Part of stream being returned to natural state


July 15, 1998|By Pat Brodowski | Pat Brodowski,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

A TRANSFORMATION is under way in a section of a tiny stream that receives water discharged from Hampstead Water Treatment Plant at the edge of the Robert's Field development.

The water discharge area was a broad concrete slab as wide and straight as a roadbed. Since this tiny tributary falls within the Gunpowder watershed, it's included in an extensive program to safeguard the watershed.

This bit of stream has been redesigned to return to a natural state by the end of this month. It's hoped that trout will be enticed to move upstream.

The old concrete streambed, an artifact of the discontinued use of chlorine to treat wastewater, had become picturesquely overgrown. Construction has eliminated the wild plants, but the new stream will receive a forest of red maple, sycamore, spicebush, black gum, hornbeam and viburnum on its sloping banks.

Ronnie Skillman of Joppa, foreman of the four-man crew sculpting a natural-looking stream for Holland Turf Inc., has 25 years in excavations, usually placing utility lines. He's enjoying the challenge of following exacting plans for carving the twists and pools where the runway of concrete had been.

"When I first saw this, I wondered what had I gotten into," Skillman said, as the men were about halfway finished. "Now after I see what I've done, it's looking good."

Crew members Bill Triplett of Gamber, Leonard Kemper of near Gamber, and Mike McMillion of Hanover, Pa., first pulled out the old, wire-reinforced concrete to be recycled by C. J. Miller of Manchester.

Now they scoop each pool and curve for the new stream within two-tenths of a foot, following plans designed by Brightwater Inc. Environmental Consulting of Bethesda.

?3 They use the latest stream-building techniques.

"Root wads" are a log-cabin style configuration of huge tree trunks with roots attached. Roots from one trunk project into the stream, and three other trunks reach 18 feet into the surrounding bank and streambed. Each root wad naturally strengthens one elbow in the stream.

Following plans, they carefully place boulders across the water to create riffles.

"Riffles oxygenate the water," said Kathy Rappe, chief of the Division of Water Resource Management for the county's Bureau of Environmental Services, when discussing the proposed stream renewal last spring.

"A naturally reproducing trout stream is the highest standard we have. What is needed for trout are shade, cool water and high levels of oxygen. We expect and hope once the stream is restored, with vegetation and ground water keeping the water cold, you'll be able to see the trout moving upstream," Rappe said.

"We've seen fish already, little ones," crew member Kemper said.

As work progresses, county officials step in frequently to measure the temperature of the water and streambed elevations.

To ensure the stream would not receive excessive chemicals, last spring residents of The Fields Homeowners Association were given free native plant and organic gardening workshops by the Cooperative Extension Service.

Sea Lions swim

The Sea Lions swim team held its first home meet at the Manchester/Lineboro Lions Club Pool on Saturday. The team is readying for a second meet at the Manchester pool Saturday morning and finishes the season by playing host to Division 8 championships July 25.

"Swim team is very competitive. We also have a lot of fun," said Donna Bressler, whose children Kaitlin, 13, and Jessica, 9, are on the team with 55 other children who range in age from younger than 6 through high school.

She and her husband, Dan Bressler, have organized the North Carroll team for two years with community support.

The Sea Lions swim against teams in the Central Maryland Swim League, which created Division 8 to encourage new teams, like this one, to form. Once the team wins a meet by 100 points, it

advances to the next higher division.

"The goal on a much smaller scale is that each kid swims to improve their time," Bressler said.

Sabraya Ibrahim of Westminster, with 12 years of competitive swimming experience, is coaching for the first time. This year, several Sea Lions will compete in an all-division championship meet to be held at Padonia on July 22.

Prospective swim team members can observe a typical meet Saturday. The division meet July 25 will be busy, expecting to draw 250 swimmers and parents.

"People may think their child won't be good enough for swim team," Bressler said. "But swim team is lessons and endurance at the same time. Nobody's expecting to break any records, but to improve each time. Anybody can do it if they're enthusiastic about it."

Information: 410-239-3870.

Vacation at Bible school

Children can vacation in the tropics next week at Trinity United Church of Christ in Manchester. They'll take daily excursions to Sonlight Island, a tropical theme destination for Bible study, crafts and friendship offered by the church's Vacation Bible School.

The pretend departure begins daily at 8: 45 a.m. with return at noon. The week begins Monday and ends July 24, with a luau at 6: 30 p.m.

The church is at 3229 York St., Manchester. Registration: the church office at 410- 374-2727 or Joan Waugh, 410-374-1768.

Pat Brodowski's North neighborhood column appears each Wednesday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

Pub Date: 7/15/98

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