Stormwater runoff is a long-ignored and growing source of pollution and sediment—which hurts the quality of our streams, the harbor and the entire Chesapeake Bay—and causes flooding and property damage. Our 2012 Healthy Harbor Report Card grade of C- illustrates the impact that stormwater pollution can have even in a relatively dry year.
Baltimore City officials are creating a fee on stormwater pollution to pay for critical improvements to the stormwater infrastructure.
Under Maryland law, Baltimore City and other jurisdictions must impose a water pollution reduction fee on owners whose properties create polluted stormwater runoff. The fee in Baltimore would be based on the amount of hard or paved services on a property.
For the average homeowner in Baltimore, the fee will be about $72 a year. Larger properties, with more paved surface, will incur a higher fee because larger properties produce more stormwater pollution.
Funds collected through the fee will be dedicated specifically to upgrading pipes and equipment and paying for job-creating projects that filter and clean water, such as planting trees and grasses, restoring streams, or installing rain gardens.
Baltimore needs a fair fee that will raise enough money to overhaul our stormwater system. The water pollution reduction fee will have a credit that encourages owners to reduce the pollution their properties cause and save on the fee. This credit would be available to homeowners, churches, businesses and other property owners.
If you support improving the health of our streams and making our communities safer and healthier, please contact your Baltimore City Council member before their June 11th meeting and tell them:
- It’s time for Baltimore to take major steps to fix its inadequate stormwater system.
- I support the utility fee on polluted stormwater runoff to pay for these urgently needed repairs.
- The fee should be applied fairly across the board to all property owners.
- The fee should have a credit that encourages property owners to take steps to reduce runoff from their properties; in doing so, they will improve the quality of our waterways and reduce the fee they pay.
To find your City Council representative, visit: http://www.baltimorecitycouncil.com/members.htm
Healthy Harbor and Blue Water Baltimore have created a set of documents that explain the water pollution reduction fee in more detail. Click the links below to download and read these
- Stormwater Overview [PDF]
- Baltimore Water Pollution Reduction Fee - Frequently Asked Questions [PDF]
- How to Reduce Your Baltimore Water Pollution Reduction Fee [PDF]
We are excited to announce that the newly released Healthy Harbor Report Card 2012 contains our annual assessment for the Baltimore Harbor. This year the Harbor received an overall grade of C-.
The Harbor’s grade, which is based upon 2012 monitoring data collected by the Baltimore Harbor Waterkeeper, was higher than we expected. Still, the Harbor met our ecological health thresholds only 40% of the time, which is just barely a C-.
This grade gives us hope that the Harbor’s water quality can be improved, but improvement is by no means a sure thing. We must build on the momentum of ongoing efforts to clean up the Chesapeake Bay through reductions in stormwater runoff and the repair of failing sewage pipes and infrastructure.
This is the first year we have had the amount of data needed to produce an overall grade. In previous years we relied on a single sampling site that provided a limited set of data. Thanks to a grant from the Abell Foundation, we were able to expand our sampling program to 30 sites, which gave us our first comprehensive look at water quality throughout the Baltimore Harbor.
The complete report card provides information about the ecological parameters we monitor , the condition of the Harbor’s water quality in 2012, and what restoration projects the watershed community has undertaken in the past year to get the Harbor closer to a grade of A. We encourage you to read the report card.
Also, we want to make our annual report cards more useful to you so PLEASE help us by filling out a short, 10-question survey.
In the next week, there are important hearings about SB 576 / HB 1086, also known as the “Maryland Bag Bill,” to reduce the number of plastic shopping bags that litter our streams.
The bill establishes a five-cent fee for single-use plastic and paper carryout bags with the proceeds to be split among retailers, counties, and the Chesapeake Bay Trust.
We need to support our legislators as they work to get this important bill passed this year. There is a growing momentum behind the single-use bag fee, and we have a chance to make a real difference in protecting our streams!
