Linstead Environmental Group Aims To Install 100 Neighborhood Rain Barrels
By Jane Seiss
At the end of last summer, a group of eight concerned Linstead residents formed the neighborhoods own Severn River Stewardship Committee. The group is led by Rusty Gowland, a waterfront property owner and avid waterman. The stewards have set out to educate residents about how they can make a difference in the rivers water quality and marine life.
We are looking for ways our community can lessen its impact on the river, said committee member David Uy. For now, we are primarily focused on reducing runoff and slowing down its flow into the Severn."
The concern about rainwater runoff is one that Gowland feels extends to everyone in our area, not just those who live on the water or near a river. Everyone in the watershed is waterfront, because youre only so far from a storm drain, he stated.
Once rain water falls, it either slowly absorbed into porous surfaces like grass or mulch or runs off into the street, taking soil and pollutants with it. Land development over time has led to an increase in impervious surfaces, like parking lots, driveways, roofs and sidewalks. Fewer permeable surfaces to slowly take in water lead to an increase in runoff.
Unfortunately, many of the drains carrying this water dump into local creeks and rivers, delivering unwanted nutrients and sediment to the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. This flow negatively affects the delicate balance of the water, hurting its quality and the marine life it supports.
The first project the group has undertaken to address runoff is a community rain barrel drive. We have set the goal in Linstead to get 100 rain barrels installed in our community, explained Uy.
Gowland explained the great benefit this would have on the environment. In one afternoon, that would stop 5,500 gallons of water from flowing into the river even with only two-tenths of an inch of rainfall, Gowland shared.
The committee is collecting commitments to purchase and have the rain barrels installed. There are 156 homes in the neighborhood.
Residents can choose from three different rain barrel models. A white, paintable barrel from the Arlington Echo Outdoor Education Center, a low-profile synthetic Frontgate brand barrel, or a repurposed oak barrel from Rain Barrels of Annapolis. The barrels range in price from about $60 to $230 and their capacities are from 50 to 55 gallons.
After taking orders for the barrels, the stewards plan to have them available for pick up at Linsteads annual May Fair on May 6. The event is run by the communitys garden club, and is held at Linsteads beach off Boone Trail.
The stewardship committee has recruited volunteers who will help residents install the barrels. The rain barrels are pretty turn-key if we install them for you, Gowland said. Our community alone isnt going to change the quality of the water in the river, but we want to be part of a larger force that will.
Presently, 35 barrels are in place throughout the community. Although they are unable to offer installation help to people outside the community, the Linstead group welcomes orders for rain barrels from anyone in our area the barrels can be picked up at the May Fair. Other neighborhoods wishing to contact the Linstead Stewards about the project are encouraged to do so at firstname.lastname@example.org.