The Friends of The Jones Falls [FTJF] is a volunteer-based organization incorporated to support and sustain the quality of life and long-term stewardship of the Jones Falls Watershed. As per its mission, our Board of local leaders engages communities and property owners located in the Watershed to preserve, protect, enhance, and conserve its environmental integrity while promoting sustainable development from the Inner Harbor to its headwaters near Caves Rd. in Baltimore County.
What We’ve Been Up To
Our first major project is partnering with the owners of Union Collective on a Green Infrastructure Master Plan for its property which includes the former 155,000 sq. ft. Sears Warehouse on 10.5 acres at the banks of the Jones Falls—now housing Union Craft Brewing Co. and a number of inviting shops in its Baltimore City neighborhood of Medfield, adjacent to Woodberry and Hampden. Earlier this year FTJF was awarded a $49,595 grant by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to seed project design.
The property is located in an area near many homes and other businesses that are at high risk of flooding, not to mention pollutants running off into the Jones Falls river. With severe flood events occurring on an increasingly regular basis, stormwater remediation projects along the Jones Falls are a high priority for our organization.
The project is being completed in partnership with Union Collective ownership. It’s being managed by Ashley Traut, of Gaiacene Services LLC, and includes professional services by CityScape Engineering and the landscape design firm Rain Underground, LLC. The design team is exploring a number of proven green infrastructure solutions such as a large, constructed native meadow, bioretention systems, green roofs, cisterns and many new native trees and other plants. Also being explored are opportunities for making the Union Collective property as inviting and accessible as possible to pedestrian and bicycle traffic from the surrounding neighborhoods, and from the nearby light rail station. New connector trails and pathways are planned.
While the project timeline has been stretched due to COVID-19, masterplan design work has been completed and engineering site analysis and design have begun to further develop the various stormwater infrastructure needs of the project.
Executing another element of the FTJF mission, we strongly advocate for designating the Woodberry neighborhood a Local Historic District in Baltimore City which passed into law earlier this year. Stewardship of the Jones Falls includes preserving its rich history, and neighborhoods like Woodberry represent the most intact urban mill villages in the country.
Where We’re Headed
The highly visible Union Collective site along the Jones Falls Expressway and the river will surely benchmark visionary stormwater and flood resiliency infrastructure design and implementation in Baltimore City and County. What’s more, it’ll set the standard for private owners along the Jones Falls in supporting similar, critically needed solutions to Watershed degradation and contaminated waterways. So, please help us connect with those property owners near the Jones Falls that have solvable stormwater issues.
Next spring, we plan to again ramp up our volunteer stream cleanup program. A tool shed is being erected at Union Collective that will provide FTJF member communities with materials needed for successful stream cleanups.
Much of what we’re doing is bringing stakeholders together to support efforts benefitting the Watershed, both as to remediation and sustainable redevelopment/development. It takes a community to move these important projects forward and to steward a healthier Jones Falls Watershed now and for future generations.
What More You Can Do
Please contact our Communications team if you’d like to become more involved in Friends of The Jones Falls. For your friends, please alert them to our mission by recommending they check out our website, follow us on our Facebook page and engage with us. Thanks!