The Potomac Highlands Watershed School 

Stream Cleaner Environmental Forum 2011

Points of View & Thoughtful Discussion - Developer


Developer POV & TD Navigation

  Daring Developer   JW Developers    Student Developers    A & H Developing   Nerds

  peeler crabs    mudguppies    fighting seahorses    W.E.T. Developer  

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Comments for All Developers

Response        MMM Cheese Homeowners - homeowner - NHHS


              Dear everybody,   I have seen the errors of my ways. I have done some

              research and, I still believe that the bay doesn’t impact me. On the upper side, I

              will change my ways. “Nitrogen pollution is the most serious pollution problem for

              the Bay because it causes algae blooms that consume oxygen. The blooms lower

              dissolved oxygen levels so severely that fish and shellfish die.” I found that on

              the Chesapeake Bay Foundation website. I do not want to be the one responsible

              for killing all of the estuary animals. I will help all of you clean up the bay. I will

              start recycling, and buying reusable bags, and I will get a more environmentally

              helpful car to drive. i won’t even fertilize my lawn.  I hope that you all will accept

              my apology and forgive me. Sincerely, MMM Cheese Homeowners.


Comment from: WET CLUB Volunteers - CBP_Fed - MslmnHS

Our mission as a Watershed and Environmental Team (in response to my last post), is to raise awareness of environmental problems in the Chesapeake Bay area. Knowing the facts that we do as a club, we can provide information to the people who actually care about what they can do to help, what a watershed is, and what we do as a team to help. People are constantly criticizing those people with the lack of knowledge about a watershed, rather than sharing their higher intellect about the subject. So allow us to shed some higher light on the subject of a Watershed, and the one we live in. :)
Watersheds for those of you who don't know, are any areas or regions drained by a river, river system, or other body of water. Our biggest problem in the Chesapeake Bay area is non-point source pollution (which for you who don't know is any pollution that runs off a surface, but cannot be traced back to a specific place). The things we can do to fix this are to; 1. Control (or attempt to) the amount of construction in an area, and how much unneccesarry dirt is pulled up, 2. Stop illegal dumping of chemicals, 3. over fertilizing the grounds; and so much more.
This a very light touch on the HIGH amount of knowledge we have from our club. If there are any questions or comments, please feel free to ask, because we will answer as quick and nicely as possible. Thank you for your time :)



Daring Developer                                                                                         North Harford HS



As a developer, I would like to continue with my practices, while taking an environmentally friendly approach. This includes utilizing rain gardens, green roofs, sustainable building materials, and renewable energy. It is told that although the initial costs are more expensive, over time, people are able to save a great deal more money since their energy bills are dramatically decreased ( /pdfs/ WindTF.pdf  ). however, they would have to give up their ideas of traditional energy use, and conserve if they are using solar technology. Although solar technology is an excellent source of renewable energy, if it is cloudy that day, then the panels have to conserve the energy from the day light before. Most of the time this works properly, but if too much energy is used, then  the energy can be diminished, and one may be left with little power until the sun comes back out (


The solutions will benefit them directly. Others, like myself, use the bay for recreational and food purposes. With their utilization of rain gardens, green roofs, and renewable energy, helps clean up the bay so we all may enjoy it. Also, using renewable energy is tax deductable ( ). By using these methods people will be more initiated to take part, knowing that it is economically wise. I do not believe that anyone would leave from using our sustainable building methods. Using these methods looks exactly the same as using traditional building methods, and saves people money- all while helping the bay!


By using the rain gardens we are preventing a large flow of runoff of sedimentation and nutrients into the bay. The green roofs help the bay by preventing large flows of rain of entering the watershed instantaneously. Lastly, the sustainable building materials and renewable energy will help the bay out in the long run.




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    From:   W.E.T. Developer - developer - MslmnHS                                              Ask


       Solar panels are a good idea and can benefit many people and save them money.

       However the issue of not having enough power is one that should be considered. You

       talked about it a little but most people are not willing to give up their energy. So many

       people don't want to go without because they don't care.



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JW Developers                                                                                               James Wood HS


Being developers, we create the attractions at the bay like hotels and restaurants and POV:

other buildings that tourists come to see at the Chesapeake bay.  If they bay gets polluted

too much people are not going to come and visit the wonderful attractions we have or even

go and see the beautiful bay. Instead of cutting trees down that do not need to be cut

down we could use selective cutting to limit the amount of trees that are being cut down.

