Feel like getting a little dirty in order to get clean - water? Volunteers are needed this Saturday morning, Oct. 13, to help plant about 800 native trees and shrubs along the banks of Little Pipe Creek where it runs through the Spinning Wheel Farm .
The farm is just outside of Westminster. Email Carmera at email@example.com for directions.
Trees stop animal waste from washing into nearby streams.
The owner of Spinning Wheel, Ralph Robertson, already has fenced off the creek so his cattle can no longer wade into the water. The trees will prevent pollution reaching the stream from the nearby pastures.
A 1991 Baltimore Sun newspaper story says Mr. Robertson’s father started a dairy farm at Spinning Wheel Farm during the Depression. Originally planning to go to law school, Ralph stayed on the farm when his father was gored by a bull. Now he raises cattle. He is also manager of Carroll County’s Agricultural Land Preservation program.
The Little Pipe feeds into the Upper Monocacy River which is polluted. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency lists the river impaired for nutrients, sediments and bacteria. The federal agency is still studying the source of nutrients and sediment, but in 2009 it reported bacteria pollution coming mainly from three sources: livestock, humans (failed septic systems or broken sewer pipes) and pets.
A farm such as Mr. Robertson’s is a solution to the Monocacy’s problems. It’s far easier, and cheaper, to stop nutrient and bacteria pollution on a farm than it is to stop the same pollution from a developed area. Preserving farms, but also making sure they become sustainable, is critical.
We all benefit from cleaner water if we save our farms, but ensure they employ modern conservation practices.
The trees planted Saturday will provide a 2,500-foot buffer to Little Pipe Creek. That’s about five acres of riparian buffer. Not bad for a few hours work. If possible, volunteers are asked to pitch in from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Partners in the project include the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Carroll County Soil Conservation District, the Maryland Department of Agriculture and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.