Press Release

ANNAPOLIS, MD (June 7, 2006) – Governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. announced Board of Public Works approval today of $75,000 to finance five ultra-urban Best Management Practices (BMP) and “virtual theme park” in Watershed 263 (part of the Gwynns Falls Watershed), City of Baltimore. Today’s actions are in the form of a grant of $75,000 from the Stormwater Pollution Control Cost-Share Program. The Board is comprised of Governor Ehrlich, Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp and Comptroller William D. Schaefer.

“The construction and demonstration of such state-of-the-art Best Management Practices and creation of the ‘virtual theme park’ is a testimony to the progressive steps Maryland is taking to protect the Baltimore Harbor and Chesapeake Bay,” said Governor Ehrlich. “The state takes pride in keeping up with the evolving infrastructure and information-sharing needs of Baltimore City.”

The project consists of construction and demonstration of five ultra-urban BMPs in Catchment “0” of Watershed 263 in Baltimore City. The BMPs to be constructed are catch basin inserts, at least one stormwater curb extension, two to four porous concrete alleys, biofiltration practices and perimeter sand filter.

Stormwater management practices control held address non-point source pollution. Excess nutrients, like nitrogen and phosphorus, lead to degraded water quality, which negatively impact the ecology of the Bay and its tributaries.

The demonstration project will manage approximately 6.5 acres of stormwater runoff that has two to three times the national average of pollutants in runoff. A web-based, “virtual ultra-urban theme park” will be created to feature maps, pictures of the BMPs progress throughout construction, design schematics, information on implementing the practices, water quality data, meteorological data obtained from the monitoring station in the watershed, and other aspects of Watershed 263. The virtual theme park website will provide watershed management strategies that ultimately benefit the Baltimore Harbor and Chesapeake Bay.

“We are extremely thankful to MDE and appreciative of the support provided by the Stormwater Cost-share Program in implementing five innovative ultra-urban best management practices in the ‘pioneer’ Watershed 263 Restoration Project,” said William P. Stack, chief, Water Quality Management, Baltimore City Department of Public Works.

The total project cost is approximately $415,000, of which $190,000 is the local share to be paid by the City of Baltimore. The state’s participation in the project, through MDE’s Water Quality Infrastructure Program is ultimately $100,000.

Design of this project is expected to be complete by September of this year, with a construction completion date of March 2007.