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Workshops are Critical to Restoring Chesapeake & 12,000 Miles of Degraded Tributaries

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As a watershed transitions from forest to farm to suburban and urban, pollution loads and scouring flood flows increase. When there's an average of one house per four watershed acres sensitive fish and other organisms begin to disappear. At one house per two acres most game fish will be gone. With one house per acre a stream is probably unfit for our kids to wade and splash. 

About 12,000 miles of Bay tributaries are degraded by existing development. These are the waters closest to most Bay watershed homes. Fortunately, a third of the homes, business, streets and parking lots causing this pollution drain to ponds and other stormwater BMPs.  Unfortunately, it appears that BMP effectiveness has declined due to poor maintenance.

There could be 100,000 to 200,000 existing BMPs in the Bay watershed. We say could be because we lack detailed records of where these facilities were built.  So the first critical role workshop participants will play is in locating BMPs in their watershed. They will also assess BMP condition using simple criteria, which do not entail trespassing onto private property.  They will then be asked to report their findings via the Watershed Advocates Stormwater BMP Database.  Chesapeake Commons has also developed an app to report BMPs. We anticipate that the public awareness generated by this project will translate into enhanced public support for local and state BMP maintenance programs.

With regard to construction, the mud washed from a single uncontrolled site can damage three miles of downstream waters for up to a century. But most sites do benefit from perimeter controls like black silt fence and ponds. However, these measures only retain a third to half the mud onsite. This is why all six Bay watershed states and DC require builders to protect exposed soil with mulch and grass once earth-moving has ceased. If you see a site where building construction has started then all exposed soil must be protected with a mulch layer thick enough to obscure underlying soil. Once the growing season begins (March-April) grass should begin growing and achieve a dense cover within a month or two. So, whenever you see exposed soil on a construction site you may be witnessing a violation of one of our most important clean water protection laws.

CEDS and partner groups will be holding a workshop in Maryland: Saturday, March 30th at the Dundalk Renaissance Corporation, Dundalk, MD from 10 am to 1 pm to show volunteer and professional aquatic resource advocates how to enhance the aquatic resource benefits of existing stormwater Best Management Practices and construction site erosion control measures. Each consists of a 45-minute presentation, 30 minutes of discussion and an hour or so evaluating actual stormwater BMPs and construction sites. To reserve your space at a workshop go to: ceds.org/audit and click Register Stormwater & Sediment Workshops at the top left column.  Space is limited so register today.

To discuss scheduling a free workshop in your area, contact Richard Klein at 410-654-3021 or Rklein@ceds.org.

The workshops are based on the CEDS publications: Auditing Chesapeake Bay Watershed Stormwater Best Management Practices; and EXPOSED SOIL = POLLUTION: How You Can Save 100 Feet of Chesapeake Bay Tributaries in an Hour by Halting Construction Site Mud Pollution.

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