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Sustainable Solutions offers benefits to area

By Staff | Oct 31, 2014

“Most people see a big green blob. We help people know what they have, and help them know what they want it to become.” James Remuzzi explained this week. He is the president of Sustainable Solutions; a company new to the Shepherdstown area. Its arrival exemplifies not only the changing needs of landowners in our area, but also the way those needs are met.

Sustainable Solutions says they are the first company in the region to provide the combination of land protection, conservation and preservation. They invest in the food, water and recreation that locals enjoy and the natural resources people use every day. The management company held an open house this week to spread the word that they improve everyday living not just around open spaces, but also for the average person.

Inside the company’s work space, Remuzzi said, “Timber management equates to toilet paper. Everyone needs it.” Their facility is now located just west of Shepherdstown near Morgan’s Grove Park.

The natural resource management company inventories things like rock walls, ponds, old trees and invasive plants. They can plan and execute bike trails, restore wetlands or plant trees that will thrive.

Remuzzi explained, “the process is the same for 2 acres as is for two hundred acres. So it’s available to all landowners.”

The Berkeley County Farm Bureau says the small land owner may be as much at fault as large landowners when it comes to pollutants underneath a pretty landscape.

The local Farm Bureau President, Matt Ware said, “Even a stream behind your yard washes nitrates to the Chesapeake Bay. Farmers get blamed, but fertilizer comes from yards and small gardens too.” Ware explained how his clientele is changing. “My father’s generation had the skills to manage land. Many in my generation sold the farms to do other things.” This makes way for businesses like Sustainable Solutions to do the management work today’s professional generation still needs.

The Chesapeake Bay Watershed covers 64,000 square miles of rivers and tributaries flowing into the Chesapeake Bay. It the second largest watershed in the world. According to Remuzzi 17,000 people move into the Chesapeake Bay Watershed every year.

“People are the single biggest threat.” he said.

Jefferson County is in the middle of the Mid-Atlantic region of the watershed making it ideal, geographically, to reach projects across the great watershed. For Remuzzi, making the move here was more about the people.

“People have a stewardship ethic here. They may not always know how to do it,” he shared. He also added that education happens informally in each project.

The WVU (agricultural) Extension Service has been helping Jefferson County for decades know how to be good stewards. They educate for free, but they say the needs are changing in a variety of ways. “We have a large urban population trans-located into a more rural environment. Some are also newly minted farmers, and this only makes their lack of land management more obvious,” Ware commented.

Sustainable Solutions can give the trans-located urban farmer a clean slate to work with by planting food sources for native pollination activity rather bringing in European sources as is common. They are also the first in the area to offer prescribed fire in preparing, improving and controlling land.