A rain garden with yellow and orange flowers planted at the Church of the Incarnation in Baltimore.
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New report: ‘It’s not easy being green’ in Baltimore. But it could be.

‘It’s not easy being green’ in Baltimore, but a new report released today by Blue Water Baltimore shows that it could be.

The report outlines current hurdles to creating green stormwater infrastructure – including green roofs and rain gardens – in Baltimore City. It also offers solutions for how Baltimore officials can support and expand the use of green stormwater infrastructure across the city.

“Green stormwater infrastructure could make a world of difference in making Baltimore cleaner and greener, but it’s hard for our communities to make these projects happen,” said Jenn Aiosa, Blue Water Baltimore’s Executive Director.

Every time it rains, trash, bacteria, heavy metals, and other pollutants are washed from city streets and roofs into local streams and the harbor. Green stormwater infrastructure is a cost-effective way to improve water quality and combat flooding and stormwater runoff. In addition, it improves air quality and makes cities cooler during hot summer months.

Community members planting a rain garden at Amazing Grace Lutheran Church in Baltimore’s McElderry Park neighborhood. Credit: Carolyn Millard.
Community members planting a rain garden at Amazing Grace Lutheran Church in Baltimore’s McElderry Park neighborhood. Photo by Carolyn Millard.

“We found three reasons why creating green stormwater infrastructure in the city is so hard: unclear regulations and permitting, poor communication, and limited funding,” said Jessie Hillman, Senior Stormwater Program Manager at Blue Water Baltimore.

“Many green stormwater infrastructure projects in the city have ultimately failed due to these hurdles. It doesn’t have to be this hard for residents to make their neighborhoods greener.”

The report recommends a variety of options for tackling these challenges, including updating the City Code and increasing the use of the City’s Stormwater Utility Fee revenue to fund projects. Blue Water Baltimore hopes that the report will encourage Baltimore City officials to do more to support green infrastructure and reap its benefits.

“Baltimoreans want and deserve a cleaner, greener Baltimore. Green stormwater infrastructure can help us get there,” said Aiosa.

This report was made possible with support from the Pisces Foundation, the JPB Foundation, and the Abell Foundation. The full report is available online at www.bluewaterbaltimore.org/GSIreport.

Cover image of Blue Water Baltimore's new report on green infrastructure.

Featured image: A rain garden installed by Blue Water Baltimore at the Church of the Incarnation in Baltimore’s Guilford neighborhood. 

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