NPLD Event Spotlight: Volunteers at Ft. Meade to Offer Help with Stormwater Management

NPLD partner Department of Defense (DoD) is planning several National Public Lands Day events this year, including activities at Ft. Meade in Maryland. Located halfway between Baltimore and Washington, D.C., and about 20 miles from the Maryland state capital of Annapolis, Ft. Meade is Maryland’s largest employer and the third-largest Army installation workforce in the country. Covering 5,067 acres, it is a city unto itself. In 2017, Ft. Meade was awarded funds through DoD’s Natural Resources Program to plan and host an NPLD event. NPLD Department of Defense Awards provide military installations with grant funds of up to $6,500 to implement natural and cultural resource restoration and enhancement projects on DoD lands.

On September 30, Ft. Meade is inviting families who live on the post, students who attend high school and middle school at the installation, and military personnel to help with a beautification project of existing stormwater infiltration practices in a highly visible portion of Fort Meade.

Volunteers will spend the morning weeding and pruning overgrown vegetation, removing invasive species, and planting native vegetation around the site’s Defense Information School. The project aims to stave off overgrown vegetation, replacing it with trees, shrubs, and grasses that are native to the area and help filter rainwater.

“I saw an email about National Public Lands Day and it seemed like a great opportunity to get people outside and to engage those who are active duty at Ft. Meade with the local community while highlighting the importance of stormwater management,” explains Maribeth Gravunder, an environmental engineer at Ft. Meade and an organizer of this year’s NPLD event. The work planned for National Public Lands Day is important for maintaining the natural state of the lands in the face of increasing development throughout the area.

NEEF is planning environmental education activities for young volunteers at the site, including a presentation on sun safety and tips everyone can use to stay safe while working outdoors. Several dignitaries from DOD as well as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are expected to participate in a short program. Because the event is occurring on a DOD installation, non-military volunteers need advanced clearance to participate in this event.

The DoD Legacy Resource Management Program joined the NPLD partnership in 1999 to support volunteer habitat restoration as well as cultural and historical projects on military installations throughout the United States. For the past 18 years, DoD Legacy funding has helped subsidize the repair, rehabilitation, or installation of infrastructure such as roads and bridges, visitor centers, trails, benches and signage. Learn more about the DoD Legacy Resource Management Program here.