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Habitat Gardening and Watersheds

  • Subject: [cg] Habitat Gardening and Watersheds
  • From: "Hadley Milliken" hmilliken.acb@verizon.net
  • Date: Wed, 18 Jan 2006 15:27:58 -0500

(In response to the January 14th Washington Post article on Habitat
Gardening and Don B's comments on potential partnerships)

Not long ago, our nonprofit environmental organization, The Alliance for the
Chesapeake Bay, received a grant to work with a local community garden and
plant a BayScape demonstration garden- promoting environmentally sound
landscaping practices that create wildlife habitat, conserve water, and
prevent pollution for the benefit and restoration of local waterways
including the Chesapeake Bay. Native plants and organic methods were used
and it was not only an opportunity to create habitat but also a powerful
community education tool. We held a Community Work Day in conjunction with
the BayScape garden planting and delivered some community watershed
education discussing the impact of impervious surfaces and stormwater runoff
on the water quality of local streams and rivers.

We discussed the concept of a watershed and how we "'all live down stream"-
what ever we do in our gardens (excess fertilizers, pesticides) and other
consumer choices we make ultimately effects the water quality of our local
streams and rivers and drinking water. We also discussed other stormwater
management techniques such as rain gardens, rain barrels, grass swales,
porous alternatives to impervious surfaces etc. As well, we installed an
information sign in the BayScape demo garden with a discussion of the
philosophy of BayScapes and where folks can go for further info.

I think there is a great opportunity for community gardens to partner with
local watershed organizations and Friends of groups (local rivers, streams,
bays etc.) to incorporate this holistic watershed education, using native
plants to create wildlife habitat and reduce water usage, integrated pest
management, etc. while making the connection that ultimately the efforts of
the community garden, not to mention a myriad of other
social/community/health/spiritual benefits, also contributes to cleaner
water in creeks/streams/rivers/bays/oceans and drinking water supplies!

Hadley Milliken
Program Associate
Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay
P.O.Box 1981
Richmond, VA 23219
Phone  804.775.0951
Fax      804.775.0954
Email    hmilliken@acb-online.org
Website  www.AllianceChesBay.org

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