We could make our process more eco friendly for the environment. And for every tree we

cut down we could plant two more to help the surrounding environment. We can make these

 projects cheaper but make it where we will see more change in the long run. Instead of

cutting trees down plant more adult size trees. We could make the people that come to the

bay pay less taxes to make it more affordable and more enjoyable. The more homes we

build but keep it more eco friendly will bring the bay more profits to help maintain the bay.

The pollution from our construction sites affects the bay in many ways.

But its not all about the obvious signs of pollution. Nobody really pays that much attention

the pollution caused by run off the fertilizer that you use for your garden gets picked up

by run off. And that goes to the bay through the water cycle and eventually makes it to

the bay. But people always point out the obvious sign we need to all become eco friendly so

we can all enjoy the bay. There are two types of pollution one is point solution and the

other is non-point pollution. An example of point solution is sewage coming out of the drain

going right into the bay. For non point pollution the fertilizers that are used on farms

create pollution when the rain washes the fertilizer away. If we could organize a group

that would volunteer to help take care of the bay. If they wanted to make their home bay

more enjoyable they could get a group together to make the bay a beautiful attraction. If

people think about it the sea food they eat comes straight from the bay and if they all

chipped in to take care of their sea food they wont have to worry about eating polluted sea

 food. But voluntary work really does help if people are actually dedicated to making the

bay a less polluted.




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    From:   John Deere Green Farmers - farmer - EHHS                                         Ask


       Okay JW Developers, in what ways to you plan to create you r eco friendly

       environment?? Since contractors are a huge reason for sediment build up in the


    From:   W.E.T. Developer - developer - MslmnHS                                              Ask


       It is important to keep the area attractive and pollution is a huge detail to take in when

        working to improve the surroundings. I agree with you that it's not just about the big

       sources of pollution. Many people overlook the smaller sources from which a bunch of

       pollution comes from. The cost of all these things is also a big thing to consider, you

       can't just do all these things to make the land more beautiful, you have to have the

       proper funds. What your saying makes sense but it does take a lot of money to do all

       these projects.



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Student Developers                                                                                        James Wood HS


My group is important to the Chesapeake Bay watershed because we are the group that is POV:

building in this area. We also build tourist attractions which bring people to the area. We

also design nature parks and also provide a way to income into the local community. All of

the problems in the bay affect our group, such as pollution, run-off, and species

endangerment. We have to follow certain regulations due to these problems in the bay area.


Non-point source pollution can mess up the environment around where I'm building and

pollute the waters causing species to die. I think my group could make positive solutions to

helping the problems we cause after building on one of our sites. We could plant grass

buffers which hold the soil in place which reduces run-off, and provides a place for animals

 to live.

These solutions we have can cost me to lose land where I can build, it can cost me by

having to plant grass buffers and tree's to hold in the soil. I think these solutions can

benefit us over time after tourism and the revenue from them starts to build up providing

more money into the local environment and community. Another solution we could do is for

every tree we take down to clear land plant flowers or plant bushes.

Developers are very important to the economic development of the bay; they provide

income, enhance small ecosystems, and nature parks. We also provide ways for animals to

stay alive when we repair their ecosystems and build new ones. We tend to cause anoxia,

non-point/point source pollution, but then again we practice stewardship. We build a lot of

impervious surfaces but with buffer zones be able to reduce the amount of pollution in

that area. The main thing affected by us, which we intend to fix and repair is the riparian

buffers due to the fact we clear so much land.

 After development is done we could clean up the area, clean up oil spills, and fix damage

done by our equipment. Finally the last solution is, for every ecosystem we hurt; we repair

and create 2 small ones.



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    From:   W.E.T. Developer - developer - MslmnHS                                              Ask


       Your idea is good but it could use a bit more thought. Planting a little grass isn't going

       to make up for the damage that was caused while developing. However buffers are a

       good way to start, they will not be enough to replace all the trees and plants that have

       been removed. It all also takes a lot of money. There is a load more that effects the

       project. Your idea is a good one and it's admiral that you intend to try to reduce the

       pollution and damage done to the environment but what you have now is not enough.



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A & H Developing                                                                                           James Wood HS


A developer is important to the Chesapeake Bay because of many reasons such as; food POV:

resources, building houses for people and enhancing people's lives. 

