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RiverWise Congregations: Creating Environmental Stewards from Faithful Stewards

RiverWise Congregations is busy installing stormwater BMPs, including rain gardens and native plant gardens, at houses of worship throughout Anne Arundel County in Maryland. RiverWise Congregations, started in 2014, is an extension of the Alliances RiverWise Communities program and engages 20+ congregations in Anne Arundel County, Maryland and their members in the Chesapeake Bay restoration effort and improve stormwater runoff from their house of worship properties. To date, four congregations have completed their construction projects with the rest under way or breaking ground this fall.

One recently completed project at Payne Memorial in Jessup, Maryland successfully captured all the runoff from the building’s roof and filtered it through 2 rain gardens, a large cistern and native plant gardens. Master Watershed Steward and Payne Memorial Congregant Kirvin Bonner was pleased with the outcome, saying, “The system is well-designed to trap pollutants that would otherwise flow into the Patuxent River and Chesapeake Bay. Notwithstanding the added beauty to the landscape, the native plants and trees planted will provide habitat for bees, butterflies, birds and other wildlife.”

READY Youth Workers installing rain garden.

Some of the RiverWise Congregations installation projects will act as the kick off for a new endeavor, the Anne Arundel READY (Restoring the Environment and Developing Youth) Program. This will be an extension of our successful Howard County READY Program and will introduce and employ in green jobs young adults, ages 16-25, in Anne Arundel County to the environmental field. READY will also partner with local groups around Annapolis to help complete service projects, including invasive species removal and trail restoration projects. During the week of October 12th, 10 READY employees installed a native plant garden and meadow to attract native wildlife and replace existing sod. READY is beneficial for all participating parties, providing valuable job training for young adults and eager hands to help install valuable water restoring projects in local communities.

For more information on RiverWise Congregations please go here.