Anne Arundel Using Bogs to Combat Water Pollution & Climate Change

A Baltimore Sun article (2019-08-01) reported on Anne Arundel County’s efforts to use existing or restored bogs to improve water quality and sequester carbon to combat climate change. Many bogs in Maryland have been drained for development but County has generated a map of remaining bogs and is working to protect them. In addition, environmental scientists have developed processes to repair or completely restore bogs, similar to what has been done through stream restoration.

Bogs are a type of wetland found in the Northern Hemisphere and have two primary characteristics: (1) they are fed by stagnant or low flowing water that is acidic and nutrient-poor; and (2) they generate peat, which is a material composed of decayed plant material, usually sphagnum moss. Bogs can act as water filters and carbon sinks. According to the article, lands with peat cover 3% of the world’s surface area but stores 30% of the world’s soil carbon.

While bogs exists throughout Maryland, the article noted that Anne Arundel has more bogs than any other county.  The article described the County’s effort to identify and map bogs as well as successful bog restoration projects in Howard’s Branch off of the Severn River and other areas of the County. From the article:

County Environmental Policy Director Matt Johnston wants to identify more bogs as the administration prepares to craft a plan for land use for the next 20 years.
“We need to keep finding the bogs, mapping our natural resources and protecting them,” he said. …
Sherwood Forest environmentalist Billy Moulden said the [Howard’s Branch] project has created the largest Atlantic white cedar forest this far west of the ocean in the Western hemisphere. He also says monitoring has shown that the water leaving the Howard’s Branch site is clean.
“It’s not stormwater management,” he said. “It’s building kidneys to the bay.”
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