In just three easy steps, you can send a quick email to your state Senator and Delegates to let them know that you are ready for Maryland to make this happen!
2. Enter your address and click the “Create Message” button. Feel free to cut and paste our sample message below:
Please support SB 576 & HB 1086 the “Community Cleanup and Greening Act.” This bill will reduce litter and improve the quality of streams in Baltimore and communities around Maryland.
Every year, millions of dollars are spent by state and county governments to pick up plastic bags from our streets, to clean them out of storm drains, and to disentangle them from wastewater treatment facilities. Litter reduces property values and leads to an increase in vandalism, dumping, and other crimes.
SB 576 & HB1086 will make our communities healthier, safer places to live and do business. As a resident of your district I urge you to support it.
3. Complete your message and click “Send.” It’s that simple!
The legislators in your district need to know that YOU want the bag bill, and they need to know this week. The power of all of us speaking in unison will make a difference, so add your voice right now.
[Note: This guest blog post was written by Emily Delaney, a student at Loyola University Maryland. Emily led a Spring Break Outreach trip that included water quality testing in West Virginia coal country and ended with a day of volunteering at Herring Run Nursery.]
Spring Break Outreach through Loyola University Maryland is a weeklong service immersion experience.
Eight different groups embark to eight different locations, with different themes and causes they are advocating for.
I had the privilege this year to lead this wonderful group of people to West Virginia for our immersion experience.
Our trip was focused on energy issues and environmental advocacy. Venturing to a state that combats every day the push and pull of environmental failures and triumphs on their own soil was overwhelming, but transformative nonetheless.
We began the week at Wheeling Jesuit where the Appalachian Institute resides. We met our amazing and inspiring trip leaders, Taylor Cameron and Ian O’bara, who are current juniors at Wheeling Jesuit. After gathering at Wheeling and participating in a pre-trip orientation, we drove two hours to Morgantown where we resided for a few days at a community center called “The Shack”.
While driving to Morgantown, we visited a small nonprofit organization located in Washington PA, called the Center for Coalfield Justice. Patrick Grenter presented us a presentation explaining that CCJ is a nonprofit team of four dedicated and driven attorneys and advocates.
They are seeking justice against the coal companies and for the West Virginian people, who need legal help or just a concerned advocate. We were educated about the injustices that take place against the people of West Virginia regarding their land and surroundings.
We finally arrived in Morgantown later that night at The Shack. We were warmly welcomed at The Shack, which was so much more than a community center. It provided a place for children to learn and thrive starting as early as 6:30 AM, all the way until about 10 PM.
After we settled into the shack, we awoke the next morning to visit Friends of Deckers Creek, which is an organization that is working to preserve the Deckers Creek Watershed.
To test water quality, we went out to a few different streams and tested the PH level. Shockingly we found PH level of about 1.4 : clean drinking water has a PH of about 7. Because of acid mine drainage resulting from coal plants and pollution run off in West Virginia, a lot of the water supplies are contaminated. Friends of Deckers Creek work to monitor the waterways and work to clean the water through treatment plants and filtration.
We were also privileged to visit their Outdoor Learning Classroom, which is used to show physically to the community the changes we can make in these imperative waterways.
Our next day we had the opportunity to meet and visit with James Anderson who is the Director of the Environmental Research Center at West Virginia University. He works with mountain reclamation through the use of biochar.
Once a mountaintop is mined and destroyed the coal companies are technically responsible for reclaiming the land they have disrupted. James Anderson works to reclaim the land with the use of biochar so that plants such as switch grass can grow and eventually be harvested.
After the biochar site we visited Chestnut Mountain Ranch, which is a boy’s home for at risk youth. They are not restricted by any state borders and have boys who come to them from 8:00 AM to 5:30 PM to participate in school and extracurricular activities. The ranch is in the process of building a residents hall for 7 boys at a time, which will have in home house parents.