As a developer we need to build houses where we can supply our community with fresh

food and clean water. Our food and fresh water comes from the bay and without that we

won't be getting what our body needs to live. If we don't have fresh water then we can't

build because we would be putting the people's lives that live in this area in danger. They

would be to sick from what's in the water to do what they need to do in their everyday life,

 and move out of the area.

 If we had a chance to develop by the Chesapeake Bay, we would make sure that the waste

 we produce would be dealt with in the right way and not just dumping it in the bay. The

problem the Bay has now is affecting us by not having the land we need to build on. If

there was no land then there would be no business for us, which also means we don't have

a job and that leads to not having money.

If the bay was cleaner then the people would have a nicer and more peaceful place to go

outside and enjoy where they live. Then we would sell a lot more homes because of the

landscape and the view that comes from the Bay. The money we would make we would take

 a little bit out and put it back into the bay and it would make it a lot easier to keep it clean.

 Our group would approach this in many ways; one would be, try to control the runoff from

 the roads and the streets. We could put little drains on each side of the roads and have

the entire pollution run to a place where we can empty safety. Also we would make sure

that none of the waste goes into the bay. We could also grow many buffers so the pollution

 and make it look a lot better. We could grow many trees and plant more grass seeds to

make sure it stops whatever pollution gets past the drains. `As a developer our community

counts on us.




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    From:   The Ranger in Power - local_gov - LHS                                                   Ask


       You have good ideas about building environmentally friendly neighborhoods, but I have

       a question?  How do you plan to pay for these things?  I know that in this economy,

       profit margins for homes is not what it used to be.  Do you want to apply for grants or

        do you plan to add to the cost of each of your homes to cover these expenses?

    From:   Hick Chick - farmer - NHHS                                                                  Ask


       There are many sediment control practices that you could do to reduce sediment in the

        bay. Sediment is a huge problem, and it’s great that you recognize that it starts with

       the developer! Reducing your number of impervious surfaces would also help a lot!



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Nerds                                                                                                           Rappahannock HS


                     Landscape Changes in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed


  For a long time the Chesapeak Bay landscape has been a composite of rich natural

resources, people, institutions, and history. The qualities of the bay make it attractive for

new development. But this new development and these landscape changes cause sediment

and nutrient run-off and pollution. While there isn't much people can do to prevent this

from happening, we can still reduce the use of impervious spaces in the Chesapeake Bay.


The Chesapeake Bay is the largest bay in the United States and covers 64,000 miles.

100,00 streas and rivers flow into the Bay. It is the largest of any Coastal waterbody in

the world. While there are many benefits in the Bay, there are also a lot nonbeneficial

things too. One of the major problems of the bay is the landscape changes that it



  Before this area was even known as the Chesapeake Bay, people have been changing the

landscape of it. People started adding more impervious spaces later on as the automobile

was invented. An impervious space is an area where water can not penetrate the ground.

Another need for imperious spaces is low density development. The need of imperious

spaces for these reasons causes sediments and other pollutants to run into the Bay. These

sediments and pullutants are beginning to make the entrance of the Bay extremely small,

which is a major problem.


  In order to stop pollution in the bay, we should stop changing the landscape of it. This

means we should stop putting down inpervious surfaces on the watershed. These impervious

 surfaces are a major cause of problems in the watershed, and we need to do our best to

keep it healthy.


  The Chesapeake Bay Watershed is our environment and surroundings. And what would we

do if it all just went to waste? The watershed has been here even before settlers came

over here from England. Why would we change a natural landscape that was here before

we were? We shouldn't. So let's keep it as healthy and natural as it was before is was even

 known as the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.



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    From:   MODERATOR - other - PHWS                                                                 Ask


       Thank you for identifying that impervious surfaces are a huge contributor to non-point

        source pollution in the Chesapeake bay watershed.  

       How do you propose to convince other stake holders to stop putting down impervious

       surfaces?  How will you as a developer continue to thrive in your business without

       adding more impervious surfaces? 

       (Perhaps you could explain your plans for low density development in more detail.)



