Baltimore County Now
Public Input to Enhance Small Watershed Action Plan
Baltimore County EPS invites participation from communities within urban areas of the Lower Gunpowder River watershed at an upcoming public meeting on Tuesday, June 16. The urban portions of the Lower Gunpowder River watershed include parts of Perry Hall, Carney, and Towson neighborhoods.
This is the first of two public meetings regarding the creation of the Lower Gunpowder River Small Watershed Action Plan, or SWAP. The June 16 community meeting will take place at the Perry Hall Middle School Auditorium (4300 Ebenezer Road, Baltimore, MD 21236) from 6:30pm to 8:00pm. It is free and open to the public
This public meeting offers a chance for communities to get involved and learn about the history and project to date, and most importantly, provide suggestions about their vision and priorities for the watershed. The purpose of the SWAP is to collaboratively form a Vision Statement and Goals document and identify goals and objectives to improve natural areas in the watershed. There will be a survey to capture priorities and interactive mapping displays to record areas of concern.
Baltimore County stresses the importance of public participation in creating the Vision Statement for the SWAP. “We’re very excited to see such great public involvement in these projects,” said Director of Environmental Protection and Sustainability, Vince Gardina. “The SWAP process helps build on the philosophy that citizen involvement and feedback is critical when it comes to reaching environmental goals that benefit our communities in a more well-rounded fashion.”
For more information on Baltimore County’s Small Watershed Action Plans (SWAPs), please visit http://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/Agencies/environment/watersheds/swap.html.
The Baltimore County Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability is responsible for the protection of the environment and the improvement of the quality of life for the citizens of Baltimore County. This is accomplished through programs that manage and enhance natural and man-made resources, and that provide environmental guidelines to constituents.
Background of Small Watershed Action Plans in Maryland:
In the late 1990s, national stormwater permits required major counties in Maryland to reduce pollution from roads and neighborhoods that drain to local streams. Counties began monitoring programs and prepared watershed plans to identify projects and programs that could reduce pollution from these non-point sources. Many projects were completed and reductions tallied in annual reports. Much progress was made, however additional reductions are needed to have clean water that meets water quality standards. To reach these additional reductions, Baltimore County is developing Small Watershed Action Plans (SWAPs) to focus on communities as smaller groups and to identify specific solutions that are tailored to local areas. They are used by Baltimore County in conjunction with citizen groups to implement actions that create and maintain healthy watersheds.
Part of May’s Clean Commute Month Events
On Friday, May 15, hundreds of Baltimore County residents are expected to celebrate national Bike to Work Day. Bike to Work Day rallies are being held in Towson, Timonium, Catonsville, Owings Mills and White Marsh to celebrate those who commute to work by bike, and to encourage others to give it a try.
Free early-morning refreshments and give-aways will be provided, and those that pre-register online will also receive Bike to Work Day t-shirts and are eligible to win prizes including a new bicycle.
Bike to Work Day is an annual event, promoting bicycling as a healthy and enjoyable commute option that eases congestion. It is managed regionally by the Baltimore Metropolitan Council through collaboration with state agencies, bicycle and pedestrian advocacy groups, cities and counties throughout Central Maryland, committed volunteers and generous sponsors.
An Efficient and Fun Way to Get Exercise
Baltimore County government is marking its twelfth year in sponsoring the local events, which have been steadily growing in number and participants. The Owings Mills location is new this year, hosted by Edaptive Systems Inc. (400 Red Brook Boulevard, Owings Mills, Maryland 21117). The White Marsh event, in its fifth year, is hosted by IKEA White Marsh. Ride participants and pre-registrants who are on their way to work by bike will receive a coupon for breakfast at IKEA.
“Biking to work is an efficient and fun way to get the exercise you need while commuting to the workplace,” said County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. “And, biking rather than driving to work can help reduce the amount of vehicle emissions, which are a significant contributor to the region’s ground-level ozone problem.”
For more information, visit the Baltimore Metropolitan Council website.
Leaders in Conservation
Baltimore County has once again been recognized on a national level for its excellence in promoting the benefits of trees for communities. This afternoon, County Executive Kevin Kamenetz accepted the Tree City USA Award on behalf of Baltimore County.
This is the twelfth year that the County received this notable designation by the national Arbor Day Foundation, in partnership with the US Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters.
Arbor Day in Baltimore County
“We’re proud that we are leaders in the state when it comes to to the conservation, health, reforestation and stewardship of the County’s trees and forests, and we are grateful for the recognition that comes with being named a Tree City USA,” said Kamenetz.
Dozens of environmental leaders attended the announcement, held at the County’s Center for Maryland Agriculture and Farm Park. At the event, the County Executive also proclaimed April 24 as Arbor Day in Baltimore County, which corresponds with the national Arbor Day date.
The County Executive marked the occasion by planting a tree at the County’s agricultural center, the site of a successful reforestation project that is a model for current projects funded through the stormwater remediation fee.