ENVIRONMENTAL TOUR OF THE
CHESTNUT RIDGE COUNTRY CLUB PROPERTY
13 May 2012
Harold H. Burns, Jr., President
Falls Road Community Association
The Chestnut Ridge Country Club property (the “Property”) includes 232 acres in the watershed of the Jones Falls and the sub-watershed of Dipping Pond Run (the “Run”). As much as fifty percent of the Property is riparian. Innumerable springs and seeps arise on the Property and feed into the streams and at least five ponds. It contains three headwaters of Dipping Pond Run. The elevation of the Property declines from 610′ elevation on the north near Broadway Road to 430′ on the south in the woods and wetlands, a drop of 180′ in a bit more than ½ mile. The combination of so much water springing from the earth on this Property and its steep gradient means that, in every heavy rain, a tremendous volume of water runs off this Property at great velocity and carries everything that is not firmly attached down to Dipping Pond Run.
This paper is intended to be used with two maps of the Property that were derived from images from the County’s My Neighborhood website (http://myneighborhood.baltimore countymd.gov). On the maps particular sites are numbered to coincide with the numbered paragraphs set forth below. The stops on the tour on marked in red on this aerial map of the Property:
Two unnamed headwaters of the Run arise on the Property, and are referred to herein as the eastern and middle branches. The eastern branch begins at an elevation of 540′, just past the fence at the end of the Club’s driving range. It flows for more than ½ mile (3176′), passes through a pond and picks up two unnamed tributaries, each of which has a pond of its own, before crossing the Property boundary at an elevation of 430′. The center of the golf course is dominated by two ponds just 175′ apart. Both ponds are on the middle branch which arises in a pretty but broken down spring house (elevation 520′) hidden in a copse of woods about 130 yards northwest of the first and smaller pond. The middle branch flows through the Property almost ½ mile (2354′), through both ponds, and picks up two unnamed tributaries, before departing the Property at an elevation of 430′.
The 3rd unnamed tributary arises in Greenwood, just west of the Property. But it soon crosses onto the Property at 510′ elevation and flows south through the Property for almost ½ mile (2330′) before exiting at 440′ elevation, having picked up 4 unnamed tributaries if its own along the way.
The topography of the Property makes it critical to the survival of Dipping Pond. The highest point on the Property is 610′ near the NE entrance off Falls Road. As the Property line runs west, the elevation varies, declining as low as 540′ before and after Musgrove Road and rising to almost 590′ in the NW corner. As the line moves diagonally SW, the elevation drops to 510′ where the westernmost tributary of the Run flows onto the Property. At its western extremity the elevation is 530′, declining to 450′ at the SW corner and 430′ on its southern edge where the middle and easternmost tributaries flow out. The elevation at the southern extremity is 490′. As the line slants NE toward Falls Road along the eastern boundary, the elevation rises from 455′ to 575′ at the eastern extremity. Finally, along the eastern boundary the elevation is between 570′ and 580′ until rising to 610′ at the Falls Road entrance.
Thus, given the topography of property, any storm water running off the Property will flow to the Run and will carry with it any chemicals, sediment or debris in its path. Because most of the Property is cleared, storm water run off has already created many erosion paths on the Property. Any increase in the amount of water regularly flowing into the Run or of silt filling the bottom of the Run will cause the water level in the Run to rise with the consequence that the Run’s channel will reconfigure, collapsing its banks and toppling trees.
1. The tour starts at the beginning of the easternmost tributary to Dipping Pond Run. Behind the high fence at the end of the driving range, the grounds slopes sharply off into a water course/erosion ditch which soon becomes the channel of this tributary to Dipping Pond Run. A considerable amount of debris fills the channel near the top, which is thereafter marked by many large rocks.
2. The channel twists and turns through the big rocks as it drops through the woods.
3. The channel emerges from the rocks and widens out in a wetland area near an abandoned spring house.
4. The channel has been destroyed and turned into a fairway; and the stream is piped from one bed of riprap to another under the fairway to emerge on the other side.
5. Upon emerging from the pipe, the channel is visible for a short distance before disappearing into a wetland below the dam of a pond. This pond is not located directly on the eastern branch but on one of its tributaries. The dam of this pond is in serious disrepair, and the channel that emerges from it is full of debris.
6. On the uphill side of this pond there are signs of erosion, e.g., open earth and big white stones, where storm water run off has cut a destructive path to low ground.
7. The dam on this pond has long been in disrepair, and the pond is shallow and full of silt. Years ago the Club tried to make the stream valley below this dam into a fairway, but the effort was futile because most of the valley is simply wet. In early 1989 the Club cut a haul road through the woods and over the stream so that its contractors could bring dirt to a huge stockpile in this valley. Even today, pipes lay about or protrude from the earth here or there, and the stream remains buried for various lengths of the valley’s 350 yards.
8. Once the tributary emerges finally from the Club’s pipe, it turns west and flows to the Run.
9. These two ponds at the center of the Property arise directly on the middle tributary.
10. Beneath the fairway between these ponds lies a buried stream struggling to be free.
11. The north bank of this pond consists of 30 yards of white stone riprap. Over the riprap and pass the pond, an old spring house may be seen in the woods from which the middle branch emerges.
12. The middle branch arises in a spring house in these woods close to this pond. There is a pool of water in the spring house, and the ground in front of and downhill from the structure for 50 yards is wet. Several channels of flowing water weave through this wet land and finally join in one stream that emerges just before disappearing under wooden footbridge and presumably into a pipe.
13. The western side of this pond is marked by seeps, wetlands and erosion, and the flora is almost as sparse here as on east side of the pond
14. This dam was rebuilt in 1992-93. As a result an enormous quantity of silt flowed downstream, inundating the Run for weeks with catastrophic results for downstream landowners and the trout. The stream emerges from the spillway and flows down into the wetlands at the foot of the dam, past the construction debris that remains there.
15. Then, only 50 yards from the dam the stream is trapped against an old dam that ruptured long ago, but left plenty of mechanical and construction debris behind.
16. From the seemingly abandoned equipment and debris, the stream flows 300 yards to the property line and 125 more before joining the Run. About ½ way from the debris to the line, the channel makes a sharp turn east and flows 20 yards to a small dam of fairly recent construction.
17. A third tributary to the Run arises near the intersection of Woodland Road and Broadway and soon crosses onto the Club Property along its western boundary for almost ½ mile before flowing out and joining the Run.
Thank you Vicky Almond for rezoning the Chestnut Ridge Property to RC-7Updates to follow.
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