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peeler crabs                                                                                                 Rappahannock HS




  Did you know that between 1982 and 1997 the Chesapeake Bay lost over 750,000 acres

of forestland to urban development? Every year thousands of acres of land are lost to

urban development. There is a 36% chance of forest land to be lost to urban development

in the next 5 to 10 years. Development is not necessarily harmful to the Bay but, the way

we develop the land is very harmful. We have cut into 60% of the Chesapeake's forest due

to our roads, subdivisions, and farms. We are taking a lot more land than we need and one

main element to our land is impervious surfaces that include parking lots, buildings, and

roads. Land developers should work harder to create surfaces that drain water rather

than impervious surfaces which cause erosion.


  Construction sites contribute up to 10 to 20 times as much sediment as agricultural

advance on a per-acre basis. Land developers and construction creates an enormous

amount of erosion of sediments that leak into the bay and tributaries.  Urban development

has made a big impact on the Chesapeake Bay. With growing population of people every year

 the demand for roads, buildings, strip malls, etc becomes greater. This is where the land

developers come in; they cut through the Cheasapeake's forest with roads, they tear down

trees for buildings and suburban homes, and this is just a few examples of the roles land

developers play in the Cheasapeake's  enviroment.


  Deforestation and impervious surfaces are two of the main problems caused in the

Cheasapeake Bay today. In the 17th-century, the Europeans arrived to the Bay region,

where they found a tremendous amount of forest land taking up 95% of the watershed. By

 the 1800s though, 40 to 50 percent of that forestland had been harvested for all kinds

of reasons like fuel, timber, etc. Soil in forest naturally soaks up sediments washed through

 by the rain into the Cheasapeake Bay. When trees are up rooted they no longer provide

that infiltration for the sediments, instead, it causes erosion, which is a huge problem in the

 Chesapeake Bay. Impervious surfaces also contribute to erosion. An impervious surface is

a surface that water cannot penetrate.  The rainwater that flows through towns or cities

through the sewage system carries water littered with trash, dirt, chemicals, etc. This

water is carried out to the tributaries that lead to the Chesapeake Bay. If the land was in

its natural condition like grass and forests, then most of the water would be absorbed in

the soil. If 25% of a town or city's surface is impervious, the streams around that area

are considered a non-supporting habitat for fish.


One solution for land developers is to help restore forests by reserving land to grow trees

and mark it as a protected environment. They could try to include more natural areas that

have trees and grasses such as parks and assign clean up crews to maintain the parks and

recreational centers.




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    From:   MODERATOR - other - PHWS                                                                 Ask


       Good job outlining the problems of impervious surfaces and sedimentation as well as

       proposing BMPs for land developers such as reserve land, grow trees, maintain parks,


       How would you convince other land developers and other stake holders to follow the

       BMPs you recommended? 



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mudguppies                                                                                                   Rappahannock HS


  Have you ever noticed how polluted the water in the Chesapeake Bay is? Land developers

pollute the water every single day. The construction industry is a major source of pollution

in the Chesapeake Bay. Impervious surfaces are the main source of runoff into the Bay. All

 of the activity that takes place in urban and suburban developed land such as construction

activities, impervious surfaces, sewer and septic systems, residential fertilizer use and

vehicle emission. Development itself is not necessarily harmful to the Bay it is the way we

develop the land - where we locate new roads and buildings and how we build them are the

ways that can harm the environment.


  Land development refers to altering the landscape in many ways such as changing

landforms from a natural state for a purpose such as agriculture or housing, subdividing

real estate into lots, and developing property or changing its purpose.


  Impervious surfaces are mainly artificial structures. They are the main source of runoff

into the Chesapeake Bay. Pavements (roads, sidewalks, driveways and parking lots) that are

covered impenetrable materials such as asphalt, concrete, brick and stone. The discharge

from cars runoff from the roads goes into sewers then they drain into rivers that

eventually go into the Chesapeake Bay.


  Ways to fix this are to make the process of development better for the environment and

find a way to reduce the pollution on impervious surfaces from going into the Bay. Also by

reducing land development in big cities and finding a way to reduce the discharge from



  We need to find a way to reduce the pollution going into the Bay by working together. We

need to find other places to locate our new roads and buildings and how we build them so

we can make the environment a better place. Hopefully we can all work together to clean

up the Chesapeake Bay without stopping land development completely.




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    From:   MODERATOR - other - PHWS                                                                 Ask


       Thank you for focusing on the most pressing issue of the bay: pollution. 

       How would you as developers make the process of development better for the

       environment while staying a viable developing company?