This Christian-based organization is building all of these amazingly beautiful facilities debt free. They rely on donations of private and public donors, coca cola being one of them. We cleaned their property and help build the residence house for the better part of the afternoon.
This brought us to the middle of the week on Wednesday. We commuted back the Wheeling Jesuit and met with Chesapeake Energy, which is a fracking natural gas company. We learned about how fracking can be positive for our economy and provide economic benefits to the people whose land is being fracked. We also combatted some serious issues that fracking may cause to the environment. The presentation was extremely beneficial and informative.
Then, on our last day in West Virginia we commuted to the capital Charleston. We met with Delegate Mike Caputo in the morning who is a legislator for West Virginia, and a United Mine Worker. He educated us about the policy on coal and the culture it presents.
Delegate Caputo spoke to us about the lawsuit that was being filed and fought against Patriot coal. They are currently fighting to receive adequate healthcare in the future. We took a tour of the cultural center that was a museum depicting the entire history of West Virginia.
After we left the capital, we met with an organization called Keeper of the Mountains Foundation. They work to preserve the land of Kayford Mountain and fight against the coal companies to keep their land unmined. From the top of their property, you can see other mountain top removal sites that are currently under construction. This land belonged to Larry Gibson who passed away a year ago, but his mission of preserving his mountain will live on forever within the land of West Virginia.
Finally, we made our six-hour commute back to Baltimore and Saturday morning we had the privilege to work with Blue Water Baltimore at Herring Run Nursery. Our group was so excited to be able to work with a local organization working to preserve the water, which is a lot of what we had been working on all week in West Virginia.
We had a fantastic morning filled with smiles and enthusiasm. Everyone was so enthusiastic about moving the plants in and out and to different locations so that new plants can be brought in.
We are looking forward to being a continued partner with Blue Water Baltimore, and truly using our environmental passions to stay engaged with our Baltimore community.
Thank you so much to Vincent Vizachero for being such a gracious host and educator to our group about the water and environmental concerns that plague Baltimore’s watershed.
At Herring Run Nursery our favorite native shrubs are ones that can multitask: they are beautiful, attract wildlife, and help reduce storm water pollution.
One of the very best of multitasking native shrubs is Ilex verticillata, or winterberry holly.
A gorgeous landscape plant, winterberry is a native deciduous holly. After the leaves drop in fall, the plant displays the gorgeous bright red berries we associate with hollies.
Branches loaded with the berries can be used in table arrangements or in wreaths, but the real joy comes in late winter or early spring when the birds swoop in to pick the bushes clean.
Winterberry is tolerant of both drought and wet soils, which makes it a good choice for rain gardens or stream banks.
Herring Run Nursery offers several cultivars of winterberry, with ‘Red Sprite‘ being one of the most popular for rain gardens because of its compact size.
While ‘Red Sprite’ grows to a height of 3-5 feet, gardeners with more room might choose a larger variety. This year, Herring Run Nursery will also be offering ‘Winter Red‘ and ‘Maryland Beauty‘ both of which attain a more typical 6-8 feet in mature height and slightly more prolific fruit production.
Winterberry plants are dioecious, which means that individual plants are either female or male. The females produce the attractive berries, but only in the presence of a male plants.
It’s perfectly fine for females to outnumber males and the male plants need only be within 50 to 100 feet of the females, a fact that provides flexibility in the design of your landscape. Be sure to pick a male variety that blooms at the same time as the female, though. This chart should help:
Whether you want plants for a rain garden, a wildlife garden, or simply a more beautiful yard we think winterberry is a great choice.
Herring Run Nursery will have all these varieties available at our first nursery sale on April 6th.
If you are as excited about getting outdoors as I am, I encourage you to check out the many ways you can volunteer with us this March. Everything we do at Blue Water Baltimore is designed to result in better streams and healthier communities.
We are offering volunteer trainings in FOUR different programs this month!
