Several months ago I wrote a column titled “ where I stated that developing the land in our watershed has been the chief culprit in degrading the health of the Chesapeake Bay. As I sit here in my nice suburban home, writing this column, I realize that I am a part of the problem because my home is located in a development just like thousands of other homes in this county.
To further complicate my dilemma I really enjoy living in such close proximity to the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries even though I am aware that my suburban lifestyle negatively affects its health. While I have begun to make changes in how I landscape and care for my yard to help reduce pollution, I also realize that our environment needs help on a larger scale.
recently proposed to the County Council by Anne Arundel County Councilmen Chris Trumbauer (D-District 6) and Dick Ladd (R-District 5), to provide funding for stormwater management projects would help the county in its efforts to reduce pollution from runoff that are beyond the scope of the average homeowner. Of course this bill would establish a fee structure for residential and non-residential properties to fund the backlog of stormwater management projects that face this county.
Initially, I thought the last thing the residents and businesses of Anne Arundel County need in this tough economy is to cough up more money for another fee. However, whether we define the funding source as a fee or a tax, I believe this proposed legislation could provide the necessary financial resources for our county to begin improving the health of our local waterways.
As I stated in my earlier article, suburban development did not really become common place until after World War II. Since there was no template for how to construct the growing suburbs, it would be several decades before we would begin to understand how this type of development would negatively impact the health of the bay and its tributaries.
For a long time the best management practice for dealing with stormwater runoff was to get the water off the streets and into storm drains. Unfortunately we now know that this system flushes all sorts of pollutants into our waterways as the water runs off impervious surfaces such as roofs, streets, parking lots and driveways.
There is no cheap fix for repairing the environmental problems associated with the current stormwater management system. However, ignoring the effects on our waterways of pollution caused by runoff is not a viable solution to this problem either.
Before and after photos of a large scale stormwater management project can be seen at Anne Arundel County Department of Public Works.