       How, specifically, would you reduce the pollution on impervious surfaces from going

       into the Bay, and convince others to do the same?  If you develop less in big cities, doe

        this mean you will develop more in suburban or rural areas?



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fighting seahorses                                                                                        Rappahannock HS


Construction on the Coastline and in the Watershed of the Chesapeake Bay

  Virginia has many complex pollution problems like commercial factories, building up rural

areas, etc. Recently, one problem has become a major issue: the pollution of the

Chesapeake Bay.

  As landowners and builders are constructing waterfront property, they don'trealize

damage they are doing to the bay itself. One major problem involved with coastal

construction is sediment pollution. Soil and sediment smother and kill aquatic wildlife. When

people build hotels, restaurants, etc., they don't understand that poorly controlled

construction sites can harm not only nautical beings, but adjacent public roadways and

drainage systems.  The pollution gets absorbed and carries other toxins that reduce water

quality. Clearing land assuredly sends sediment into rivers and other bodies of water filling

in wetlands. This takes away from natural water filters that can break down main

pollutants before they reach other bodies of water. Thirty eight percent of people living on

 the coast cause the pollution, especially the people living within one hundred kilometers of

the bay.

  One of the biggest factors is sediment pollution. Sediment is defined as particles derived

from soil or rocks that have been transported by water or wind. The erosion of river banks

 and land masses produces sediment. How does sediment pollution affect underwater life in

 general? Poor light quality is the first consequence of high sediment concentration in the

water: without sun light, water plants cannot develop properly due to the impossibility to

make the photosynthesis and they will not provide enough food for the fish. Moreover,

studies indicate that suspended sediments increase the water temperature, making the

habitat unfriendly for animals and plants alike. And even if the sediment settled, it would

still risk the evolution of fish eggs that get suffocated at the bottom of the rivers or lakes.


  The last major factor is Nitrogen. Nitrogen pollution is a good example of the challenge of

 costing these non-market transactions. Nitrogen gas (N2) makes up more than 70 percent

of the innermost layer of the atmosphere. But this large reservoir of the earth's nitrogen

cannot be used directly as a nutrient by plants because they cannot absorb nitrogen gas.

As a result, nitrogen is often the limiting factor for the growth of plants and animals in

ecosystems. This is one reason farmers use nitrogen fertilizer to support crop growth.

  You may wonder what some ways to help out with the environment are or how you can be

a better homeowner or business owner. One way is by using P2's. You can enforce other

environmentally healthy techniques by reducing or eliminating waste at the source, promote

using less toxic/non-toxic substances, and implement conservation techniques and re-using

materials rather than putting them into the waste system.




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    From:   MODERATOR - other - PHWS                                                                 Ask


       Good work identifying the problems that developers are causing in the bay.   What are

       some things in particular that development and construction companies should do to

       reduce sediment and nitrogen pollution while still remaining a profitable company?



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W.E.T. Developer                                                                                             Musselman HS


Musselman High School has a club called "W.ET." (Watershed Environmental Team) the POV:

students in "W.E.T" club do a lot to help the environment. Volunteering is working at

Musselman because of our W.E.T club. Our current project is the wetland restoration. We

are working hard to make our school's campus a better environment for everyone. We are

working with Ben Alexandro and the Cacapon Institute to work on restoring our wetlands.


  All students working with our club are volunteers. Every one of our students is passionate

about what we do for our environment. We all work hard to make our school and small

town a better place to live for everyone. Along with the wetland restoration project we

also have tree planting days when we have many volunteers come out and plant trees on our

 school campus and other parts of town.

  Our club does a lot to include not just the club members but other students in our school

as well. We have found that many students are very interested in our projects and our club

 has expended tremendously since we began.  There are so many students that want to

volunteer and help out but just don't know how. W.E.T club makes it possible for students

to get involved in our community.

  This school year we have done three outreaches and have a few more scheduled for the

remainder of the year. During these outreaches we go to elementary schools and do a lot

of fun activities with the students there. We teach them about our environment and the

effects that certain things have on it. Many of the students at these elementary schools

find the activities fun and we believe it is a great way to get younger children interested in

helping out as well.




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    From:   MODERATOR - other - PHWS                                                                 Ask


       How have the projects at Musselman High School reduced non-point source pollution in

        the Chesapeake Bay?  What lessons could other stakeholders learn from what was

       done at Musselman to clean up the Chesapeake Bay watershed?



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