St. Mary's Co. Gov. News Briefs

Funding and Assistance Available for Homeowners Experiencing Shoreline Erosion

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) currently offers funding and project management assistance, through their Maryland Chesapeake and Coastal Program's Shoreline Conservation Section, to homeowners who are experiencing shoreline erosion on their property. Specifically, the program can help with funding, design, and construction of non-structural shorelines, also known as Living Shorelines. DNR will help to determine which types of devices would best fit a particular property.

The Living Shoreline Protection Act of 2008 created a law that requires and, more importantly, encourages living shorelines as a means of protecting property along a shoreline in lieu of devices such as bulkheads, timber walls and stone revetments that were historically utilized.

A living shoreline consists of a small stone structure channel ward, with sand and marsh grasses planted behind the stone structure, allowing for tidal flow with nutrients and aquatic life to flourish within the marsh grasses.

For more information on this program and funding specifics, visit DNR's website at or contact Bhaskar Subramanian, Program Manager for Habitat Restoration and Conservation, at 443-454-1638 or via email to bhaskar.subramanian [at]

Perc Tests to Begin

(February 9, 2015) Due to high seasonal groundwater levels, the St. Mary’s County Health Department will now begin wet season perc testing for lower terrace soil. Perc testing for all other soil types (upland areas) will begin as soon as those water tables reach normal wet season range. Perc testing was suspended in June 2014 due to declining groundwater levels.

Perc test applications received since last June which were not able to be conducted will be scheduled first. While the levels are high enough for testing, the testing may not run continuously through the winter and early spring. The water table may recede causing the testing to be suspended; testing would be resumed when tables rebound to wet season ranges.

Environmental Health Specialists at the Health Department conduct soil evaluations for the construction of residential and commercial septic systems. They also evaluate soil for replacement septic systems when the current septic systems fail. The application for a new construction perc test is located at the St. Mary’s County Department of Land Use and Growth Management (LUGM) and requires a fee. The application can be found by logging on to the St. Mary’s County Government website at Click on Land Use and Growth Management under Citizen Services. All permit applications are available for download from the Permits page. The LUGM Department is located in the Patuxent Building on the Governmental Center Campus in Leonardtown.

For more information, please contact the St. Mary’s County Health Department Environmental Health Division at 301-475-4321, the St. Mary’s County Land Use and Growth Management Department’s Permit Services at 301-475-4200 x1500, or the Health Department’s website at

Southern Maryland Film Festival Coming to Leonardtown

Film submissions are currently being accepted for the Inaugural Southern Maryland Film Festival, to be held Saturday, July 11, 2015 in Leonardtown, Maryland. Filmmakers of all ages and all levels of experience are invited to submit their own films to be shown at various locations throughout the town. Prizes will be awarded in several categories.

The Friends of the Leonardtown Theater is partnering with the Southern Maryland Film Society and the Town of Leonardtown's Arts & Entertainment District to host the Festival, which is open to local film makers from - and films made in - Charles, Calvert and St. Mary's Counties. Submission deadline is April 30, 2015. Those wishing to submit their film for consideration or to volunteer to help with the festival should go to

Businesses in the tri-county area that would like to be a sponsor for the film festival should contact Theresa at Many thanks to Metrocast and Metrocast Channel 10 who have already signed on as a media sponsor, and to The Rex, Crazy Ewe, and Marrick Homes who have offered to be screening venues.

Second District VFD and Rescue Squad Withdraws Tax Hike Request

St. Mary's County Government has received a request from the Second District Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad, Inc. to retract its request to begin the public process of raising fire and rescue tax rates.

The proposed tax hikes would have affected properties within the second and ninth election districts.

The Board from the Second District Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad met Wednesday evening and voted to withdraw their request.

Due to the late vote to withdraw their request a notice of public hearing will appear in The Enterprise on Friday (13-FEB). However, the advertisement for the public hearing will no longer appear after that. The Second District Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad will also alert the public via electronic message boards along local roadways within their service area.

Backyard Woodland Workshop Coming to Leonardtown

Want to learn how to better manage the natural areas on your property or convert some lawn into natural area? Then take part in the upcoming "The Woods in Your Backyard Workshop." The workshop takes place on Saturday, March 7, 2015, from 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. and is sponsored by the St. Mary's County Commission on the Environment in cooperation with the St. Mary's County Forestry Board and University of Maryland Extension (UME). The Agricultural Services Center will play host to the event and is located at 26737 Radio Station Way, Suite C, in Leonardtown.

The workshop will provide the basics of woodland and wildlife management for small acreage property owners with more than an acre. But it's also useful for smaller properties as well. Participants will learn how to make their woodlands work for them and develop a plan for their property. Landowners of just a few acres can make a positive difference in their environment through planning and implementing the stewardship practices discussed. The workshop will include a combination of presentation and small group activities.

Small lots are important, since the vast majority of landowners have less than 10 acres. By enhancing or creating natural areas and woodland on these small lots, the landowner can enjoy recreation, aesthetics, wildlife and improve water quality, not to mention property value in many cases.

There will be a special focus on converting lawn to natural areas. If a landowner's lot connects with other lots, there is ample opportunity to make an even larger impact by getting neighbors involved. Workshop participants will learn:

-- How to map their land and surrounding properties and options for taking action;

-- How to identify land management units on their property;

-- The basics of tree identification, forestry, and wildlife habitat management;

-- How to assess water resources, recreational possibilities, aesthetic appeal and ways to improve each;

-- How to convert excess lawn area to natural areas;

-- How to choose a few land management projects to help meet their goals and set a timetable.

The simple stewardship practices taught at this workshop will provide many personal benefits, including the opportunity to spend more time outdoors with family and friends.

The registration fee is $20 per individual and $30 per couple. Workshop participants will also receive a full-color 130-page guide, The Woods in Your Backyard: Learning to Create and Enhance Natural Areas Around Your Home, as a program reference (a $25 value), lunch and other resource materials. Those interested in attending can register on-line with a credit card at: or send the registration form and check to UME-St. Mary's County, Backyard Woodland Workshop, P.O. Box 663 Leonardtown MD 20650. Registrations are due by Thursday, March 5.

For more information regarding registration contact Jamie Fleming via email at or visit Please make all checks payable to the University of Maryland. A registration form and agenda can be found on UME's Woodland Stewardship Education Events page at: Those interested in information about program content can contact Jonathan Kays at jkays [at] or by phone to 301-432-2767 x 323.

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