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Keyword: eps

Crowdsourcing Tool Allows the Public To Help Track Nuisance Midge “Hotspots,” Will Inform Future Mitigation Efforts

County Executive Johnny Olszewski today announced the “Environmental Reporter,” a new online tool that will enable the public to help the County track environmental data, including “hotspot” observations of nuisance midge populations along County waterways, as well as locations where individuals plant trees or install rain barrels.

This is the latest effort from the Olszewski Administration to increase public engagement and create more online tools for County residents.

“I pledged to make Baltimore County more data-driven and accessible to residents, and this new crowdsourcing tool will help us partner directly with community members to be more accurate and deliberate in the services we provide,” Olszewski said. “It is critical that we work with residents to improve quality of life in our communities. The data collected with this new tool will help us mitigate midges, increase our tree canopy, and reduce stormwater run-off.”

The Baltimore County Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability (EPS) conducts extensive monitoring of Baltimore County’s waterways for pollutants and biological indicators as part of its U.S. EPA requirements related to its Municipal Stormwater (MS4) Discharge Permit, and in compliance with Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) restrictions for certain waterways.

Reforestation efforts and stormwater mitigation are integral to the County’s environmental protection efforts and the data collected in this new web tool will be included in mandatory reporting.

Midges are small non-biting aquatic flies that often swarm near water or marshy areas where they breed, creating a nuisance for homeowners, boaters, businesses and recreational activities.

EPS is researching the midge issue in the County’s eastern waterfront areas.

This new online tool will provide specific data to help determine locations of nuisance midge populations that will inform potential mitigation methods by Baltimore County and the State of Maryland.

The Environmental Reporter online tool is available here.

“This plan ignores science and is like spraying a can of Raid on the surface of the water,” EPS Director says

Baltimore County Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability (EPS) Director Vince Gardina responded today to the Governor’s unilateral decision to fund short-term treatments to target an infestation of midges, a non-biting nuisance insect, in the Back River area of the County. “The infestation of midges in the Back River is caused by the nutrient-rich bottom sediment in the river that has accumulated over a century. These impacts will not be negated by a Band-Aid approach which will result in a waste of taxpayer funding. Baltimore County chooses to use environmental restoration funding based on proven science and known results. Furthermore, Back River is a waterway of the State of Maryland and as such is the State’s responsibility to manage,” Gardina said. 

 “While Governor Hogan claims that Baltimore County should join the State by frivolously matching his $330,000 expenditure to test the efficacy of such an application, my staff and I have researched the science and feel that nutrient reduction at the Back River Wastewater Treatment Plant and removal of the pollutant-laden bottom sediment in the upper Back River is the only real answer to stop midge larvae. While this may be difficult and impractical, the solution proposed by Governor Hogan is completely political and will have no real results, setting unrealistic expectations for the public,” stated Gardina. “The Governor’s small-scale treatment of midge larva will have little effect on the midge population. It will leave most of the Back River untreated allowing midge populations to easily reproduce and continue to be a nuisance,” he said.

 The Governor’s suggestion that Baltimore County holds primary responsibility for the waters of the State is factually inaccurate. Last October, the Governor proposed that Baltimore County pay for half of a $1.3 million program for midge remediation in Back River. The County declined because even that level of spraying would not achieve a comprehensive solution and would not be an effective investment of taxpayer dollars.​

Revised September 11, 2017