by Lisa Tome
Placing a stormwater pond next to the North East River would be redundant.
Master Gardeners to the rescue.
The Town of North East is continuing a revetment project, restoring yards of shoreline in the Community Park. One of the requirements of that shoreline restoration work was an accompanying stormwater project. Rather than install the traditional stormwater pond, members of the Master Gardeners worked to put in plantings and a rain garden.
Town of North East Planner Betsy Vennell got to combine her work with her sideline as a master gardener for this project. She explained that the Maryland Department of the Environment required 1000 square feet of plantings and soil management as an alternative to installing a pond. Vennell said that town maintenance crewmen got the project started by digging two to four feet down. Then prescribed soils, those that capture stormwater, were installed.
Next native plants were placed in that area. "We need to completely fill this in and have it self maintain," said Vennell.
Master Gardeners Sandy Phillips, Doris Behnke, and Vicki Diamonte worked on the project with Vennell. In order to maintain Master Gardener designations, they are required to participate in service projects every year. Diamonte also brought along some additional manpower. Diamonte's grandsons, Victor and Nick Harman, were visiting the area during spring break and pitched in.
More than 300 plants - native shrubs and perennials were put in.
"A lot of the heavy work was done when I got here," said Diamonte, who was loading mulch into wheelbarrows. She also said that when visitors come to see her, she plans to take them to the park and show them the project she helped to create. The work is near Jackson House in the North East Community Park.
Jodie Shivery of Ecologically Sound Landscapes served as a consultant on this project.