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 Southern Maryland 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

 

RECENT ACTIVITIES 2017

July-September 2017

Outreach

We joined other non-profits in exploring ideas to revive a Nature Trail at the Leonardtown campus of the College of Southern Maryland. The Trust provided funding for and found a speaker for the annual meeting of the Calvert Nature Society. The Trust had a table at the second annual open house at Chesapeake Biological Lab in Solomons.

As a member of the Sustainable Calvert Network we signed onto and help edit a letter to the editor encouraging the county to include agribusiness incentives in the comprehensive plan update. We also encouraged the county to release the report from the November 2016 Environmental Summit held at Solomons.

Both Boy Scouts held an overnight camping trip to the Hellen Creek Preserve. A meeting with a Girl Scout and her leaders was held to further efforts a Gold Award project. Invasive plants and how to deal with them is the proposed project.

Education


Staff participated in the second annual Insectival at Annmarie Gardens. We provided assistance for a summer camp program at the Elms Environmental Center in St. Mary’s County. Harvest Fellowship in Lusby received a presentation for their Intergeneration Summer Camp on Local Bird Identification. We held a Nature Walk at the in July.

Land Management

Work continues on controlling invasive plant species at the Preserve. The focus continues to be on Japanese knotweed and wineberry in the summer. The Pollinator Pockes have had additional native plantings. Plants were also provided for a pollinator garden on community property at the Chesapeake Ranch Estates in Lubsy. Efforts to acquire the Hemlock Preserve currently owned by The Nature Conservancy are back on line. We have hired EHS Express to conduct the Phase 1 Environmental Assessment. Sites visits, yellow book values, and communications with the U.S. Navy REPI program have also been done. We met with Calvert County to discuss possible acquisition by non-profits or the county of bank held property near the Site 1 Offsite Property held by Dominion Energy. In preliminary concept plans this parcel could form the backbone for a regional park for the County.

Science

The last bluebird trail monitoring was held in August at Cove Point. Preliminary results show improvement in productivity from the previous two years. The report will be available on the Trust website in November. Brent Steury has completed his plant communities monitoring at the Cove Point marsh. Paul Bushmann’s horseshoe crab surveys were completed for 2017. The reports for both efforts will be put on the Trust website upon receipt.

Surveys of the sora rail populations at Jug Bay using banding and tags to follow their activities, funded by the Trust will begin this Fall..

Staff was trained on the flow monitoring equipment used by the county for their non-tidal water monitoring program and participated in the summer sampling. The Trust funded both this annual effort and the purchase of the equipment.

April-June 2017

Outreach

Cove Point Natural Heritage Trust (CPNHT) continues to support the scouting programs in Southern Maryland. We have sponsored two Boy Scout overnight encampments at the Preserve this spring. Meanwhile we are in discussions with the Girl Scouts concerning programming and camping. We are also working on a Gold Award project.

The Calvert Citizen’s Green Team held its eighth annual Calvert Green Expo on Saturday June 3 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Annmarie Gardens. CPNHT has been a sponsor of this event since its inception.

We held two programs for the Calvert Nature Society at the Preserve. In April we searched for migratory avian activity and in May we held a wildflower hike. In between those events we had our own spring Nature Walk at the end of April.

Staff attended a Comprehensive Plan hearing session on natural resources. Together with board president Mike Rudy staff presented the annual non-tidal water monitoring check. On May 15th staff gave a presentation to the St. Mary’ County Garden Club on Planting for Habitat Using Native Plants. Approximately thirty people were in attendance.

Education

Calvert County graduated its fifth class of Master Naturalists. St. Mary’s County held its initial class this year. This program teaches individuals about the various aspects of natural history in the coastal plains of Maryland. We cosponsor the Calvert program and provide guidance and funding for the St. Mary’s program though a grant with the Maryland Department of Agriculture. I also led a field trip for the St. Mary’s class as part of their ornithological lessons.

Science

The Ruth Mathes Scholarship checks are sent out this month. Four education institutions in Southern Maryland (CSM, SMC, MSU, and UMCES) receive scholarship funding. In May and June volunteers assisted with Paul Bushmann’s horseshoe crab surveys by taking daytime surveys to match those he and his interns undertake at night. Not much activity takes place during the day but we wanted to verify this belief. We discovered that in large part the action is nocturnal. We had two days which we found crabs on the beach and only in limited numbers.

The annual plant surveys in the marsh are currently underway. Some mute swans spotted in the marsh were reported to the DNR regional manager.

The spring water monitoring took on added significance with the departure of two county employees who ran the program. David Brownlee will be training me and other volunteers in the use of the flow tracking hardware. Before this important data collection was completed by Mr. Brownlee and interns.

This year’s bluebird surveys are doing much better than the previous two. At the end of June we had three broods of bluebirds fledged totaling fifteen birds and four tree swallows fledged. Another brood (5) of bluebirds and one (4) of tree swallows were also hatched in June. Two bluebird pairs have also laid a brood of four and one of five eggs.
Wood duck boxes installed on Mill Bridge Road did not see any nesting activity expect wasps. A bald eagle nesting across the creek has been seen periodically. The nest is obscured by leaves.

The Science Committee for American Chestnut Land Trust has requested help in monitoring their Important Bird Areas. Staff took training and took on one of the routes and completed two surveys.

Land Management

Maintenance of our road and trails took a major step forward with the completion of road work by B&B Excavating on Clifton Drive. Minor limb and tree blow down has required some removal. Planting for pollinators has occurred in two areas. Additional plants were added to the garden plot as well. So far six columbine, five black-eyed Susan, and ten butterfly weed have been added to the landscape.

An invasive plant removal event was held in June. We removed a large amount of wineberry and lesser amounts of Japanese stilt grass and knotweed. Sierra Club is planning an outing for weed removal in October.

Staff continues to be active with the county’s rural legacy committee. In this capacity we endorsed ACLT’s request for Rural Legacy funding in conjunction with their attempt to acquire Holly Farms The County Commissioners approved this request.

 

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