This Week in the Watershed: Embracing Innovation


Riggs Avenue in West Baltimore is transformed from a vacant lot to a pocket park for the neighborhood in fall 2015.

CBF Staff

Every day we all witness a growing threat to the health of the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers and streams. With rampant growth throughout the Bay's watershed, an increasing amount of impervious surface is creating a deluge of polluted runoff. As water flows off of our streets, parking lots, and building rooftops, it picks up all kinds of pollutants like pet waste, sediment, fertilizers, pesticides, oil, and automotive fluids. It's no surprise then that polluted runoff is a major source of pollution in the Chesapeake Bay watershed and is still increasing.

Addressing polluted runoff often requires expensive solutions that are out of reach for local governments and municipalities. But there's a new tool that makes these solutions more attainable.

The Environmental Impact Bond (EIB) is a new way of financing green infrastructure, which alleviates polluted runoff by specially designed landscaping that helps absorb polluted runoff before the pollution reaches our rivers and streams. Instead of pipes and tunnels that form a gray funnel of pollution to our waterways, EIBs fund rain gardens, tree plantings, pervious pavement, green roofs, stream restoration, and other green infrastructure. These projects not only improve water quality, they also provide other benefits such as cooler neighborhoods, better air quality, and increased property value.

This video does a wonderful job of explaining not only the benefits of EIBs, but how they work:

On Monday, Baltimore City, impact investment advisor Quantified Ventures, and CBF teamed up to provide EIBs to pay for more than 90 polluted runoff management projects throughout the city. In addition to the financing help, EIBs also ensure environmental outcomes are achieved, as the city's repayment of the bonds is based on the effectiveness of the projects.

If we're going to save the Bay, we need to embrace innovative solutions to address the many threats to clean water. With EIBs, we have another tool to leave a legacy of clean water to future generations.

This Week in the Watershed: Pipeline Trees, Potomac Good News, and EIBs

  • Federal officials rejected the request to suspend seasonal tree-cutting restrictions for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. (Daily Progress—VA) BONUS: CBF Statement
  • A recent poll reveals many findings on the attitudes and actions individuals hold towards pollution in the Bay watershed. (Bay Journal)
  • Great news for the Potomac River, as the Potomac Conservancy released its report card noting steady improvement in the river's health. (Washington Post)
  • Volunteers are needed for the 30th annual Clean the Bay Day, with cleanup sites throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. (Alt Daily) BONUS: CBF Press Release
  • Underwater grasses are recovering throughout the watershed, providing a bevy of benefits to water quality. (Daily Press—VA)
  • Students from across the Bay watershed and beyond dedicated their spring break to helping save the Bay, joining CBF for the Alternative Spring Break program. (Capital Gazette—MD)
  • Addressing urban polluted runoff often requires expensive solutions, but Baltimore City is embracing a new form of financing with the help of CBF. (Baltimore Sun—MD) BONUS: CBF Press Release

What's Happening Around the Watershed?

April 6

  • Hopewell, VA: Join us for a spring planting of lovely native trees at the Hopewell Community Center! These trees will beautify, filter runoff, improve air quality, and reduce the heat from the parking lot. Click here to learn more!

April 7   

  • Frederick County, MD: Come help CBF plant more than 1,000 trees and shrubs along Linganore Creek on a beef cattle farm in Frederick County. Approximately 3,000 feet of stream banks will be planted resulting is five acres of new riparian buffer. Linganore Creek is in the Monocacy River watershed, which flows to the Potomac River then to the Chesapeake Bay. Click here to register!

April 10   

  • Virginia Beach, VA: With ospreys already returning to their summer homes, come learn about these incredible birds and other raptors at the first "flight" of CBF's Brock Environmental Center Learning Series! Click here to register!

April 13

April 19   

  • Hopewell, VA: Join us for a lunch and learn featuring Carol Heiser, Habitat Education Coordinator for the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. In her program, Habitat at Home© for Pollinators and Other Wildlife, you'll learn how to use native plants in your landscape to support pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and many others. Expand your knowledge as a steward of the environment. As a bonus, Hopewell residents will have a chance to enroll for a free rain barrel. Click here to register!

April 21   

  • Washington County, MD: Join us Earth Day weekend and help us plant more than 1,000 trees and shrubs along Little Antietam Creek. Click here to register!
  • Trappe, MD: Help CBF make the Choptank River cleaner and safer for the whole community during this river cleanup event. All supplies will be provided. Families and groups are welcome to attend. Click here to register!

April 28

  • Baltimore County, MD: Come help CBF plant more than 700 trees along Compass Run in the Prettyboy Reservoir watershed. This stream system supports brook trout, a fish species that is rapidly losing its' habitat due to climate change. Click here to register!

May 12

  • Talbot County, MD: Come paddle with us on Harris Creek! A prime example of a tidal Eastern Shore creek, enjoy a comfortable and peaceful paddle, offering up close views of herons fishing in the shallows and wood ducks nesting in the many trees along the banks. Click here to learn more and register!

May 16

  • Virginia Beach, VA: Join us for a boat trip on the Lynnhaven River. Examine what is living in this diverse and dynamic part of the Chesapeake Bay and learn about the recovery of the oyster population in the Lynnhaven. Click here to learn more and register!

June 2

  • Throughout Virginia: Join us for the 30th annual Clean the Bay Day! One of the largest volunteer efforts in Virginia, roughly 6,000 volunteers remove more than 100,000 pounds of harmful debris from Virginia's waterways and shorelines. With sites all across the Commonwealth, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved. Click here to learn more and register!
Drew Robinson 90x110

Drew Robinson

Former Digital Advocacy and Outreach Manager, CBF

Issues in this Post

Environmental Impact Bonds   Community   Conservation   Environmental Impact Bonds   Land Use   Runoff Pollution   Smart Growth   Water Quality   CBF in Maryland   CBF in Virginia   Eastern Shore Office   Federal Affairs Office   Hampton Roads Office   Maryland Office, Annapolis   Pennsylvania Office   Virginia Office, Richmond  


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