Tuesday's rain brought with it pleasant temperatures and good coffee-break conversation, but what else did it usher into Maryland?
While our farms, lawns, and flowers welcomed the rain after many dry days, water rushing through our neighborhoods and into our creeks, rivers, and local swimming holes ushered in a mess in Anne Arundel County's Cox and Furnace Creeks. Sewage overflows caused by uncontrolled polluted runoff triggered emergency closures of both creeks for the next week. Not so welcome.
Satellite photos of the Bay's watershed on August 13 show how Maryland's headwaters are clouded by all the sediment and nutrients that enter our waters when we get downpours like Tuesday's. Not to mention the pet waste, lawn fertilizer, oil, and grease that has built up on the local landscape since our last rain. Downhill and into the Bay it goes--unless such polluted runoff can be slowed down by improved farm, urban, and residential management practices.
The good news is that we have a science-based solution--the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint--to reduce all the nasty pollution that enters our streams, creeks, and ultimately the Bay. We all have a role to play in the Blueprint--there's no single boogie-man we can point a finger at and expect the problem to go away.
Whether we're in Western Maryland, the Lower Eastern Shore, or everywhere in between, we can be a part of this solution. That means putting best management practices on the ground--even in our own backyards!--to slow polluted runoff so it can be stripped of pollution before flowing into our creeks and rivers, pushing for changes to our agricultural systems to prevent nutrients running off farm fields, and demanding that our state protects and adds more trees as natural filters to our urban and suburban landscape.
So on your next coffee break, start talking about the solution. Just like the Chesapeake watershed, you're part of it!
--CBF's Maryland Office