Working under the direction Hood College Professor of Biology Drew Ferrier, Hood College students have initiated a series of research projects pertaining to Culler Lake. Projects include:
- A bathymetric evaluation of the lake’s bottom, which is useful in understanding the shape of the lake basin and how the present-day lake compares with original grading plans from the 1930’s. This effort will be especially timely since the anecdotal reports that the lake is 4 feet at its deepest is disputed by some long-time city employees. The effort will also help gauge the depth of the lake bottom versus the thickness of lake sediment resting on the bottom.
- Water quality and biological sampling, which will be useful in establishing a baseline for current lake water quality before the storm-water mitigation projects and other water improvement efforts begin. An analysis of phosphates, nitrogen, and solids will be included in the water-quality portion, while a determination of the amount of algae in the lake will be the focus of the biological sampling.
When necessary, students will use small inflatable rafts to take samples. Students are aiming to present preliminary findings at the Friends of Baker Park Annual meeting on May 13.
Last October and November The Trail House chose Friends of Baker Park as the recipient of money from a Patagonia Company program in which a portion of Patagonia shoes
sales was donated to a local non profit. We received $200 from the campaign and Clyde and Gerry Hicks matched that sum. A similar campaign will run between May 4 and May 18. Stop by the Trail House during their sale on May 4th to shop for shoes and say thank you!
Friends of Baker Park applied for and received a grant from the Chesapeake Bay Trust for $30,000 for the design of a storm water mitigation plan for Culler Lake. The award was announced in late 2012, and in early 2013 Friends of Baker Park signed two agreements to begin pursuing completion of a design in 2013. First, and after careful consideration of several design firms and their proposals, the Friends selected Frederick Seibert & Associates, Inc. of Hagerstown, MD, as the design firm. Second, and with thanks to the firm for its ongoing pro-bono support, the Friends agreed to hire Morgan-Keller as a project planning advisor to assist with technical elements of the design planning and building process. Friends of Baker Park Board Member Michael Paskowsky is serving as overall project leader.
Under the terms of the grant, a ready-to-build design must be completed in 2013. Frederick Seibert & Associates, Inc. has provided three conceptual plans to the Friends of Baker Park Board, which after a meeting with the Board yielded a plan that drew upon the ideas presented. This plan, which was posted at the recent Green Neighbor Forum for attendees to see, has subsequently been shared with City of Frederick staff prior to being presented to the City Recreation and Parks commission in March.
“The importance of this generous Chesapeake Bay Trust grant in providing the catalyst for development of the storm water mitigation plan cannot be overstated,” said Friends of Baker Park President Kathy Fay, adding, “These funds, together with the expertise of Frederick Seibert and Morgan Keller, will allow us to create a plan that will dramatically improve the quality of the water entering Culler Lake from storm sewers, water already in Culler Lake, and water being pumped into Culler Lake from Carroll Creek, as well as water draining from the lake into Carroll Creek and eventually into the Monocacy River and the Chesapeake Bay.” Fay also noted that this project will help the City of Frederick in meeting its storm water discharge goals. “Our next step is raising the funds necessary to build the design,“ Fay concluded, “and we have started working with a range of residents, organizations, and agencies at the City, County, and State level to raise these monies.”
Nearly 100 registrants from throughout Frederick joined together on Saturday, March 2, at the Hood College Whitaker Campus Center to hear a slate of speakers discuss practical and specific programs and activities that renters and home-owners can pursue to be better stewards of the environment.
Joining Friends of Baker Park in underwriting the event with direct and in-kind financial support were the Frederick County Office of Sustainability and Environmental Resources/The Green Leader Challenge, The Trail House (see related article), the Hood College Coastal Studies Program, the student Hood Environmental Advocacy Team (HEAT), and Jean Peterson Design.
Dr. Drew Ferrier of the Hood College Coastal Studies Program keynoted the event with an overview of how citizens who live in the 66 acres upstream of Culler Lake affect the quality of water and stream bed integrity in Carroll Creek, the Monocacy, the Potomac, and the Chesapeake Bay. One of his key guiding principles was that incremental improvements by each of us can cause big and helpful changes to our downstream watersheds. Following him was Sabrina Harder of the Frederick County Office of Sustainability and Environmental Resources. She introduced attendees to The Green Homes Challenge and its component programs on becoming a Power Saver; A Green Leader; and a Renewable Star. She also discussed upcoming plans to pursue community solar technology purchases at a discount under a Solarize Frederick project.
Four workshops then followed. Ruth H. Axelrod, University of Maryland University College and Frederick County Master Gardener, introduced attendees to gardening options and practices that help support our ecosystem, including diversifying with native trees, plants and ground covers, creating habitat and managing soil fertility. In a parallel session, Annmarie Creamer of the Frederick County Department of Solid Waste Management discussed composting, Recycling, and other Solid Waste Stream Reduction Strategies.
Following a break, Michael Judd of Ecologia, Edible & Ecological Landscapes addressed rain water harvesting designs that retain rain water and reduce storm water runoff, including raised bed gardens shaped on contour, rain gardens, french drains, dry wells and food forests that turn runoff into bounty. In parallel session, Heather Montgomery of the Frederick County Office of Sustainability and Environmental Resource Attendees detailed examples of community restoration projects installed throughout Frederick County via collaborative partnerships supported by the Monocacy & Catoctin Watershed Alliance. She noted that these restoration projects include reforestation plantings, urban tree canopy initiatives, engineered bioretention swales, and rain gardens.
Exhibitors at the event included Friends of Waterford Park, Frederick County Master Gardeners, Ecologia, Edible & Ecological Landscapes, Frederick County Office of Sustainability and Environmental Resources, Stadler Nurseries, Aquabarrel LLC, Porter Fieldhouse Foundation, LLC, Standard Solar, and Lucy and Amelia, LLC.
Friends of Baker Park, Inc. was joined by other event cosponsors, including Friends of Waterford Park, Hood College Coastal Studies Program, Frederick County Office of Sustainability and Environmental Resources, the Hood Environmental Advocacy Team (HEAT), Neighborhood Advisory Council (NAC) 6/9, Frederick County Master Gardeners (FCMG), Downtown Frederick Partnership, The Garden Club of Frederick, and The Men’s Garden Club of Frederick.