Public input sought for Harford Green Infrastructure Plan; workshop Feb. 8

Harford County will host a workshop for citizens to provide input on a countywide green infrastructure plan on Thursday, Feb. 8, from 5-8 p.m. at Harford Community College’s Chesapeake Center.

Green infrastructure is an interconnected network of green spaces that support natural ecosystems, preserves water resources, improves stormwater management and promotes healthier communities, according to a county government news release announcing the workshop.

Green infrastructure is also vital to economic development, farming, recreation, and tourism.

The Harford County Department of Planning & Zoning is in the early stages of developing the county’s green infrastructure plan, which is an implementation of HarfordNEXT, the countywide master plan adopted in 2016.

With public input and financial assistance and support from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Maryland Department of Natural Resources and other partners, this initiative will result in the delineation of a countywide green infrastructure network, the county news release states.

This network will include the identification of major wildlife corridors and other significant natural areas throughout the county.

In partnership with the Greater Baltimore Wilderness Coalition, this initiative will review the delineation of a regional green infrastructure network within the Gunpowder watershed and highlight examples of successful green infrastructure planning within the three jurisdictions of Harford County, Baltimore County and the Aberdeen Proving Ground.

The workshop will provide citizens and stakeholders with the opportunity to share their thoughts on creating a successful green infrastructure network by participating in open discussion and group exercises.

Audience feedback will help Harford County to determine the most important goals and strategies for developing the Harford County Green Infrastructure Plan. A draft plan with conceptual recommendations and implementation strategies is scheduled to be completed by October 2018.

Some of the areas already identified in the Green Infrastructure Plan, according to the county’s website, include:

APG tree-planting projects

As part of the proving ground’s Forest Management Plan, strategic areas of reforestation have been installed ot help protect the sensitive resources found on the post, including existing forests and wetlands, and the sensitive plant and animal species found within them. A diversity of native tree species have been planted at Westwood, Maxwell Point and Days Point.

Marshy Point Nature Center

Part of a system of preserved county, state and federal land, Marshy Point includes more than 3,000 acres of old and new forests, meadows, marshes, creeks and wetlands.

Marshy Point’s location within the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area ensures a diversity of significant habitats for plants and animals, as well as waterfowl congregation areas and aquatic resources, such as fish and crabs. The role of the nature center is to provide environmental education opportunities for the public and offer programs related to natural resource management, bird walks and canoeing.

Shore Erosion Control Project

An existing shoreline at 400 Shore Drive in Joppatowne incorporated revetment to help minimize erosion along the banks.

But instead of “hardening” the entire shoreline from the mean high water line up to the top of the bank, the rock was placed only 5 feet up from the mean high water line, the remaining 5 feet up to the top of the bank was planted with natural vegetation, consisting of a mix of native shrubs, wildflowers, grasses and ground cover plants.

Manor View Farm Nursery

The wholesale nursery operation of Manor View Farm in Monkton has a well that only pumps around 4 gallons of water per minute, so the business needed to find a longer term, sustainable irrigation solution.

The operation has incorporated a series of man made ponds to help harness stormwater for irrigation. The first two ponds treat runoff and capture any sediment from the planting areas, the third pond includes the pump house and is the main source for irrigating and the four pond acts as an emergency reservoir during times of drought. This pond also treats some of the runoff from Hess Road and uses a sluice gate to remove salts and other pollutants.

Stautberg Farm

A stream system on the Stautberg Farm in Monkton has been protected with a 75-foot forested buffter and has been maintained to control the spread of invasive plant species. This project also incorporates a fence that helps to keep livestock outside of this sensitive habitat, with the mutual benefits of further protecting the recourse and improving her health.

For more information about green infrastructure planning in Harford County, please visit www.harfordcountymd.gov/2461/Green-Infrastructure-Plan.

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