March 03, 2020 Baltimore County
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.