Read on to figure out which one best suits your time and interests and, once you’ve decided, don’t forget to RSVP: some events have limited space, and we need YOUR help to achieve cleaner water in Baltimore!
We are very excited to announce a new city-wide tree stewardship program: TreeKeepers! The first classes will be held this month on March 7th from 6pm to 9pm (this Thursday!) and March 16th from 12pm to 3pm. Classes are free and open to anyone with an interest in making their neighborhoods greener and healthier.
After this two-part series, you will be certified as an official Baltimore “TreeKeeper” and will be eligible to be a planting leader at tree planting projects run by Blue Water Baltimore and other nonprofit partners.
Certified volunteers are also eligible for advanced classes on designing their own neighborhood tree programs, pruning, tree identification, and more!
Visit www.baltimoretreetrust.org to register today!
Adopt-A-Stream volunteers select a quarter-mile section of stream to monitor regularly for illicit discharges and other pollution incidents.
This long-running program has been incredibly important in providing us with data we can use to advocate for renovations to Baltimore’s stormwater and sewer pipes. We were recently awarded a grant to expand this program, so we will be offering trainings in water quality sampling using advanced instrumentation in just a few months—sign up for the intro training now so you won’t miss this great opportunity to enhance your skills!
We are still seeking at least ten more people to join this spring’s class of stream adopters. Our spring introductory training will take place Sunday, March 17th from 2:30pm to 4:30pm.
You can RSVP directly to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Storm Drain Stenciling:
The storm drain stencil share is one of our best-known programs thanks to its visibility and accessibility for volunteers of all ages and levels of experience. You may have seen our work on the front page of the 2013 DPW calendar, or perhaps on a storm drain somewhere in your travels!
If you are interested in bringing educational storm drain paintings to your own neighborhood then we invite you to come to our stenciling training on Monday, March 18th from 6pm to 8pm. You will learn all about this fun project, from what paint works the best to how to obtain permission from the city or county for stenciling.
Please register by emailing Lisa.
Project Clean Stream:
One of the most direct ways you can support clean water in Baltimore is through Project Clean Stream.
You can lead other volunteers at a Project Clean Stream cleanup as part of this annual watershed-wide event that focuses on removing as much trash as possible in just one day—Saturday, April 6th this year.
If you want to take charge of a stream cleanup in your community, sign up for a site captain training on March 27th, March 28th, April 1st, or April 2nd.
Don’t wait until then to start thinking about it, though: all Project Clean Stream sites must be registered by Wednesday, March 20th so we can arrange trash pickup and order supplies!
Interested but April 6th doesn’t work for you? No worries, just email me and we will work with you to select an alternate date.
Contact me at email@example.com to learn more about how you can become a site captain for Project Clean Stream 2013.
These are just four of the ways you can volunteer this spring. Please check out our calendar for even more dates and details, and as always, please email or call me at 410-254-1577 x100 with any questions. I sincerely hope to see you at one of our volunteer events this spring!
If you live in Baltimore, hydraulic fracturing (aka “fracking”) in Maryland might seem like someone else’s problem. After all, it’s not very likely that we’ll see fracking in Patterson Park.
Yet, Blue Water Baltimore is taking a strong stance that we need a ban on fracking in Maryland. And we think you should too. Why?
You might guess that fracking is a serious source of water pollution, and you’d be right. Hydraulic fracturing is a technique that releases natural gas from rocks by using pressurized fluids to cause cracks in underground rocks.
This process consumes large volumes of water, and produces copious amounts of contaminated wastewater. Some of this wastewater is trapped underground and contaminates groundwater, and the rest of the pollution returns to the surface where it can pollute rivers and streams.
Most of that pollution will happen–at least initially–in Maryland’s three westernmost counties: Washington, Garrett and Allegany.
But if fracking is allowed to happen in Maryland, there is a strong possibility that water extracted from these processes will be trucked to the Baltimore area and processed at the state’s largest facility–Back River Treatment Plant.
