After decades of effort, the voluntary, collaborative approach to restoring the health and vitality of the Chesapeake Bay— the largest estuary in the United States—has not worked and, in fact, is failing. A diverse group of 57 senior scientists and policymakers have joined forces to save the Bay. This is our plan.

Reducing Pollution and Improving Communities in Anne Arundel County

(Posted by Chris Trumbauer

Last month, I introduced, along with County Council Chairman Dick Ladd, bipartisan legislation (Bill 79-11) to create a dedicated funding source to reduce polluted stormwater runoff in Anne Arundel County, Maryland.

Our county has a strong attachment to our local waterways, as we have a large and vibrant recreation community, a robust maritime industry and over 500 miles of shoreline. I introduced this bill not just because I want clean rivers and streams and a healthy Chesapeake Bay – but because I care about where my family lives, works and plays. Cleaning up our polluted runoff will help make our waterways safer, and building this infrastructure to reduce pollution also greatly improves our communities.

The funding mechanism in this bill would charge a modest fee on residential properties ($35 for single family homes and $25 for townhomes and condos) and would assess non-residential property based on how much impervious, or hard, surface is on the property. Money from this dedicated fund will go directly back into creating local projects. Designing and building projects to reduce stormwater pollution will put County residents to work – in management, planning and engineering type jobs, as well as much-needed construction work.

In Anne Arundel County, because of the potential for polluted runoff, our Department of Health has a blanket 48 hour advisory warning against water contact following any significant rainfall event.  As county residents, we deserve better. Reducing polluted stormwater runoff will protect public health by keeping harmful bacteria, trash and toxins out of our waterways.

Due to years of inaction, eroded stream banks and ditches can threaten private property and public infrastructure. Reducing polluted stormwater runoff also prevents costly flooding and erosion problems, and it creates more common green spaces filled with trees and gardens, which are a common-sense and often inexpensive way to reduce pollution that has so many other benefits for our kids and our neighborhoods.

The bill has broad support among many stakeholders, including the Annapolis Capital. The need for addressing our stormwater problem is clear, but the political path to succeed is not. If you believe, like me, that clean and safe waterways are critical to our communities, and that it is long past time for the County to address its responsibilities, let your county representatives know.

The public hearing is scheduled for Monday December 5. If you live in Anne Arundel County, please let your county councilmember and County Executive Leopold know you support this important bill.


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