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County mowers mistakenly damage Oregon Ridge meadows

Mowed meadows at Oregon Ridge Nature Center
Posted at 2:28 PM, Jun 07, 2024

BALTIMORE COUNTY, Md. — Baltimore County is apologizing after crews destroyed an environmentally-sensitive area of Oregon Ridge Nature Center by mowing the park's meadows, along Shawan Road, at the wrong season.

The Nature Center posted:

We are unhappy to report the latest news. Yesterday, Baltimore County mistakenly mowed the meadows along Shawan Road. This is most unfortunate since we are in the prime nesting season for many bird species. Further, the milkweed, bergamot, black-eyed susans and other important wildflowers critical to many bees and butterflies have been destroyed. The Oregon Ridge Nature Center Council will be discussing this matter with Baltimore County officials to determine what measures can be taken to prevent this type of action in the future.

The meadows is maintained annually, but is supposed to be mowed in late March-April.

In response to this incident, Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski is requiring all park maintenance to be supervised by the Department of Recreation and Parks.

Mowing of county properties is currently managed by Property Management Division of the Office of Budget and Finance.

Property Management will still mow parkland, but Recreation and Parks will now oversee the process.

The county said in a statement:

The Department of Recreation and Parks recognizes the critical importance of meadow habitats in Baltimore County and the care needed to keep these environmentally sensitive sites thriving. We are aware of – and deeply disappointed by – the untimely cutting of the meadow at Oregon Ridge Park, and are working with the Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability on a mitigation plan to ensure the resiliency of this habitat moving forward.

In addition to funding in the County’s FY2025 for positions directly responsible for environmental stewardship, County Executive Olszewski has directed that all park maintenance now fall under the supervision of the Department of Recreation and Parks to prevent this from occurring in the future.

The Department continues to be in touch with stakeholders, including our partners at the Oregon Ridge Nature Council, and looks forward to further discussions in the coming week.