ANNAPOLIS, MD (December 14, 2005) – Governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. today announced Board of Public Works approval grants in excess of $924,000 for Baltimore County to conduct substantive stream repairs and control storm water runoff in three areas, all of which will improve local water quality. The Board is comprised of Governor Ehrlich, Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp and Comptroller William D. Schaefer.
The largest of the Board’s approvals was $419,756 in two grants for the Tall Trees retrofit and stream restoration project that will benefit Middle River.
“Our development will have a profound influence on the quality of Maryland’s natural waters,” said Governor Ehrlich. “Our roof tops, roads, parking lots, driveways and other solid surfaces do not allow rainfall to soak into the ground and carry an accumulation of pollutants from trash to rubber from cars to nearby streams, rivers and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay. Supporting these types of projects is a top priority and vital to our ongoing efforts to improve water quality in our tributaries and the Chesapeake Bay.”
The Tall Trees project will reduce non-point source pollution from a 134-acre watershed by creating a stormwater pond and correcting 1,000 feet of streambank erosion. The total cost of the project is more than $1 million, of which $568,536 is the local share.
A grant for $290,000 was approved to restore Woodvalley Stream. The project will address channel erosion problems by shoring up 3,000 feet of the degraded stream that is a branch of the Jones Falls near Pikesville. The total cost of the project is more than $1.1 million, $569,594 of which is the local share.
The Board also approved $214,950 from the state Stormwater Pollution Control Cost-Share Program, administered by the Maryland Department of the Environment, for the Back River stormwater retrofit project at Martin Boulevard and U.S. Route 40 in Essex.
The project entails retrofitting two stormwater management ponds including installation of concrete walls to control stormwater flows, creation of a two-third acre shallow marsh and plantings. The result will be better treatment of stormwater from a 212-acre developed urban drainage area that borders O’Brien Run and Stemmers Run in addition to the river. The total cost of the project is $637,266, of which $159,316 is the local share.
“These projects will provide water quality improvements to directly enhance the aquatic and riparian habitat of our waterways leading to the Chesapeake Bay,” said David C. Carroll, director of Baltimore County’s Department of Environmental Protection and Resource Management. “Protecting our streams and waterways is an ongoing challenge and the funding assistance from the state will greatly continue our effort to protect, restore and improve our water resources.”
Construction on all the projects began last month.
Properly controlling stormwater is also important because inflow of sediment into streams can cloud water, blocking sunlight from submerged plants. Sediment also settles to the bottom of streams, clogging the gravel beds used by fish for laying their eggs. Nutrients, such as phosphorus and nitrogen, from fertilizers enter the water and promote unusually rapid algae growth. As this algae dies, its decomposition reduces or eliminates oxygen needed by fish, shellfish, and other aquatic life for survival.