Treatment for the wastewater is not fully understood, and moreover, our plant is not set up to manage this toxic byproduct. We do not want it being discharged from the plant into Back River.
Blue Water Baltimore supports a ban on fracking, as opposed to a moratorium, because a moratorium would be accompanied by an environmental study costing $1.2 million or more to conduct, even though there are multiple existing studies that clearly demonstrate the economic and human impacts of fracking.
Honestly, we would rather see taxpayer dollars go towards other essential environmental restoration and protection projects instead of yet another study to confirm what we already know: that fracking will be bad for Maryland.
Annapolis Rally to Ban Fracking
Friday, March 8 at noon
Maryland State House Square • 100 State Circle, Annapolis, MD
Thurgood Marshall Memorial on Lawyers Mall (click here for more details)
The most important hearing in this legislative session about fracking is on Friday, and the more people who rally in support of a ban, the more likely we can properly protect our water quality from fracking. Our legislators need to hear from Maryland citizens, not paid lobbyists, so we really need your help.
We hope you can join us on Friday as we stand together for clean water in Maryland.
Two weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending the 2013 Environmental Legislative Summit in Annapolis, hosted by the Citizen’s Campaign for the Environment. Halle, our executive director,had asked me to represent Blue Water Baltimore at the Summit, and I happily agreed.
To be honest, though, I always feel hesitant about going to Annapolis. And it’s not just because parking is impossible! Although that does have something to do with it, what I’m really referring to is the feeling of being out of my element.
During tree-planting season, I’m away from my computer far more often than I’m sitting in front of it, and you’ll never catch me without work gloves, dirt-plastered boots, and a few shovels or loppers in the back of my car.
In contrast, as I headed to the Environmental Summit last week I was sporting a suit and heels, such an unusual event that my ever-supportive supervisor chased me out the door with a camera trying to catch it on film. Even worse, when I finally arrived at the Miller Senate Building and sent my messenger bag through the x-ray machine, I realized I had forgotten to take out my soil knife from the side pocket. Gulp. Luckily, the very kind security staff let me through once we cleared up the confusion, so I jogged over to the conference room, set up our Blue Water Baltimore table, and settled in to listen to the speakers.
We heard Baltimore’s own Delegate Maggie McIntosh talk about this year’s reintroduction of the bag and bottle bills, citing the statistic that 95% of the material that ends up in our landfills can be recycled or converted to energy.
Governor Martin O’Malley reminded us that “the fundamentals of democracy today are the same as they were in Lincoln’s time. The leaders can only go as far as an educated citizenry will support and allow them to go,” and emphasized the need to continue to spread awareness about the plight of our lands and waters.
But my personal favorite was Vernice Miller-Travis, Vice Chair of the Maryland Commission on Environmental Justice and Sustainable Communities.
I can’t reproduce her passion, humor, and warmth in text, but it was clear that her speech galvanized the entire audience, reminding us of the urgency of our mission and the power of the progressive voice in Maryland. If you have a few minutes, I highly recommend watching the video of Vernice’s speech; prepare to be awed by a modern champion of the environmental movement.
And if you, like me, feel that Annapolis is not quite a place where you feel comfortable making your voice heard, I challenge you to banish your doubts and give at least one of your legislators a call this session. And keep checking back on our blog for more ways you can support an environmental legislative agenda in 2013!
Starting this summer, Baltimore City and the nine largest counties in the state – including Baltimore County – must begin assessing fees on property owners based on the amount of stormwater pollution each property produces.
Because stormwater from urban & suburban areas is the fastest growing source of pollution entering local streams, the Harbor, and the Chesapeake Bay this problem is directly impacting the health of Baltimore’s people. Stormwater pollution contributes to sewage overflows, compromises drinking water infrastructure, and creates flooding and so these mandate fees are an important part of the solution.
Baltimore County is still determining how it will approach this mandate, and we will share information about their plans soon.
