Convenience Centers to Accept Oyster Shells for Recycling
Beginning in June, all St. Mary's County Convenience Centers, with assistance from the Oyster Recovery Partnership's (ORP's) Shell Recycling Alliance (SRA) program, will begin collecting used oyster shells. The shells will be used as substrate on which to plant new oysters in the Chesapeake Bay.
Oyster shells will be collected in specially marked recycling containers and transported to the Horn Point Lab in Cambridge, Maryland - the largest hatchery in the world for our native oyster. Once the shells are aged and dried, each shell is "seeded" with about 10 baby oysters and then "planted" back into the Bay.
Oyster reefs are believed to be critical to the restoration of the Bay, but the limited availability of oyster shells have become a barrier to restoration. An adult oyster can filter and clean approximately 50 gallons of water a day, and healthy oyster reefs provide an ideal habitat for other important marine life, including blue crabs and striped bass.
"Hopefully this program will help make people aware that the shell they usually throw away has an important greater purpose," said George Erichsen, Director of St. Mary's County Department of Public Works & Transportation.
The SRA program began in 2010 with 21 restaurants in Baltimore and Annapolis. Today, it includes over 200 businesses, local governments, and individuals throughout the Maryland, Virginia, and Delaware region. For more information and a video of the oyster recovery program, please visit http://www.oysterrecovery.org/sra-page/.
Culvert Replacement Project to Close Dr. Johnson Road
Beginning June 16, Dr. Johnson Road (located in Helen) will be closed for a period of approximately four (4) to five (5) months for the replacement and upgrade of existing culverts at St. Clements Creek (one mile south of MD 238 - see map below). Motorists are asked to use the signed detour route via MD 5, MD 242, and MD 238 during the closure period. While work on the project is underway, residents may experience additional temporary inconveniences, such as construction traffic and noise.
Improvements to Dr. Johnson Road will consist of removal and replacement of deteriorated culverts crossing the roadway at St. Clement's Creek. The new culverts will be a cast in place triple concrete box culvert. Construction of these improvements, along with the raising of the roadway, will decrease the frequency of flooding, increase the design life, and remove the current weight restrictions on the structure.
This is a cooperative project between the St. Mary's County Board of County Commissioners, State and Federal Highway Administrations, and the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA).
For more information contact the St. Mary's County Department of Public Works & Transportation at (301) 863-8400.
MetCom Sanitary Sewer Leak Reported
The St. Marys County Metropolitan Commission is reporting a sanitary sewer leak that occurred in the area of the Piney Point Road and Blake Creek Road intersection, Valley Lee, MD. St. Marys County Metropolitan Commission staff responded immediately upon notification of the leak on June 3, 2014 at 6:00 am and the leak was contained at 6:45 am. The sanitary sewer leak occurred as a result of pipe failure and the total estimated volume of the leak is 20,000 gallons. Receiving waters affected by this leak include portions of Woodland Branch and Redman Branch from the pipe failure site downstream to Herring Creek. Public contact of the affected portions of Woodland Branch, Redman Branch and the headwaters of Herring Creek should be avoided for seven days.
New FEMA Coastal Flood Maps Ready for Review
Public Open House scheduled for June 9, 2014
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has released updates to the coastal flood maps, known as Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs), for St. Mary's County. These updates are to be preliminarily issued to St. Mary's County and the incorporated areas on June 9, 2014. The FIRMs indicate flood-prone coastal areas in St. Mary's County, and insurance companies use FIRMs to determine flood insurance rates for buildings and contents. St. Mary's County residents and property owners are encouraged to learn more about their flood risk and the updates shown on the preliminary maps.
St. Mary's County will hold a public Coastal Flood Risk Open House on the updates at Dr. James A. Forrest Career And Technology Center 24005 Point Lookout Rd, Leonardtown, MD 20650 on Monday, June 9, from 6 to 8:30 PM. Using interactive flood maps at this Open House, representatives from the State, County, Town of Leonardtown, along with FEMA and their mapping partners, will be available to answer flood risk and insurance questions and explain the preliminary maps.
Flooding is the number one natural disaster in the United States. It is vital for property owners to understand their risk and take advantage of tools and programs available to them, including flood insurance, to help reduce flooding impacts.
The preliminary maps to be shared at the Open House are an update of the existing FIRM, which dates back to October 2004. These preliminary FIRMs and the associated Flood Insurance Study (FIS) provide the basis for flood risk education and floodplain management measures. St. Mary's County is required to adopt updated maps to continue participating in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which makes flood insurance available to the community.
As a result of these map updates, some buildings in St. Mary's County may, for the first time, be included in a high-risk flood zone, known as the Special Flood Hazard Area, or SFHA. This may result in mandatory purchase of flood insurance for those affected property owners. FEMA staff will be at the Open House and available to speak with property owners about these updates and what it means to them.
Additional information, including links to the interactive mapping website, can be found at http://www.R3Coastal.com or by contacting one of the Environmental Planners in the Department of Land Use and Growth Management at 301-475-4200, ext. 1500.
Treasurer's Office now Issuing Dog Tags
Dog owners in St. Mary's County are reminded they will need to purchase tags for their pets through the County Treasurer's office or duly authorized agent. Before a license can be issued, the owner will need to produce a valid rabies certificate, issued by a licensed veterinarian, certifying that the dog is currently vaccinated against rabies. All dogs four months old or older are required to have a St. Mary's County license.
Each license certificate should include the date of issuance and expiration date, the owner's name, address, home telephone number, the animal's sex, breed, age, color/markings, rabies vaccination date, rabies tag number, and animal's name. Before any unsexed license can be issued, the owner needs to produce a certificate of surgical sterilization, issued by a licensed veterinarian, certifying that the dog has been spayed or neutered.
The annual dog license fees are:
-- Unneutered Male $7.50, Unspayed Female $7.50
-- Neutered Male $2.00, Spayed Female $2.00
License tags will be issued with the license certificate. Dogs are required to wear their tag at all times, except when confined in a kennel or when participating in a competition where such display is prohibited.
The license period is concurrent with the fiscal year, July 1 to June 30. License and tag expire on June 30 of each year. New tags need to be purchased between June 1st and July 31st. Beginning August 1 of each year, there will be an additional $2.00 penalty fee per license.
Pet licenses can be obtained at the St. Mary's County Treasurer's Office with the rabies and sterilization certificate proofs or by mailing copies of these certificates with the appropriate fee and a self-addressed stamp envelope to P.O. Box 642, 23150 Leonard Hall Drive, Leonardtown, MD 20650. Checks should be made payable to the St. Mary's County Treasurer. Cats are excluded from the licensing requirement.
For more information about the county's Animal Control Regulation go to http://www.stmarysmd.com/publicsafety/AnimalControlRegulations.pdf or call 301-475-8108 or via email to animalcontrol [at] co.saint-marys.md.us.