It is time that our state and local governments look beyond evaluating stormwater management primarily by the cost-per-pound of pollution a project might remove. Certainly, nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment are critical pollutants in urban waterways, as in the Chesapeake Bay. But in urban areas, we can gain much more than pollution reduction if we evaluate stormwater management options more holistically. For example, pairing stream restoration with upstream and distributed greening practices that benefit our communities.Storm water management is one of the area in which Maryland is falling behind on the Bay clean up plans, and it is almost exclusively because the big urban areas simply won't pay for their share.
Blue Water Baltimore recently released a report describing the multiple benefits of “green stormwater infrastructure.” These are practices like removing pavement, capturing rainwater in cisterns and planting native trees and plants that soak up rain and use nutrients to grow. They can reduce the volume and velocity of stormwater and provide other important benefits in urban areas including cleaner air and water, lower summer temperatures, improved health outcomes and even reduced crime.
What if our agencies, elected officials, community leaders and funders could come together to develop a more holistic way to move beyond treating problems like stormwater in a silo and instead look comprehensively at how funding, projects and programs can make our neighborhoods and natural areas more resilient to climate and storms?
Maryland’s Chesapeake Suit Could Go Straight to Supreme Court - Bloomberg Environment