Baltimore City residents voted in November to create a new Stormwater Utility to manage these fees. In the past, resources for reducing stormwater pollution came from the City’s general fund, so these projects were often underfunded due to scarce resources and the need to provide other services. Once the utility is implemented, the funds collected will be dedicated to infrastructure improvements, consistent street sweeping operations and maintenance of existing structures. We will also see public/private partnership efforts to reduce litter, and a local source of funding for greening projects such as tree plantings and stream clean-ups.
Over the past month I attended four different community meetings organized by the Baltimore City Department of Public Works to publicize the new utility and to answer questions from residents about it. I am happy to report that City residents were generally receptive to the fee. There were questions and concerns, to be sure, but most comments appeared to be decidedly positive.
Residents were provided with basic billing information but wanted to know if there would be an appeals process or credit system that could reduce their fees; the answer is “yes” on both counts. The credit system has not been finalized, and Blue Water Baltimore is participating with other advocates in City-convened task force to create guidance for how this system will work for residents and property owners.
Based on discussions thus far, though, Blue Water Baltimore expects that residents will be able to apply for a credit if they have taken an approved action to reduce the amount of stormwater pollution their property produces – installing a rain garden, for example – or if they participate in local, environmentally-focused volunteer events.
At each meeting, residents encouraged the City to work closely and cooperatively with environmental non-profits and community groups in their efforts to reduce water pollution. This should include grant funding and use of City resources for volunteer projects and community-led activities.
Residents also wanted to know how the City will be helping them to organize clean ups, create tree pits, and eliminate impervious surfaces. Education was important to those that attended the northwest meeting. One City resident commented, “We need to get the kids involved but we also need to figure how to explain to adults what a storm drain is and where it’s going.”
Creating a much-needed funding source for stormwater management projects is just one piece of a very complex and costly solution. Residents who called for collaboration were right: we need everyone to do their part by working together, and Blue Water Baltimore is here to assist.
One thing that will not change is our commitment to clean water. With innovative programs like Blue Alleys, our residential water audits, and community tree plantings, Blue Water Baltimore will continue working with residents of Baltimore City and Baltimore County to reduce stormwater pollution.
For more information on the stormwater utility fee, please check out the City’s fact sheet. You can also view a list of frequently asked questions about the utility, which provides further details on the fee and how it is calculated for each property.
As the fee structure and credit system become more fully developed, we will continue to post updates here, so stay tuned!
From the desk of Halle Van der Gaag, Executive Director
The 2013 Maryland General Assembly is here! This is a preview of the legislative issues on which Blue Water Baltimore will be focused this year. Check out our blog and our website often–more specific details, actions steps and bill numbers will be updated on our web page as they become available.
In 2013, Blue Water Baltimore will primarily be focused on three issues: the Stormwater Utility Fee passed in 2012, the upcoming bottle deposit bill, and the reintroduction of the bag bill. In addition, we will be supporting the work of our partners on a pesticide reporting bill and a ban on hydrofracturing, or “fracking.” Please read on for details about these five legislative efforts.
1. State Law (SB614 and HB987): Stormwater Utility Fees
-What is it? This is legislation that was passed in 2012 requiring local jurisdictions to create dedicated stormwater utility fees.
-How does it help to improve water quality? These dedicated fees will raise the necessary funds to mitigate impacts of stormwater pollution, which will help to clean and green our watersheds and to eliminate toxic sewage entering our streams and Harbor through the stormwater system.
-What is BWB’s focus? We will be supporting Baltimore City and County efforts to design and implement State Law (SB614 and HB987). More details on the local utility will be forthcoming as the structure of the fee systems continue to be developed. Please click here to view dates and locations for the upcoming community meetings about the stormwater utility fee!
