Frederick Program Brings “My Brookies” Back to Monocacy
Frederick County has created an innovative new program called “My Brookies” to engage area residents and environmentalists in restoring native brook trout. Shannon Moore of Frederick County’s Community Development Team was the innovator behind the restoration and brook trout initiative. Her goal is really getting communities in Frederick to think about how they can help to save the clean streams that brook trout need to survive. Frederick County’s “My Brookies” idea of involving families, homeowners and landowners is unique in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.
“We have native populations of these fish in the Upper Monocacy that are genetically distinct and don’t exist anywhere else in the world,” said Moore. “By planting trees, managing fertilizer and other lawn chemicals, and controlling stormwater runoff, you can work with your neighbors to save this unique resource,” she said. “The great thing about this program is that it provides participants with a $200 “Brookie Restoration Plan” on their property from a professional landscape contractor, at no cost to them. Then it provides 80 percent of the cost of up to $1,000 of approved work on the property.”
My Brookies information may soon be found at www.frederickgreenchallenge.org. The program includes a site with challenges for residents of Frederick County that let them save money, save energy and go green. The tool will be modified to track activities related to My Brookies.
“Protection and restoration of brook trout within Frederick County is within our reach. If you live on land that drains to a stream with brook trout, then you have an opportunity to improve the waters going into the stream and save our native brook trout populations,” said Moore. “Without a coordinated and strong effort, these trout, which are highly prized for fishing and as indicators of great stream conditions, are expected to die-off in the next few decades,” she said.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Trout Unlimited and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF at www.nfwf.org) are teaming-up with Frederick County to support “My Brookies” and create trout habitat on the Monocacy Watershed. This should be great news for fisherman and families who enjoy Frederick’s regional trout streams and rivers.
It’s all part of the Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund administered by NFWF. In a unique public funding and private matching partnership, $446,000 in NFWF grant money was awarded to Frederick County late last year. Work on a comprehensive restoration program for brook trout restoration projects in the targeted Upper Monocacy Watershed will begin in the spring.
Jake Reilly, director of the NFWF Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund, helped support the decision to fund Frederick County. “This is an example of how building landowner awareness and ownership of local natural resources can help translate into on-the-ground action. Partnerships like Frederick County and Trout Unlimited are demonstrating how targeted investments can achieve maximum results from local communities and the broader Chesapeake region.”
“We’re proud of Frederick County taking the lead in the Upper Monocacy Watershed which ultimately helps reduce sediment, fertilizer and other run-off into the Chesapeake Bay,” Reilly added.
“We have found that people really enjoy engaging their whole families in the challenge,” Frederick County’s Shannon Moore said. “I wanted to tie that into the goals of watershed restoration and track pollutant reductions so that people can see how they are making a difference to their local waterway and to the Chesapeake Bay. It’s especially meaningful to be working to protect a species of special concern that lives near your home.”
by Mike Smith, the GreenSmith Blog