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Back River

NEWS
By Mary Gail Hare, The Baltimore Sun | August 24, 2010
After a yearlong, mostly volunteer restoration effort, Back River in eastern Baltimore County is rid of more than 170 tons of debris, 2,000 tires and just last week, eight huge conduit pipes from a construction site. The river, long considered one of Maryland's most degraded waterways, is showing signs of life. Volunteers are finding crayfish, turtles and even a few crabs. "People are actually stopping and seeing how much work we have done," said Brian Schilpp, a county teacher who coordinates the cleanup.
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FEATURES
By Timothy B. Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun | July 7, 2010
You can talk all you want about cleaning up the environment, but sometimes you just have to get your hands dirty. That's the lesson a muck-spattered Ben Boor says he's picked up from his summer job clearing debris from Back River, one of Maryland's most degraded waterways. And some think it could be a lesson on how to tackle the Chesapeake Bay, too. As the sun blazed overhead Wednesday morning, the 21-year-old from Bel Air and three other area college students waded across the mudflats downriver from Interstate 695, reaching into the shallow water to wrest tires, a plastic garbage can and a waterlogged foam cushion from the murky ooze.
FEATURES
By Timothy B. Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun | July 3, 2010
There's new life in Back River — though not quite what folks had been hoping for. The eastern Baltimore County waterway, long degraded by sewage and development, has been humming the past few summers with hordes of midges, gnat-like insects that swarm over the water and along the shoreline. They don't bite, though they look like mosquitoes. But their mating swarms are bedeviling waterfront residents, boaters and marina operators because the bugs are drawn to lights and light-colored objects.
NEWS
By Liz F. Kay, The Baltimore Sun | May 13, 2010
Back River Neck Road has been shut down in both directions at Old Eastern Avenue in Essex while Baltimore public works crews repair a water main break, according to a DPW spokesman. The break in the 12-inch main is affecting seven businesses, three homes, a senior apartment complex and three hydrants, according to spokesman Kurt Kocher. Bank River Neck Road is closed between Old Eastern Avenue and Homberg Avenue. Temporary repairs were not likely to be completed before the evening rush, Kocher said.
NEWS
May 1, 2010
The city Department of Public Works said residents of eastern Baltimore County neighborhoods along Back River Neck Road should have their water service restored after noon today, as repairs to a 12-inch main valve along the road are being completed on schedule. Water service was shut off at 9 p.m. Friday for about 11,000 customers in Back River Neck, Middle River, Middleborough, Turkey Point, Hyde Park, Rocky Point and Breezy Point and on Marlyn Avenue. The department said that once water is flowing again, residents should run their faucets to let the air out of the line and let the water clear.
NEWS
By Mary Gail Hare, The Baltimore Sun | April 29, 2010
Brian Schilpp, who has spent his life along Back River, said he was never more proud of that heritage than on Wednesday, when he was overlooking a trash boom filled with waterlogged garbage. Baltimore County installed the heavy-duty vinyl boom last month at a cost of $80,000. The 700-foot-long entrapment device, held in place by seven anchors, has been stationed at the headwaters of the Back River, a waterway often reviled for its foul smells and trash-lined banks. While the boom halts the flow of debris downstream, it also shows how much trash is dumped into area waterways.
NEWS
By Mary Gail Hare and Mary Gail Hare,mary.gail.hare@baltsun.com | October 25, 2009
Even a casual glance at the view from his front porch brings an understanding of why Jerry Ziemski has worked so tirelessly to restore Back River. Sunlight glistens on gentle waves lapping at tree-lined shores. Blue herons, ducks and an occasional eagle flutter by. Anglers drop their lines from piers and crabbers check their nets. "I know this view is a dream for a lot of people, and I am lucky to have it," said Ziemski, 54, known to many of his Essex neighbors as Captain Jerry. "I stand on this porch, look out there and know all the cleanup work is worth it."
NEWS
By Mary Gail Hare and Mary Gail Hare,mary.gail.hare@baltsun.com | October 12, 2009
Concerned residents have recently cleared the Back River and its tributaries of more than 10 tons of debris and are urging officials to address continuing problems with trash flowing into the eastern Baltimore County creeks. The same group, striving to clean up the waterway's image, has adopted a new slogan - "Scenic Back River -- Discover the Hidden Treasure." While that caption will soon appear on nearby bridges and roadways, group members say the waterway still needs much polishing before it achieves gem status.
NEWS
By Timothy B. Wheeler and Timothy B. Wheeler,tim.wheeler@baltsun.com | June 19, 2009
State and local officials are looking to buy a 190-acre waterfront farm in eastern Baltimore County from a developer, even though the partly wooded spread on Back River scored poorly on a rating system the state uses to rank potential purchases for parkland. No deal has been reached, and no one would reveal what price has been discussed with developer Mark C. Sapperstein, who says he has spent at least $6 million to buy and improve the land. But county officials, who paid Sapperstein more than the appraised value of another property two years ago, say they would be "very interested" in acquiring Bauer's Farm to preserve it from development and to expand public access to the river and Chesapeake Bay. "Anytime Baltimore County could preserve a couple hundred acres of prime waterfront property and add it to the county's park inventory, that would always get our interest," said Don Mohler, spokesman for County Executive James T. Smith Jr. The farm, with nearly a mile of shoreline, adjoins 1,360-acre North Point State Park, which has a wading beach, fishing pier and hiking trails.
NEWS
By Mary Gail Hare and Mary Gail Hare,mary.gail.hare@baltsun.com | February 15, 2009
They saw well-preserved homes built nearly 100 years ago for residents whose children weren't allowed to attend nearby schools. They learned of the modest cabins that black steelworkers had renovated brick by brick into solid cottages. They passed century-old churches that endure at the heart of long-established African-American neighborhoods. As their tour bus drove through parts of Baltimore County's east side, the 60 people aboard heard stories about the area's history from Louis S. Diggs, 76, a self-published author of nine books on African-American life in the county.
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