Read Past Columns:

by Jack Lynch, Editor


Adolphus Fearhake of Frederick, Maryland

Plan Maryland

Bulldozer Blaine Young

Remembering my Revolutionary Ancestor - Abraham Faw

Why Not the Best?

A Tree Grows in Frederick for Anne Frank

The Tragedy of Kai Hagen

Frederick County's Gunslinger Slate, Fire from the Lip, shoot from the Hip!

A Visit to Tangier Island

Historic Snowfall, Road Salt, Watershed Protection and the Chesapeake Bay

Will It be Progress or Retrenchment in Frederick County?

Is This the End of Frederick Smart Growth?

A Series of Links Follows from the Air It Out with George political commentary website:

Chesapeake Blues on Tangier Island

July 4, 2008

Mass Burn

Appalachian Blues on Hillbilly Highway

Buying a Congressional Seat in Maryland's First District - Coming to the Sixth District?

Democratic Candidates on American Foreign Policy

All the King's Horses!

Campaign in Song: Bushie Head Out the Mixing Bowl

Democratic Campaign's Vertical Treadmill on Space Mission

A Bit of Olympic Political History

Obama for the Chesapeake Bay?

Politics is Personal: Repeat Three Times

Prediction: Bad News for Obama, The End of Post-Racial Politics

American Exceptionalism on the World Stage

Obama Speaking on March 18th - Political Equinox

Yee Haw! On to Pennsyltuckey!

American Blackface: Tragic Octoroon

Key to Success - Lesson for Frederick:

Republicrats Yes, Middlecrats No

Too Many Promises ...Loaves and Fishes

Identity Black and White in Frederick

Mashup 1968 - 2008: On to Texas, Out with Clinton?

Fat Tuesday!

Symbol, Sense and Substance

Eight More Years

The Dollar Bubble

Judging a Candidate By Their Website

Baby, We Were Born to Bun!

The subsequent links are again from older dates of The Frederick Citizen:

A Rememebrance: Beijing Spring, Interrupted

County Officials and Public Communications

The Snallygaster in Frederick County

Fourth Anniversary of the Frederick Citizen

Frederick City Growth

American Promised Land - American All

Black Frederick and Matters of Race and Politics

Dumping on the Chesapeake Bay

Common Sense Writ Large

The Next Mayor of Frederick

Democracy in Action!

Ottawa: About a Greenbelt, Transit Oriented Development and Government FiatCountering Alderman Imhoff's Growth Beliefs

An Alternate View of Frederick CityGrowth Policy

An Acorn in the Bucket

Monocacy River Part II

Monocacy River Part I

New Market Regional Plan Affirmation

43 More!

Fish and Life

Talking Trash

Strike Three, Smoking Out!

A Green Fund Too Far, Or Not Far Enough?

Growth Back to the Future

Revisiting an Iraq War Opinion Four Years Later

Second Anniversary of the Frederick Citizen

Unrepentant Cady

Sour Grapes and Fine Wine

There's Hope for Good Government

The Democratic Fifth

The County of Feel Good

Hypocrisy Indeed

The Alliance

The Growth Machine Slate

"The Issues are Bipartisan" - David Gray

The Importance of Jan Gardner's Campaign

Form Follows Function

Route 15 Scenic Walmart

Frederick Blue

The Curtain Rises

Housing Growth, Not Smart Growth, Not Progressive Planning

Understanding Lennie Thompson

Frederick's Tale of Two Rabbi's

Wellhead Protection

Make Believe, or Desperate Duncan?

A Progressive Concept Approved...then Defeated!

Hog Wild

Anniversary of the Frederick Citizen

We're No Gwinnett County

"An Election, Not a Selection...!"  Indeed!

A Potpourri of Thoughts and Issues...

Now That the Smoke Has Cleared


How am I to Decide on Mayor of Frederick?

Doomed To Repeat It

Frantic Orthodoxy

Stealth Candidate

Another Perfect Day for Bananafish

This Summer Election

Building Issues

Just Powers

Death Defying Election?

In the Heat

Horse Sense for Frederick County?

Kudzu and Million Dollar Homes

Bartlett's Ozone Trip

Let the Games Begin

Blood in the Water

Coffee Klatch

Archaeology in Frederick

Bizarro World

Mr. O'Malley's March

Playing All the Cards

Who are Your Friends New Market?

Mixed Use

Beijing Spring, Interrupted

Passion, People and Politics in Frederick City

Millennium project

A Frederick Leader of Distinction

APFO Under Attack

State Lands Sale

Frederick Water Sourcing

Frederick Water










The Frederick Citizen Logo

March 7, 2012

To Save a Stream - Abraham Faw Run

by Jack Lynch

What happens to a stream in an urban area when it is unnamed, unremarkable, unloved? 

Worse, the 1940’s development around it has resulted in sixty years of storm water runoff flowing into big pipes that drain down to it with no mitigations. 

Its banks erode and the stream bed falls below the ground level of its natural floodplain.  Edges are stripped of vegetation and trash gathers.  Sediments wash away and stream life declines precipitously.

