of the two grants will be used to support quarterly water quality sampling in freshwaters in Calvert’s 22 sub-watersheds. According to Department of Planning and Zoning Director Greg Bowen, a portion of the grant allocation will be used for support for the watershed planner’s position and to pay the water analysis costs. The additional funding will be used to support the work of an intern and help in the watershed planning efforts that will be used in the county’s preparation of the Phase II Watershed Implementation Plans.

The Cove Point Natural Heritage Trust is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving and protecting ecologically sensitive sites in Southern Maryland through land conservation, acquisition, scientific research and environmental education. Their board of trustees represents its three member groups—the Sierra Club, Maryland Conservation Council and Dominion Cove Point Liquefied Natural Gas.

New Year’s Day Nature Walk 2011
After a cold and breezy December I think everybody was ready for something a little milder. We certainly got our wish for the first day of the New Year. The local Cub Scout pack and their families joined us along with a number of other nature lovers. A slow amble (as slow as that many young boys can be) down to the creek was my plan and we pretty much achieved it. Stops were made to point out different plants and features of the landscape. Late morning is not the best time for bird activity but we saw and heard a few chickadees, woodpeckers, a goldfinch, and a kingfisher (sorry no partridge in a pear tree). Even in the winter we have evergreens that can be easily identified. Holly, pine, mountain laurel, cedar, mosses, ferns, and hemlocks were features of the day. The creek was frozen so the only waterfowl were the geese honking in the fields across the creek and out of sight.

The boys all seemed to enjoy themselves immensely. With my presentation last month and this event, they all now have their conservation badge. We have plans for future events with the pack including some service projects. The property and its possibilities impressed their leaders and I look forward to working with our young neighbors and their families.

I also had a chance to talk with the “civilians” that joined us. The Recorder had our event listed in their calendar and we had a good turnout there as well. Interested ranged from bird watching, to photography, to education programming, to botany, to hiking and kayaking. Some targeted events and outreach possibilities are one of the outcomes of our first New Years Day event. Maybe this event bears repeating.

Invasive Plant Removal at Hellen Creek
For those interested in our native plants, the term invasive plant is probably a familiar one. The most notorious historical example in America has been the oriental vine Kudzu. Brought in by the U.S. Agricultural Department for erosion control and animal fodder this quick growing plant spread rapidly throughout the south.

Once out of its native habitat, some species have no predator to slow them down. Kudzu is certainly a good example. Alien species can and often do out compete their native counter parts. To combat the loss of native species, groups like Maryland Native Plant Society and Sierra Club have been sponsoring invasive plant removal days at various parks.

Cove Point Natural Heritage Trust has completed the fifth year of its five-year invasive removal plan. Several sections of the Hellen Creek Preserve have had wineberry, tree of heaven, multiflora rose, and Japanese knotweed removed. Native wildflowers and shrubs have been planted in some of these locations. The effort will continue with monitoring and new sections to be worked. We have also uncovered some large trash middens near Clifton drive and at the end of Hellen Creek Trail.

Trail Work
The Trust has explored ways to connect the adjacent TNC Hemlock preserve to Hellen Creek’s tail system. Until legal agreements to pass over ownership are completed, this property remains inaccessible. A grant from the American Hiking Society to repair stairs to Hellen Creek was completed in 2005. Carpenter bees inhabited the railings in 2009 and new lumber was purchased to replace the bee abodes (they really can hollow out a 2x4). We took advantage of the work to replace pine posts with locust. They old rails were cut to make new nosing for some of the stairs as well.

Earth Day on the Square and PRAD
The fourth Sunday in April generally marks the annual Earth Day on the Square in Leonardtown celebration.. The Trust has been in attendance since 2004 sponsoring the very popular live Birds of Prey display. Our other major outreach eefort is at Patuxent River Appreciation Days on Columbus Day weekend in Solomons. In cooperation with the Southern Calvert Land Trust we donate trees to the attendees. In the past two years we have donated dozens of sweetbay magnolia, viburnum, redbud, and Virginia sweet spire to be planted in yards throughout Southern Maryland.

Environmental Education Outreach
The Trust has been providing programming to the local schools, scouts, and adult educational venues for the past five years. In addition to after school programs in Calvert and St. Mary’s County, the Trust has provide technical assistance, donated supplies, provided manpower, and funded several “green school” project in Calvert County. Cooperation with Chespax and Maryland Summer Camp are other venues to spread our message of environmental stewardship. If you have a school group, club, scout troop, day care, home owners association or other venue that would be interested in learning more about the Bay and the creatures that inhabit it, contact our Executive Director at 410.394.1300 or by e-mail at cpnht@comcast.net.

 

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