Blue Water Baltimore
is using a $400,000 federal grant to improve storm water management in Baltimore City. The nonprofit advocacy group intends to contact about 5,000 homeowners and institutional property owners as part of the Water Audit Program.
Blue Water Baltimore was formed in 2011 from five different nonprofit organizations, all of which shared the same environmental goal, says Dana Puzey, Blue Water’s water audit program manager. The nonprofit will help homeowners pay for green roofs, rain gardens, conservation landscaping and other projects.
After doing an initial assessment of storm water on the individual sites, staffers will recommend ways to reduce the volume of water runoff, Puzey says. If the property owner decides to go ahead with the recommendation, he or she can apply for a rebate from Blue Water for the project.
Based on previous outreach efforts, Puzey says that many homeowners want to undertake such a project, but it isn't feasible because it’s too expensive or they don’t have a big enough site to make it work.
She figures that the 5,000 people they contact will result in 400 projects per year. The number of “in-ground” projects will vary depending on whether Blue Water is able to get matching grants from local government for the federal money.
Blue Water’s grant is part of an overall $9.2 million in grants the Chesapeake Bay Program and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation distributed last month. A total of 41 projects in six states and Washington, D.C., got awards for Chesapeake Bay environmental initiatives.
The Baltimore metro area received nearly $750,000. Besides Blue Water’s grant, the Center for Urban Environmental Research and Education at the University of Maryland Baltimore County received $324,000 to work with the Maryland Transit Administration and Highway Administration on adopting pervious concrete and subsoiling. The project includes a demonstration project to replace an existing parking lot at the Maryland Science Center with pervious concrete.
Source: Dana Puzey, Blue Water Baltimore
Writer: Barbara Pash