Restoration and Outreach Grant for Healthy Habitats Program Supports New Partnership with Lakelands Community Association


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Restoration and Outreach Grant for Healthy Habitats Program

UER had a great 2019 launching its new Healthy Habitats Program to create and steward Eco-Functioning Spaces. Through the program, UER delivers guidance and resources — by phone, email, and in-person consultations — to residents of Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties in Maryland, and UER works with landowners interested in placing conservation easements on their Eco-Functioning Spaces to protect them over time. The program is designed to help landowners and property managers address a variety of land management concerns using Eco-Functioning Spaces and ecosystem services.

Now, through the Healthy Habitats Program, UER has launched a sustained collaboration with the Lakelands Community Association (LCA) located in Gaithersburg, MD.  LCA originally approached the Healthy Habitats Program for advice on how to reduce the need for de-icing salt on its community sidewalks: the LCA was having particular trouble when stormwater runoff resulted in icy sidewalks during the cold season.  

UER suggested Eco-Functioning Spaces to address the issues. The LCA Board of Directors welcomed a partnership with UER to implement new, functional landscaping and agreed with UER’s proposal to transform a strategically located area of turf grass into eco-functioning conservation landscaping. The LCA also agreed to allow this project to be a demonstration and learning tool for the broader Gaithersburg community.

We are very pleased to announce that the Chesapeake Bay Trust and the City of Gaithersburg awarded a grant to UER to implement this project. 

UER Awarded Chesapeake Bay Trust Restoration and Outreach Grant

In collaboration with the LCA, UER applied for a City of Gaithersburg Restoration and Outreach grant administered by the Chesapeake Bay Trust (CBT).  The goals of the project are to reduce stormwater and the application of salt on icy sidewalks and to change social norms around landscaping preferences.  The grant request was awarded in full.

The project will unfold over the course of two years. It entails replacing approximately 3,800 sq. ft. of turf grass with eco-functioning conservation landscaping designed to capture the stormwater, support pollinators, beautify the community, and serve as a source of inspiration for other projects on LCA community property as well as private yards.  The project will provide extensive community outreach to the broader Gaithersburg community, providing education and information about stormwater management, Eco-Functioning Spaces, and practical, easy-to-implement installation and maintenance guidance useful for homeowners.

The project is ambitious. Our intent is to create social change within the community by demonstrating what one type of EFS can look like in this case a formal style garden using 100% native plants that will help to control the stormwater in this high-density community. Through this project alone, we anticipate engaging with over 450 participants over the course of 18 outreach events, including:

  • workshops,
  • coaching sessions,
  • hands-on planting events,
  • an inspirational film,
  • a garden tour, and more!

UER will also provide training to LCA’s landscaping contractors on how to appropriately maintain the newly installed garden, using sustainable, best management practices.

UER would like to recognize and thank our collaborating partner, LCA, for their support for ecologically appropriate landscaping practices in the community. LCA has not only championed this effort to solve landscaping problems with ecological solutions, but it has agreed to maintain the ~3,800 sq. ft. of conservation landscaping for a minimum of 10 years, while also teaming with UER to market events and provide meeting spaces for gatherings.

UER thanks the CBT and the City of Gaithersburg for supporting our work.

The installation is slated for September 2020, with events happening both before and after the installation date. Keep your eye out for updates, make sure you have subscribed to our newsletter, and follow our Facebook page to receive notifications of events and support our work with a tax-deductible donation to help UER restore and protect Eco-Functioning Spaces in your neighborhood!

UER also thanks MET for supporting our work in its earliest stages and for helping us to achieve our goals of assisting property owners interested in land conservation; developing and maintaining EFS; and building collaborations among the land trust community and suburban landowners to protect sensitive properties and develop ecological networks through Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties. 

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UER is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit urban land trust that was formed to work with landowners, associations, and communities to preserve or develop Eco-Functioning Spaces®

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