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Grant Program Helps Congregations Cut Stormwater Pollution

With funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Blue Water Baltimore and Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake have developed Blue Water Congregations, a program to identify and implement stormwater reduction strategies at faith-based institutions in Baltimore.

Through the program, Blue Water Baltimore engages and educates congregations about stormwater issues, and collaboratively identifies greening opportunities while embracing their ethic of Care of Creation, a religious response to environmental challenges. This important investment with our partners works to restore water quality and connects members of all faiths to the environment.

Over the course of the three-year grant, our goal is to work with 84 congregations to help them remove 25,000 square feet of impervious surface, plant 12,000 square feet of rain gardens, and redirect 75 downspouts to lawns, landscaping, or rain barrels.

Polluted stormwater is the primary form of pollution from urban areas impacting local streams, rivers, and the Chesapeake Bay.

Two recent rain garden projects lead by Blue Water Baltimore include the Kadampa Meditation Center and the Cathedral of the Incarnation, both located in our Baltimore City watersheds.

Kadampa Meditation Center

Blue Water Baltimore is working with the Kadampa Meditation Center, one of our first Blue Water Congregations, in an effort to reduce the amount of polluted stormwater runoff created from their roof and parking lot by installing three rain gardens on their property. Kadampa secured nearly $30,000 in funding for this project from an Outreach and Restoration grant from the Chesapeake Bay Trust.


The project is a collaborative effort between Kadampa, Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake, Grow Landscape Design, and the Home Builders Institute with the Woodstock Job Corp Center which help local youth gain job skills in the green industry.

When completed later this month, the rain gardens will be a beautiful addition to the grounds, and will treat over 325,000 gallons of stormwater runoff a year!


Cathedral of the Incarnation

At the Cathedral of the Incarnation, we conducted a water audit and revealed a number of challenges involving storm water runoff from the property. To respond to the problem we developed recommendations for a rain garden to be located on the southeast corner of the property along St. Paul Street.

Landscaping plans were developed along with plans for funding the project using grants through Blue Water Baltimore and funds from the Friends of the Cathedral Gardens endowment fund.


The rain garden, filled with native trees, perennials, and shrubs, was designed to capture water flowing off the property, and hold it until it can be absorbed slowly into the ground. This garden not only captures the water but also all of the trash and pollutants that are picked up and carried by water into the city storm drains which flow into the bay.

We hope that you will visit these gardens over the months to not only enjoy their beauty, but also to be inspired to consider similar actions on your property.


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