Dan Kirk-Davidoff is the Oakland Mills representative on Columbia Association’s (CA) Watershed Advisory Committee. Kirk-Davidoff, who by day is a meteorologist who works on the forecasting of renewable energy, has been on the committee for a year. The 44-year-old and his wife, Heather, have lived with their family in Oakland Mills for seven years.
What led you to serve on CA’s Watershed Advisory Committee?
“One of the things that attracted me to Columbia in the first place was the ambition to be an ecologically thought-out community. … And the Chesapeake Bay Watershed is just a hugely important issue. The Chesapeake Bay could be this colossal source of nourishment and environmental good. It could really be a flourishing ecosystem. It’s just all gone to heck because we’ve been treating it like a sewage tank. [The bay is] going to be the big environmental project of this region for the next 10 years to fix it up. I’d love to see Columbia involved with that.”
What are you and the committee hoping to accomplish?
“We are hoping to have Columbia be a great exemplar of how you set up a community that has lots of people in it, but works in such a way that the water that comes out of that community isn’t heavily polluted.”
Why is this work on Columbia’s watershed so important?
“If we do it right, for one thing, we won’t have to spend as much money dredging our lakes, because we’re going to keep a lot of the muck that winds up at the bottom of the lakes from getting to the lakes in the first place. We’re going to contribute to cleaning up the Chesapeake and will be a good example for other communities. And we’re going to have healthier streams and a nicer natural environment to walk around in.”
What can other residents in Columbia and in the area do to help?
“Lots. The first and most important: Don’t dump stuff in your drains. That’d be the most obvious thing. Don’t over-fertilize your lawn. Do anything you can to slow the flow of water from your property into the streets. That might mean planting trees or bushes or a rain garden instead of grass, so water can go into the soil and not just run off.
“When you can, support larger efforts to do the same things on Columbia properties. If you belong to a church, synagogue or mosque in the area, you can think about putting in water retention facilities like rain gardens in the parking lot. And when CA comes around and asks politely about planting trees in some of the meadows in the area, you can be supportive of that.
“You can also go to the Columbia Watershed website, ColumbiaWatershed.org. Check it out and understand a little more about how water enters and leaves our community [Information on how to get a rain garden in your yard is also available on the website].”