VICTORY – HOLDING POLLUTERS ACCOUNTABLE
A federal district court in Maryland recently ruled that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wrongfully denied Blue Water Baltimore’s petition to regulate stormwater runoff from commercial, industrial, and institutional sites in the Back River watershed. Blue Water Baltimore and its allies took this fight against polluted stormwater discharges to court so that polluters who contribute to the runoff of contaminants into our waterways are made to clean up their own mess.
Along with co-plaintiffs Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and American Rivers, Blue Water Baltimore brought this lawsuit against EPA for failing to require industrial and commercial polluters in the Back River watershed to pay for the clean-up of harmful runoff from their properties.
Municipal and county governments currently bear the lion’s share of the responsibility for cleaning up stormwater pollution, and yet, a significant amount of that pollution comes from private commercial, industrial, and institutional sites. Because these sites contain extensive impervious areas, like parking lots and rooftops, they consistently discharge large quantities of polluted stormwater runoff into local rivers and streams. Under the federal Clean Water Act, if EPA determines that a category of stormwater discharge is contributing to water quality violations, the agency must require those dischargers to apply for permits. Those permits would then mandate actions to be taken to limit the amount of polluted runoff.
Blue Water Baltimore will continue to work with our partners to compel large property owners to clean up their own stormwater pollution, instead of placing the burden on local governments and taxpayers.
To learn more: bluewaterbaltimore.org/blog
EDUCATION & ECOLITERACY
One of our most popular ecoliteracy programs is the FOG Monster-Making Workshop. It’s designed to introduce Baltimore City school administrators and students to the Clean Drain Campaign, run by our partners Ridge to Reefs and the Baltimore City Department of Public Works. The campaign promotes protecting our streams and harbor from sewage and fats, oils, and grease (FOG). Cooking grease and wet wipes emptied into drains are a leading cause of sewer overflows and water pollution. Putting these items in the trash instead helps our waterways and can help you save money on plumber bills!
ONE WATER PARTNERSHIP
The One Water Partnership is a program led by Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake, with technical support from Blue Water Baltimore, Interfaith Power and Light, and University of Maryland Extension Sea Grant. The purpose of the program is to unite an array of faith leaders and congregants in a connection to their watershed and in a mission to be better stewards of the earth. A menu of actions has been developed with the densely populated urban watershed in mind, and provides participants different avenues to get involved, regardless of the wealth or volunteer capacity of a congregation.
Early efforts with houses of worship include:
- 39 congregations mobilized
- over 770 volunteers engaged
- 293 trees planted
- 4,000 sq. ft. of native plantings installed
- 850 pounds of trash removed
- 3,205 gallons of rainwater harvested
- 22,272 sq. ft. of impervious surfaces treated
Visit http://bluewaterbaltimore.org/learn/projects/blue-water-congregations for more information.
NEW WAYSTATIONS AT HERRING RUN NURSERY
Last year, Herring Run Nursery, a program of Blue Water Baltimore, installed four educational waystation gardens to emphasize the important benefits of native plants and their many functions in the landscape. The gardens include an edible & medicinal garden, a meadow, a pollinator garden, and a rain garden. Visitors can stroll through the gardens and learn how to steward a healthy ecosystem in their own yards.
OUR GENEROUS DONORS
Blue Water Baltimore sincerely appreciates our valued donors for their contributions in 2018, including those who wish to remain anonymous and those who gave in-kind contributions.
Chesapeake Bay Trust
Maryland Department of Natural Resources
Maryland Environmental Service
Baltimore City, Maryland
Baltimore Community Foundation
Baltimore County, Maryland
Bunting Family Foundation
Keith Campbell Foundation for the Environment
Lockhart Vaughan Foundation
National Fish and Wildlife Foundation