Ever since taking over Green Field Point Farm from his in-laws 18 years ago, Bruce Mulligan has tried to keep the farm green.
“We like anything we can do sustainable to better the environment and the Chesapeake Bay,” Mulligan said.
For example, he has solar panels on the roof of a barn and uses downed trees for his wood stove. He also tries to keep less than 3% of his household waste from making its way to a landfill, whether that means recycling it, incinerating it or composting it to later feed to his pigs, Wilbur and Winston Churchill.
And now, with the help of $119,277 in state funding, 3 acres of wetland and riparian buffers at the Street farm will be restored. Riparian buffers are strips of vegetation planted along waterways to maintain or improve water quality and protect fish and wildlife habitat.
“We’re hoping that it’ll be just a healthier environment,” Mulligan said, “and be able to host many, many different animal species that have lost their habitat through all the construction that’s going on in Harford County.
“We really feel strongly about making sure that we keep our small corner of Harford County as rural as possible and environmentally friendly as possible.”
The Harford Land Trust was one of 22 awardees to receive funding through the state’s Department of Natural Resources Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund last month. Gov. Larry Hogan announced that $18.8 million would be disbursed among 22 ecological restoration projects to help improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
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Several endangered species, such as monarch butterflies and bog turtles are expected to benefit from the project, along with migratory birds, such as bald eagles and wood thrushes, and fish, according to Jackie Koehn, the Harford Land Trust land programs manager.
Koehn said the project will be “accelerating what would naturally occur in this ecosystem.”
She explained that some of the work will include: “redo[ing] the topography of the area such that there’s greater groundwater recharge, and it can become a wetland where this groundwater and surface water kind of commingle for longer.” Trees will also be planted to provide a forested buffer.
“It’s also an extended reforestation area,” Koehn said, “as increased protection to that stream system.”
Koehn said that projects like this are especially important as climate change becomes more of an issue.
“These projects are going to be more critical,” she said, “in making sure that we’re just doing the best we can for future generations to be able to enjoy and marvel in the natural world as we are today.”
The project is expected to begin Sept. 1 and continue through Dec. 31, 2023, according to Koehn.