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Church and Partners Complete Project for Cleaner Water, Less Flooding At Historical Cemetery

Press Release 

Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay
Media Contact: Marissa Spratley
Email: mspratley@allianceforthebay.org
Office: 443-949-0575 Cell: 410-718-2728

Asbury Broadneck United Methodist Church
Media Contact: Mattie Wallace
Email: asburybroadneck1@aol.com
Office: 410-757-2995

PRESS RELEASE: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Church and Partners Complete Project for Cleaner Water, Less Flooding At Historical Cemetery
Ribbon cutting ceremony and press conference to commemorate the project held

Annapolis, MD (June 26, 2019) Today, the Asbury Broadneck United Methodist Church (ABUMC) and the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay celebrated the conclusion of a stream and wetland restoration project that took over four years and multiple partners to complete. This project protects ABUMC’s historical African-American cemetery from flooding and prevents the pollution in stormwater runoff from entering Whitehall Creek, the local waterway, and the Chesapeake Bay.

“The historical and cultural context of this project makes it that much more unique and important as it reflects a direct-action response to embracing environmental restoration as well as diversity and inclusion in natural resource management,” said Randy Rowel, Jr., ABUMC Church Stormwater Disciple.

The cemetery at ABUMC has been the resting place of African-American community members for more than 150 years, including enslaved Africans and war veterans, as well as their descendants, including those of Harriet Tubman. The burial locations of those who rest at ABUMC were lost in a fire in the 1950s. The ABUMC Board of Trustees first identified a stormwater runoff issue when development in the area increased. Erosion and frequent flooding negatively impacted the historical cemetery and the stream channel leading to Whitehall Creek. Pollution in stormwater runoff is the fastest growing source of pollution draining into the Chesapeake Bay. Church members sought to increase their knowledge around watershed health and stormwater management issues, seeking to partner with like-minded professionals and watershed groups to address the erosion and flooding issues.

Generous funding for this project was provided by the Chesapeake and Coastal Bays Trust Fund of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Anne Arundel County Watershed Protection and Restoration Program, the Chesapeake Bay Trust, and the Arundel County Watershed Stewards Academy. Additional outreach support was provided by the Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake. The Ottery Group provided archeological services. The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay provided technical support and project management services, while Stormwater Management & Consulting provided design and construction services. The success of this collaborative project is built on the transdisciplinary effort that was driven by ABUMC, and includes community members, watershed organizations, engineers, landscape architects, archaeologists, and more.

“The project is a culmination of local community partners working together, driven by the desire to protect both our cultural and natural resources,” says Kate Fritz, Executive Director of the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay. “The Alliance is very proud to have been a part a project that will keep pollution out of Whitehall Creek and also protect the legacy, and future, of this hallowed cemetery for generations to come.”

About the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay:

Founded in 1971, the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, with headquarters in Annapolis, MD and offices in Richmond, Virginia, and Lancaster, Pennsylvania, works throughout the Bay watershed to lead, support and inspire local action and build partnerships with individuals, communities, governments, businesses and other groups to restore the Bay watershed and its forests, rivers and streams. For more information about the Alliance, visit: allianceforthebay.org

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Marissa Spratley Communications Manager, Maryland & DC Office

Marissa is the Communications Manager at the Alliance’s Headquarters. Her job includes managing communications strategies across the organization and our regional offices.

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