Herald Mail: Stream in Boonsboro park gets natural buffer to ensure a healthy waterway

BOONSBORO — About 35 people helped create a natural buffer Sunday along a stream in Shafer Park, a project that is aimed to keep the waterway healthy in future years and in turn help protect the Chesapeake Bay, town officials said.

The stream that meanders through the park next to the Eugene C. Smith Community Center is unnamed and basically is formed in the park from water that drains from nearby South Mountain, said Boonsboro Town Council member Barbara Wetzel.

The stream goes into Antietam Creek, which is part of a regional watershed that drains into the Chesapeake Bay.

Workers have been mowing grass “right up the edge” of the stream, which was not necessary, said Boonsboro Town Council member Janeen Solberg, who helped create the buffer Sunday with Wetzel, scouts, members of the Antietam Creek Watershed Alliance and other town officials.

The buffer made up of trees and shrubs will create a natural barrier that will filter out pollutants before they reach the stream, Wetzel said.

Wetzel said there are no problems in the stream, but the buffer is designed to keep it a viable waterway in future years.

Solberg said it was good to see youths helping to create the buffer because it is a way for the next generation to understand how waterways need to be protected.

“The more trees we have in our greenscape, the better,” Solberg said.

Wetzel said the trees and bushes that were planted included 27 sycamore trees, five tulip poplar trees, 30 redbud trees, 17 arrowood shrubs and 50 red chokeberry shrubs. Also planted were 100 silky dogwoods and 50 speckled alders, which are large shrubs.

Also planned for the buffer area is the installation of an informational kiosk that will explain the stream’s connection to the Chesapeake Bay and a “simple” fence to help designate area, Wetzel said.

Wetzel said the idea of the buffer came up after the Boonsboro Town Council last year decided to create an environmental commission. A local expert on streams did a study on the stream that runs through Shafer Park to determine what needed to be done to ensure the waterway remains viable, Wetzel said.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the Antietam Creek Watershed Alliance teamed up with the town to establish the buffer, Wetzel said. The foundation raises its own trees and shrubs for such projects and offered the ones planted along the Boonsboro stream for free, Wetzel said.

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