Buffer Management Strategy
The St. Mary's College campus overlooks 2,700 feet of shoreline along the St. Mary's River. The site includes highly diverse tidal and non-tidal water resources - streams, creeks, marshes, wetlands, pond, and river. The natural beauty of the campus is valued as a major asset of the College and is one of its key distinguishing attributes. Appropriately, the College has maintained a strong commitment towards the preservation and enhancement of the natural environment of its campus.
Over the past decade of campus development, the College has implemented stringent storm water management programs to protect water quality. In each of its capital projects, the College seeks to achieve optimum conservation solutions, often exceeding the regulatory requirements of the State's Critical Areas Commission and the Maryland Department of Environment. This commitment has resulted in the implementation of "best management practices" that intend to achieve an overall net improvement in the quality of storm water reaching tidal waters by reducing nutrient and sediment pollution.Shoreline Buffer Management Plan
The College takes a serious view toward its stewardship responsibility to provide sound ecological management of its shoreline property. In 2002, the College developed a plan to protect its shoreline along the St. Mary's River which led to the development of shoreline improvement projects. The first phase of the river shoreline improvement between the Muldoon River Center and the outlet to St. John's pond has been completed. The construction of a ‘Living Shoreline' between St John's Pond and Fishers Creek is planned as the future second phase of the shoreline improvements along the river.
The College is now looking inward, at the campus ponds, wetlands and tributaries. Accordingly, the College procured the services of the firm Biohabitats Incorporated of Baltimore, Maryland, to assist in developing sound buffer management strategies. The proposed plan seeks a balance between establishing planted buffer zones to protect and enhance the shoreline environment, and maintaining open viewshed corridors to scenic vistas provided by our shorelines. Specific recommendations are primarily focused on the St. John's Pond area and the storm water pond on the lawn between Schaefer Hall and Admissions. We completed implementation of the Admissions pond buffer management plan last year as part of our Audubon Certification.
Development of the buffer management plan has also informed the identification of areas for mitigation plantings required by the Critical Areas Commission related to the construction of the Muldoon River Center, Rowing Center, and shoreline improvements. The specific planting plan is provided on the waterfront mitigation planning page.
Through discussions with the Sustainability Committee, the College will be seeking input from the campus community about the proposed management plan. Implementation of specific recommendations will include adjustments to maintenance practices as well as additional plantings to be scheduled over time as opportunities and funding arise.
The Buffer Management plan will also be imcorporated into the next round of Campus Master Planning as it will be integrated into the College's Arboretum. As a major element to the upcoming Campus Master Plan, the College's Arboretum will seek to combine aesthetic, academic and environmentally responsible features.