Back River is part of Dundalk, too
Wednesday, 17 October 2012 11:15

BRRC’s Thomas stresses river’s local importance

by Ben Boehl

Even though she has only been on the job for just over a month, Anna Thomas has fit nicely into her position as project manager at the Back River Restoration Committee (BRRC).
    Thomas, who took over for former project manager Molly Williams, says she has had little trouble adapting to her new position and that she is familiar with restoration projects and with the BRRC.
    Before taking over as project manager on Sept. 1, Thomas spent the summer working on projects at Cox’s Point, Rocky Point Beach & Park and North Point State Park. She was also a volunteer at the Eastside Earth Week Steering Committee.
    “The Back River Restoration Committee is a grassroots non-profit watershed organization built on the work of volunteers,” Thomas explained.  “We’ve been growing and have been fortunate enough to find funding to support a staff member.”
    Her projects include maintaining the trash boom under the Beltway bridge, tree plantings with local schools and community groups, an Oyster Pilot Program through a partnership with the Oyster Recovery Partnership (ORP) and DNR, marking storm drains, the rain barrel program and an osprey study.
    “We also work with Rebecca Lazarus from USGS-Patuxent Wildlife Research Center on a study to test for containment exposure in ospreys. We will be placing platforms for nesting this fall,” Thomas added.
    Leah Bunck, Community Projects Coordinator at the Dundalk Renaissance Corp., said Thomas has volunteered at DRC events such as the Eastside Earth Week and is proud that she is now the new project manager  with BRRC.

“Anna has a great rooted passion for the environment and the Dundalk community. The combination of those two attributes makes her great for the program manager role for the BRRC,” Bunck said. “When I was told she would be taking over the position, I was excited for her and BRRC to know they had chosen a caring, dedicated, hard-working woman.”
    Thomas is a resident of Dundalk and stressed that the BRRC is not just an Essex group.
    “All of the work we do is based on volunteers. Some are students and some are community volunteers,” Thomas explained. “We have board members that live in Dundalk and Essex. It’s important we support everywhere along the river whether it’s Dundalk, Edgemere or Essex.”
    To prove her point, Thomas and the BRRC met at Sparrows Point High School on the weekend of Oct. 6. The group gathered to clean the waterways for about five hours in the Edgemere community.
    “We ended cleaning up on Bauer Farm,” Thomas explained. “This is an important clean up. Yes, it is a new location, but an important location, like all spots along Back River.”
    Sadly, the results of the cleanup were in line with those conducted elsewhere.
    “We found a lot of trash. We found over 200 tires and an old boat,” Thomas said. “There was so much stuff.”
    Despite all the trash, Thomas said, it was a productive day. She was glad to have over 100 volunteers at the clean-up and that included help from Sparrows Point High School.
    “We had help from students from the high school. There were about 30 to 40 of them on Friday, and some of them came back to help on Saturday.”