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Monitoring Water Quality in Your Backyard

October 9, 2011 Green Blog 1 Comment


Muddy Branch Stream Cleanup


Gaithersburg, MD

October 9, 2011

By: Alex Stavitsky-Zeineddin

Rainfall brings essential nutrients to trees, plants and yards but excess storm waters flow into drains and then into the Muddy Branch tributary stream here in Gaithersburg.

This excess water contains pesticides, phosphates, construction materials and whatever else is out there on the roads, sidewalks and yards.

These waters eventually flow into the Potomac River and then into the Chesapeake Bay, where large areas of algae have created dead zones. Dead zones are areas of water that have little or no marine life.

A new non-profit called the Muddy Branch Alliance was founded last spring in Gaithersburg, Md. It’s main focus is water quality and its effects. The Muddy Branch Alliance is actively engaging communities and individuals to start thinking about water quality.

Founder Paul Hlavinka, an electrical engineer, elevated his concern for the environment into his mission when he started this organization.

“It didn’t take long to get other people interested in water quality issues,” says Hlavinka . “I called a few people in Gaithersburg, such as the Scale it Back organization and members of the Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, and found 27 people at the first Muddy Branch Alliance meeting.”

The Muddy Branch Alliance has teamed up with the City of Gaithersburg and the Izaak Walton League to provide a free water monitoring workshop on November 12 for people interested in testing local water quality. The Izaak Walton league is known for its water quality training programs.

According to Hlavinka, water monitoring will be performed twice a year. If potential illicite discharges are identified, they can be reported  to Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection. If trends are found then Gaithersburg City Planning, Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection, as well as Montgomery County Parks Department can be notified so that they can consider restoration efforts.

“If we find that stated impacts by developers are not being met, we can notify the developer and the Montgomery County of Environmental Protection for a plan to do better”, says Hlavinka.

The Muddy Branch Alliance offers a variety of other programs too, such as organized stream cleanups and landscape workshops to minimize run-off.

Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. Here at the Chesapeake Bay Trust we are very proud to have the Muddy Branch Alliance as our October Organization of the Month! http://www.cbtrust.org/site/c.miJPKXPCJnH/b.54577

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