Release of the Report Card Grades
On Monday, May 9, Blue Water Baltimore and Waterfront Partnership celebrated the release of our annual Healthy Harbor Report Card. The important event received media coverage from an array of local papers including The Baltimore Sun, Baltimore Business Journal, The Baltimore Brew and Bay Journal.
The 2015 Report Card acknowledges that overall health in Baltimore waterways continues to be very poor. The Baltimore Harbor and Tidal Patapsco scores both decreased somewhat from 2014, while the Jones Falls and Gwynns Falls streams both saw slight improvements, receiving grades of ‘F’ and ‘D’, respectively.
Measuring Water Quality
Water quality is measured using Blue Water Baltimore’s Ambient Water Quality Monitoring Program. Throughout 2015, volunteers dedicated 841 hours of their time to collect samples from 49 sites, resulting in 14,973 data points to produce the report card scores.
Sampled biweekly, all data collected is recorded and reported out each week on our Harbor Alert website. Ongoing data collection will determine if modest fluctuations in annual scores are part of a larger trend in water quality.
Working to Improve Water Quality
Speakers at the event included, Blue Water Baltimore Executive Director Halle Van der Gaag, Waterfront Partnership Board Chair Micahel Hankin, Director of Baltimore City Public Works Rudy Chow, Maryland State Delegate Brooke Lierman, Congressman John Sarbanes, and Baltimore Councilman James Kraft.
In her remarks, Executive Director, Halle Van der Gaag, brought attention to progress and hard fought advancements made in 2015. “We believe water connects us all, and in 2015 and into 2016, there are more people engaged in this effort, thousands of people. Blue Water Baltimore and so many partners like WPB, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, and the National Aquarium have gotten people out… engaged proactively in direct action — picking up trash, and planting trees, but also being a part of citizen advocacy.”
Halle brought attention to a significant increase in businesses and corporations volunteering, driving pollution reduction projects, producing measurable results for water quality, and making communities more livable. In addition to pollution reduction, Halle highlighted an exciting portfolio of over a dozen stormwater management projects scheduled for construction in 2016 and cited the recent completion of Library Square — a large stormwater project treating massive runoff flowing into Harris Creek.
Halle concluded her remarks, “I am hopeful but still impatient. Not only are we halfway through to 2020, we are also past halfway on our stormwater permit, with most City stormwater projects still several years off. The new Consent Decree is four months beyond its deadline, and the headworks project, as great as it will hopefully be, is still four years off.” Acknowledging new leadership in the Mayors office, and City Council, along with the city’s Green Network program Halle said she is hopeful clean water will be a priority for all parties.
Join the Clean Water Movement
Blue Water Baltimore depends on the generous financial support and partnership of concerned community members to restore the water quality our rivers, streams and Baltimore Harbor. Join the clean water movement and donate to Blue Water Baltimore, sign up to volunteer or learn how you can reduce your stormwater footprint.