Abraham Faw Run

The man made beginning of the stream.

That is what happened to a small stream running through two linear parks in the City of Frederick.  It was seen by park users who came for picnics, playgrounds, tennis courts and basketball hoops.  The stream actually begins about six blocks farther into the city, underground now, covered by impervious surfaces, and piped back out from under the streets at the park area.  It was basically an open ditch for runoff.


I had been searching for a way to commemorate my distant ancestor, Abraham Faw, in the City of Frederick, where he made quite a few marks of distinction in business and politics.  And at a board meeting of the Monocacy Scenic River Board, a planner from Carroll County brought up the possibility of naming streams through proposal to the U.S. Board on Geographic Names.

Searching stream maps led me to this one in Fredericktowne Park and Monocacy Village Park a tributary of the Monocacy River.  I completed a web form and proposed it to be named Abraham Faw Run:

“Abraham Faw Run:  stream; 1.6 mi. long; heads in the City of Frederick at 39°25’34”N, 77°24’19”W, flows ENE then E through Monocacy Village Park and Fredericktowne Village Park, to enter the Monocacy River; named for Abraham Faw (1747-1828), a German immigrant who became Senator from Frederick in 1781 and Delegate from Frederick County from 1785 to 1788; Frederick County, Maryland; 39°25’50”N, 77°22’46”W; USGS map – Frederick 1:24,000.”

Mouth: Link

Source: Link

The better part of a year passed, and then I received official confirmation of the new name's approval by the GNIS in December.

Faw Run

Now, instead of an unnamed stream, we had an Abraham Faw Run.

Maybe I should've picked a better stream to honor Abraham! From an environmental perspective, the stream was nearly choked out of existence by a variety of factors. First, several blocks leading back to its source, likely a spring, its flow was underground in pipes and undeneath pavements, or impervious surfaces.

Where it dumped out from under East Street in Frederick, it was a mere trickle during normal weather. It filled parts of its low trenchlike streambed, which was eroded and disconnected from its natural floodplain.

Worse, it was the focus of several straight drain pipes and culverts that would shoot enormous quantities of street stormwater into it. There were four or five of these antiquated stormwater pipes within the first stretch of the park. These of course inflict great damage to its course, eroding the banks and deepening the channel cut below the floodplain.


But, it felt like having won it a name, the stream needed some improvements, planting trees along it, a sign, something to commemorate the new status.  It would benefit the parks too.  I had worked the previous year in getting a site approved in Monocacy Village Park to plant a community orchard project, but it had not yet been realized, and needed an administrative body to oversee the efforts.

If something were to be done, it was going to be up to me to seek the resources, but then I love a seemingly impossible challenge. So I took this radical idea, this push back against all the forces of poor past development practices, the sometimes seemingly unyielding city bureaucracy, and I started promoting the idea of improving the stream.

Thankfully, I had a great, and immediate ally, or two. My decade of involvement in Frederick water quality and supply issues had yielded me enough recognition and associations to put out a call and have the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's area restoration biologist respond positively to conducting a riparian buffer planting project along Abraham Faw Run.

Quickly, I had a trump card. At no expense or large effort from the City, the planting proposal was supported and funded. If only it was possible to sell it to City Parks as an enhancement.

I drafted a mapping and proposal plan and went to the City of Frederick Parks Commission, and won initial approval. Given the progress of some dealings in the City, it was shockingly easy.

I’m awaiting final details to be worked out, but hopefully we’ll see a Fall planting of thirty-five foot wide tree buffers along the stream from East Street to Schifferstadt Boulevard. About two miles of stream run, and about two acres of plantings. All using only six percent of the two combined forty two acres of the parks.

Here’s a basic planting plan of the West side:

Faw Run Planting Left Half

And the East side:

Faw Run Planting East

Imagine the change that would occur if this could be repeated a hundred or thousand times over!

Do you have a stream, either named or unnamed, that you love, or which needs your help?  If you are in the Frederick watershed, then it flows to the Monocacy, on to the Potomac, and down to Chesapeake Bay.

Or you can help with the stream buffer planting along Abraham Faw Run, or the Community Orchard planting project.

Soon the Monocacy Scenic River Board will be announcing a stream naming project inviting your suggestions for naming a few select streams in Carroll and Frederick counties.  The campaign is being called “The Monocacy Starts Here”.

Naming a stream adds to its identity, it becomes a place worth caring about – it attaches a human significance. With a name the community attaches itself to the care and concern for the stream, it becomes an asset, not just a ditch to divert stormwater. It has a slight chance to be enhanced and to once again become a full natural resource.

Abraham Faw Run will not be completely restored, that would take an amount of effort and money that likely could not be found for many years. But it will be regenerated in part, and even do a better job as a park, and a stormwater mitigation, for us all. And its flow to the Monocacy River, and the Chesapeake Bay, will improve.

Not bad for a bit of vocal advocacy, a lot of faith, and a little public audacity. Now if only the next person down the line takes the same steps to save a stream, together we'll keep moving forward.