Meet Patapsco Heritage Greenway! This organization based in Ellicott City, Maryland, aims to protect, preserve and restore the environment throughout the Patapsco River Valley. We spoke with Hannah Zinnert, who antiquated us more with their mission, projects and goals.
Tell us about your organization and your mission:
Patapsco Heritage Greenway (PHG) is the managing entity of the Patapsco Valley Heritage Area, one of Maryland’s 13 certified Heritage Areas. Our mission is to preserve, protect, interpret and restore the environment, history and culture of the Patapsco River Valley.
PHG is at a unique intersection of the local environment, history, heritage, recreation, and tourism. We conduct both environmental and historic resource stewardship. Our environmental program consists of volunteer-based group stewardship events throughout the Patapsco watershed, including stream cleanups, invasive plant removals, tree plantings, tree maintenances, and environmental education events. We also run a Stream Watcher program, in which we train local volunteers to adopt a portion of the Patapsco River or Patapsco tributary by walking, cleaning, monitoring, and reporting on their area.
What is one of your current projects you are the most excited about?
During the upcoming year, Patapsco Heritage Greenway will be working on expanding our outreach, specifically within the Latinx community. Patapsco Valley State Park, portions of which are located within our heritage area boundaries, has a large population of Latinx visitors who use the Patapsco River and its surrounding areas for various reasons. We want our outreach and stewardship efforts to be inclusive of all those who utilize and love the Patapsco River. Thus, we are really excited to be spending this upcoming year working on improving our Latinx outreach through online media, print, and on-the-ground efforts.
What issue area do you hope to focus on more of in the future?
One of our goals for the future is to improve our water quality monitoring efforts in the Patapsco, specifically to understand the impacts that the quantity and quality of stormwater has on this watershed. Our current monitoring efforts focus on basic physical parameters of the various tributaries in the watershed. In the future, we want to be able to include more robust chemical and biological monitoring on a more consistent basis. With these improved monitoring efforts, we would create a well-rounded watershed report card as both a reference and public outreach tool.
What do you hope to gain from being a member of the Coalition?
We are really excited to be a part of the Choose Clean Water Coalition! We hope to use this Coalition as an opportunity to learn from other groups’ successes (and failures), as an opportunity to crowd-source information and discover new ideas, and to improve our partner network so that we may continue collaborating on future projects in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
All photos courtesy of Patapsco Heritage Greenway.