- We could apply for funding to fund a 'stream stewards' program that would essentially professionalize and make permanent the voluntary and low budget illegal point source detection work that Friends of Sligo Creek are doing. Funds would be used to train volunteers to look for signs of pollution and take water samples and to pay for more extensive water sampling than we've had available before and to find the point sources that are (often illegally) causing the point source pollution into Sligo Creek. This is a priority for NFWF with a $40K cap ( Implementing an illicit discharge detection and elimination program )
- We could create a public/private stream restoration and daylighting program that targets reducing erosion and slowing runoff in public or private 'first order' streams and springs (first order means that they are the littlest streams that begin as springs and runoff and feed into bigger streams). The deeply eroding stream channels on private property at Woodland (self-serving I know), county public land at Mississippi/Parkside and undergrounded streams south of 7300 block of Maple Avenue, Holly Avenue and wetland at Devonshire Avenue are all targets for such restoration work. Seed money is available from NFWF for the private property initial planning work (Adopting best practices in private landowner outreach programs and restoration projects )
- We could pay for more structural fixes. For example projects like removing one row of parking from the edge of the hospital property nearest the Carroll Avenue bridge and replacing the pavement with a big sand filtration or other interception and infiltration installation. This would be more of a close fit with the existing use of our money but would allow us to expand work onto private property where some of the biggest problems arise. If this work is integrated and expands on our existing engineering and green street retrofitting work, its eligible for up to $750,000 in support.
- We could apply for money for a new pesticide and fertilizer reduction program that couples City-wide pesticide and fertilizer restrictions or permitting process (like no application of lawn fertilizer in spring when study have study shows it has no value in 'growing' grass or having to apply for a permit to do so) with new staff capacity to do the public outreach and education around such a program. For example, imagine we used the money to hire a roaming City gardener who worked 40 hours a week stopping by residences, carrying out workshops and helping homeowners garden and maintain lawns without chemical/fertilizer inputs. My guess is that would fit NFWF's vision of innovative since I doubt there are many towns, cities or counties willing to take on yard fertilizer application which is one of the biggest sources of bay pollution.
- Vernal pool creation program. Vernal pools are those temporary wetlands that fill up in spring and make wonderful places for frogs and salamanders to breed but dry up by May. They produce few to no mosquitoes but would dramatically increase our woodland amphibian populations. Pools could be created in any flat and wet space for example, places where springs currently drain and the pools themselves could have drains so the City could keep them wet when we wanted them to be wet.
- Impervious surface removal program. We could seeks funds to remove payment in places like the Flower Avenue/Sligo Creek Parkway junction and other areas in the City that contribute disproportionately to runoff directly into creeks.
- We could seek up to $150,000 in technical assistance (i.e. they provide contractors to help us) built a program and designs for stormwater retention and infiltration for all of the low income housing along Maple Avenue or elsewhere in the City. This would be a great environmental justice/watershed restoration effort and we might need that outside engineering capacity (and then subsequent funding) to pull off large scale work in these multifamily buildings.
I'm excited by the possibilities of us ramping up our watershed restoration work - I hope we can pull off a big application for these funds and that resources come through to help us take Sligo Creek in a new direction.