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Thursday, November 29, 2018

Day 3: Conservation Landscaping Construction

Day 3 and the plants are going in.

Large stepping stones will lead the families to the upper level homes.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Day 2: Conservation Landscape Construction

Today is the final removal of turf and ground cover.
Turf removal and a temporary sign

We put up a temporary sign to let local owners and pedestrians know what's coming soon for storm water management.

Kit Gage (Friends of Sligo Creek) and Mark Dennis (Back Yard Bounty) review the water diversion placement. A trench or speed hump will direct the water into the conservation landscape area.

The ground will need to be dug out in order for it to dip down off the curb. This will allow rain water to pool and then flow slowly down hill.

As the water flows down hill, the goal is to "slow it down, spread it out, and soak it in."

The micro-berms are set up to slow down the water. Their placement is critical to make sure the water does not "blow out" a berm and then overflow into the street.

Jeff Popp (Chesapeake Bay Trust) arrived on site to meet our team leaders and to make sure things were progressing properly according to grant rules.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Day 1: Conservation Landscaping Construction

The landscapers arrived early. Most of the day was digging up grass, invasive ground cover (vinca) and honeysuckle bushes.

Before: Looking uphill over ground cover

Removing ground cover

On Day 1 there's a lot of digging and pulling to get the invasives loose. 

Before: Looking downhill over invasive growth

As you look downhill (before) you can see the honeysuckle bushes and English ivy (with poison ivy hidden underneath). 

After: Looking downhill with invasives removed

The ground is pretty bare with the invasive ground covers and honeysuckles removed.
During the day, the children in the playground kept an eye on all the activity. 

At the end of the day, a youngster 
ran up and starting digging and poking, saying, "This is where they are planting a new garden. I'm going to draw some  lines to show the workers where to put things." 

Friday, November 16, 2018

Storm water management in Seven Oaks Park

The hill going up to Hamilton Ave
For quite a few years, Friends of Sligo Creek, Three Oaks Association, and neighbors who live near Seven Oaks have talked to Montgomery County representatives from the Department of Parks and the Department of Environmental Protection about erosion and rain issues on the steep hill leading from Hamilton Avenue down to the playground. 

This photo shows the erosion on the hill that goes up to Hamilton Avenue during a 2017 rain storm. 

The County has tried several remediation efforts, such unclogging the upper and lower storm drains and re-planting the grass on the hill. Nothing has been very effective, partly due to prior erosion paths, the steepness of the hill, the deep shade in this area, and the fact that it’s a sledding hill.

Mud collects near the park drain
The erosion means that muddy stormwater collects at the bottom of the hill, which stops up the storm drain or sits below the drain.
Then the mud and silt overflow down the Three Oaks sidewalk and parking area, and run down the street and into our storm drains, which empty into Sligo Creek.

In August 2018, representatives from Three Oaks HOA and Friends of Sligo Creek initiated a new collaboration with Montgomery County Parks and Montgomery County Rainscapes (DEP). After meeting at the site, attendees discussed several solutions that would help, such as removing one impervious walkway, re-grading the area, and adding plants to absorb water. 

There is not one easy, simple solution due to mature trees and electric and water lines. A few drawings were produced and a follow-up meeting was held on November 15, 2018 with a County Parks  engineer. 

Three Oaks Association signed a letter of collaboration, expressing our agreement if the sidewalk removal and planted area was partly on Three Oaks Association (3OA) property.  3OA also will pay our landscapers to maintain the planted area. 

Proposed plans for slowing down rain water
Everyone agreed that the mutual collaboration would make the project more viable. Plus this effort pairs nicely with the nearby Conservation Landscaping being installed by 3OA under a Chesapeake Bay Trust grant.

The 11/15/2018 meeting included representatives from County Parks, DEP, FOSC, and 3OA.  

We talked through the last changes to a design that will be implemented by the County Parks department during winter 2018 or spring 2019.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Look for our "coming soon" signs!

Our new Conservation Landscaping is coming soon!

Look for our sign near the Little Free Libraries in Seven Oaks Park and Playground. You'll see the concept drawing and an arrow pointing to the planned construction next to the street, up above the large boulders.

Storm Drain stickers help alert people to where drains exit

It's important to inform and educate the public about storm drains. Many of us do not know that around 70% of all storm drains lead directly into open waterways, without any treatment.

That is certainly true of the storm drains on Three Oaks Drive. Our storm drains run directly into Sligo Creek.  Street pollutants, silt, pet wastes, pesticides, asphalt granules from our roofs: These all run into our open storm drains, and these items damage the creek's water quality. 

And since Sligo Creek runs into the Anacostia and from there into the Potomac and the Chesapeake Bay, the health of every waterway affects the next part of the water system -- all the way to the ocean. 

A drain marker provides a visual "warning sign" to help inform and educate people that anything that is poured/dropped into the drain will go into waterways untreated.

Montgomery County supports individuals, groups, and communities that want to install drain markers on their storm drains. Go to the links below to learn how to help and to get your free materials. It's a great project for a family, a scout troop, a classroom, or a church group. 

Please go to these links: 

  • Join the Montgomery County storm drain marking program.  

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Telling families at the park & playground about our Conservation Landscape project

The Three Oaks Association and Friends of Sligo Creek are getting closer to the installation of the Conservation Landscape project.

In October, we spent some time in the Seven Oaks Park and Playground. The park is busy with children and families who play here, as well as numerous joggers, dog walkers, and bike riders who are passing through, enjoying the fall weather.

Maya, Stella, and Aubrey represent the 'hood
 in learning about capturing stormwater.

We are telling people about the upcoming construction, what the purpose is, what it will look like, and how it will benefit them and our environment.

"Think about where you're walking so you don't
hurt the new plants," says Nina 

Nina is showing friends where the new landscape will be, and how children should walk around the new plants as they are getting established.

Friday, November 2, 2018

More presentations to Three Oaks Association homeowners

The Storm Water Grant Team held another information session with HOA owners.

It was a great chance to hear how Montgomery County and the Chesapeake Bay Trust are working with property owners to control stormwater and help get it back into the ground instead of running into storm drains.  Every effort to divert rain water into the ground helps reduce pollution in Sligo Creek.

The question of the evening was how to divert rain water from our parking lot and street into the new Conservation Landscaping. 

A speed bump is one way to divert water across a road. 

But on our street, there's a steep uphill curve. 

When you have to navigate snow and ice in the winter,  a speed bump that forces you to slow down at the crest of hill can be treacherous

We talked about the pros and cons of installing a trench drain instead. 

The main downside is the cost: 
A trench drain costs more than three times as much as an asphalt speed bump. 

There were several questions. 

How will the Conservation Landscaping be maintained?
Answer: The weeding and mulching will be added to the 3OA annual landscaping contract. 

How would you keep a  trench drain clear of leaves and debris?
Answer: 3OA currently cleans out our drainage system once a year. The trench drain could be added to that contract. 

Our owners are enthusiastic and they have lots of ideas!