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Weekly Green Tip – Stormwater

November 6, 2013 - Executive Director, Latest

In this week’s post I want to blog about storm water and the challenges we face as more of our green spaces are paved over. In our state of Maryland, they have started collecting what is popularly known as the rain tax. In actuality, it takes into consideration the amount of non-permeable surface you have and assesses you based on the potential amount of runoff generated from these surfaces.

I came across two articles this week which both had insight into the challenges presented by our storm water management systems. In the first, a writer for the Nature Conservancy laments the fate of the Brook trout in Adirondack waters. Having suffered from acid rain, invasive competition, deforestation, pollution, and climate change, the indigenous fish is barely hanging on. The author, however, does offer some encouraging news in the form of potential for stream restoration. By reengineering storm water systems and installing thoughtfully designed culverts, we can improve habitat and open access to previously cut off watersheds. I would encourage you to read the full article by following the link below:

The second article has more local relevance and articulates some of the big reasons for trying to get a handle on this problem. Namely, the fact that more pollution in the form of nitrogen enters local waters in some areas as a result of storm water runoff than from septic AND agriculture combined! The author goes further by analyzing both the expense of better management and treatment of the water and the economic benefits realized. Please click below for the full article:

If you want to have a direct impact in your area on the storm water problem there are a few easy things you and your neighbors can do:

1. Label storm water drains to discourage dumping with slogans like “Chesepeake Bay Watershed”
2. Install a green roof
3. Use permeable pavers for driveways, walkways, etc.
4. Limit or, preferably, exclude the use of pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers
5. Use rain barrels to collect water

Thanks for reading and let me know if you have any other suggestions.