2. Bottle Deposit Bill
-What is it? Dubbed “Recycle for Real,” this legislation will require a container deposit for aluminum cans, plastic bottles and other beverage containers. Anticipated at 5 cents, this comprehensive effort will not only reduce trash and litter, but will create and sustain local jobs and enhance curbside recycling. Also, this bill will help support the reduction of greenhouse gases and energy consumption through the re-use of materials. This bill has been introduced by Baltimore’s own Delegate Maggie Macintosh (43rd district) who is the current chair of the House Environmental Matters Committee; Senator Brain Frosh from Montgomery County (16th district) will serve as the Senate Co-Sponsor.
-How does it help to improve water quality? Maryland currently recycles only 20% of our beverage containers. This bill, once passed, will reduce roadside litter and other trash washing into our waterways via our stormdrain system, where it contributes to clogs and back-ups which often cause flooding in our neighborhoods. The Inner Harbor has been officially listed as impaired for trash by the EPA, and Baltimore City and County are mandated to focus on significant trash reduction strategies
-What is BWB’s focus? To help mobilize strong community and business support for this legislation, we will be spearheading a “Thunderclap,” a social media outreach tool that can reach over 40,000 people just through 100 supporters.
The Thunderclap will post only once on your behalf–at the same time as it posts on the Facebook or Twitter account of the other supporters, spreading the word about the Bottle Deposit Bill to thousands of people simultaneously. Click here to be part of the vanguard to support recycling for the health of our waters!
3. Community Cleanup and Greening Act of 2012 (Bag Bill)
-What is it? This is legislation requiring retail stores in Maryland to charge and collect a five-cent fee on disposable plastic and paper bags.
-How does it help to improve water quality? This will reduce litter in Maryland’s neighborhoods and waterways, reducing plastic bag use 60% or more; save retailers money; save consumers money when they avoid the hidden cost of “free” bags in higher prices; and create green jobs by giving counties valuable funds for community investments such as neighborhood greening, stormwater improvements, watershed implementation plans, and more.
-What is BWB’s focus? Again, we will be focused on bill passage by mobilizing strong community and business support for this legislation. We are working on trash-related issues with the Trash Free Maryland Coalition. More details can be found at www.TrashFreeMaryland.org.
4. Pesticides Reporting Bill
-What is it? Pesticides pose a serious risk to our health, to the Chesapeake Bay and local waterways, and to homeland security–but Maryland lacks the information we need about some pesticide use and the sales of restricted use pesticides. We need pesticide applicators, as well as sellers of restricted use pesticides, to report the information they are already required to maintain. That way, research scientists and environmental and public health experts will have data they can use to determine if and when pesticides are affecting our health, our waters, and homeland security.
-How does it help to improve water quality? Once the experts have more information about when and where pesticides are used, we’ll be better able to protect our families and our waterways, including the Chesapeake Bay.
-What is BWB’s focus? We will sign and promote the petition by Smart On Pesticides Maryland, telling the O’Malley Administration and the Maryland General Assembly that want them to pass a bill creating a simple and cost-neutral, centralized online pesticide reporting database in 2013.
5. Marcellus Shale Gas Drilling (“Fracking”) Ban
-What is it? While the Baltimore area will not be the home of direct drilling, we believe it is essential to support others on their efforts to eliminate this potentially serious threat to water quality and groundwater supplies.
-How does it help to improve water quality? A fracking ban would prevent any toxic waste water from this extraction process from making its way to Baltimore-area wastewater treatment facilities, where discharges may end up in the Patapsco and Back Rivers.
Though some of these bills won’t be easy to pass, we are committed to doing everything we can to spread awareness and support of these issues. To that end, we will be focusing on each of these five priorities in our upcoming blog posts, which you can subscribe to by entering your email address in the top right corner (next to the !) or visiting www.bluewaterbaltimore.org/feed. I hope you will join us in our efforts by sharing these facts and websites with your friends and colleagues. And don’t forget to sign up for our Bottle Bill Thunderclap– a simple, one-time way to share timely information on this important bill with your social network. Check back soon to see how else you can help!
Halle Van der Gaag
Blue Water Baltimore